A thousand years ago, at the premiere party of the first dance piece I was part of, a choreographer came up to me and said: “-… but why?”. “-… but why? Why, Mårten…” – using my first name to underline the accusational tone: “… but why? Why, Mårten. Why do you always have to do things you have absolutely no idea about?”
The moment that followed, still present in my body was brilliant. The self-esteem, the sensation of having created something, having engaged in an adventure was exchanged by a sense of failure and anger. How stupid, to estimate that a “professional” choreographer would show me respect. My naïveté was impressive. What we had just done was obviously a threat – we had no idea – and I thought she’d value what we had done? Stupid! I still carry that comment with me, day to day, for fifteen years: “-… but why?” It was devastating, traumatizing and a blow to an embarrassing conviction to idealism. But unfortunate for her, the reaction wasn’t exactly benevolent to her but an endless, fuck you and fuck your interior decoration dance. Fuck your well-meaning arguments. I’m not interested in knowing what I’m doing that’s like buying an album with Devendra Banhart on Itunes.
Today, the choreographer is still active, my age and a celebrity in dance (almost): loved and appreciated, and considering the previous statement, it all makes sense, cuz she is still doing exactly what she was really good at fifteen years ago. More of the same. Juzuz, she must be bored? .
“-Why, Mårten…” – well, if for no other reason then not to get bored, but more profoundly because doing what I have no idea about is putting myself under pressure. Doing what I can’t offers two opportunities, first: the contestation of the self, i.e. a capacity of becoming other, and second: the sense of having nothing to lose, and thus opening for a possible destabilization of a given territory.
To do things you have no idea about, is a means to complexify conventions, norms and identification processes. It is a means to abolish excellence, which as we know by definition is homogenizing, the axiom of maintenance of norm, and something that feeds on refinement and exclusion.
It is easy to admire and equally a tough job to keep excellence away as it is one part of the Janus face of capitalism: territorialization.
Sitting through another horror piece by Jerome Bel, is in that sense a tragedy. How did it happen that an artist with such passion for doing the wrong… not so many years later has been completely consumed by excellence, finesse (another word for dramaturgy) and a compulsive fetishist (another words for a need to be loved).
Don’t go anti, but fear excellence; it’s a state funded army, be a war-machine expelled, hiding in the dessert, by insisting on doing what you can’t you are a threat to good governance. Excellence knows its arms, our job is to invent new weapons.
Don’t disguise yourself, don’t go undercover, abolish history, don’t choose your fights, fuck negotiation and, remember, betray all sides.