Don’t Call Me Again

3 Sep

After having met in the festival somewhere, sent a bunch of DVD’s and e-mails I meet up with the programmer who tells me that the festival would like to invite me. Yeah, wow – I’m happy… and we exchange the conventional worries about this and that, and finally agree that I will write a concept, and that it has to happen rather soon cuz you know… Yes, the invitation always arrives too late to make sure power positions are maintained.

I feel happy as the programmer has empowered me through comments about how radical my work is, and underlined that I should really not be afraid of you know… but time, you know time. We have to do this right away…
In a week it’s put together, based on old idea obviously, and I send it in. The proposal should be specific and there is even the desired participatory aspect to it. The keen programmer however doesn’t get back to me. Nothing, no e-mail saying that it has arrived, so three weeks later I grab the phone, “-Oh yeah, it arrived but you know, but before the EU application…” a billion excuses before we agree on a phone meeting the following week.

The programmer calls me, and it takes one second to realize: not good. “-We really like your concept. It’s very interesting…” another billion of excuses about subsidy that didn’t show up, pressuring budget cuts, the co-programmer is not convinced.” Finally we agree, I will rescale the project and…

The game goes on and the radical proposal, the importance of my work as daring is sanded down to an enthusiastic dance piece with a nice soundtrack.

I have spent three weeks on writing proposals, hooking up with collaborators and the lot. The programmer slash commissioner has spent 25 minutes on the phone, and the time it takes to not convince his colleagues.

But I’m available and an obedient pet artist so I start working on the proposal, spend some of my own money, replace a dancer that got a job with Meg Stuart. We even managed to fish up a residency in a city that I don’t remember the name of. The programmer absolutely absent suddenly calls me asking for a program text and images and yeah and this is very, you know, the festival and… Two days later the e-mail comes back asking for a less complex and more descriptive text… another two days later the new version comes back but now shortened to four lines.

Finally, two weeks residency in the festival before the premiere, I meet the programmer for a ten minute coffee where we talk about the festival and I answer: “-Yeah, we are doing well…” When I start to talk about the work, the meeting is suddenly over.
We meet again, when the programmer tells me we can’t… and that we really need to think about the audience, you know… and it’s time for general rehearsal, a small audience – mostly friends. The programmer, with his colleague, shows up ten minutes late (wonder why) and we can finally start.

It is now seven months later, the “we are really interested in your work” has turned out to be a program text edited by a volunteer, a budget catastrophe and a warning about… you know our audience… and now we do it.
After the general run and some conversation, the programmer with entourage comes up to me and after proper politeness explains that the piece is too long, “-I think you, have to cut…” “-I mean, I like it but you lose the audience…” and here the colleague affirms with a nod and an anxious face.

And me, what do I do? I nod, I look concerned, I look available. I haven’t changed, so this all takes place with me in costume and the programmer with a backpack.

Who the fuck are those people? Yes, I meet them everywhere, in every festival, in every season program. Some of them are even artists. Who do they think they are, showing up late at the dress rehearsal having a problem? After five months without a single word about dance and choreography? Do they think the length of the piece is an accident? Do they think that I after seven months of work make a piece that is half an hour too long by chance, and that I would respect a person that already has cut 75% of the budget? What do they think, proposing changes the day before the premiere? Yeah, we really want to support you? What kind of ethics do you have when the audience is privileged in front of the artist? Who are you asking for radical and only wanting something that perfectly plugs into the existing market? When you are promoting “artistic freedom” and produce nothing but instrumentalization? How do you stand yourself, knowing that I know that you don’t give a shit. How do you manage performing an ethics that is so full of shit you are not even welcome in hell, especially considering that you don’t get a terrific salary? Come on, don’t call me again if all you want is to please local politicians and keep your job. Don’t ask me to be radical when your radical equals more of the same.

ps. stop looking happy to see me, and for christ sake don’t ask me how I am.

7 Responses to “Don’t Call Me Again”

  1. sasha September 3, 2010 at 14:18 #

    Marten come on man start giving names! Naaaaaaaameeeeees!!! That’s the real danger and the real risk! Otherwise despite your cool intentions you’ll look just like another frustrated artist that is able to write! Most choreographers aren’t able to write, haha! What the dance world really needs is a gossip magazine :)) Those programers need to be named! If you want to have comments on your posts than START NAMING!
    Otherwise you’ll keep having these pathetic two comments for each post. Go all the way man!!! I know it’s dangerous but if you want to stop being a pet you know what you have to do!

  2. 333 September 3, 2010 at 18:53 #

    yes, meke it serious and risky, other wise is only bla bla.

  3. juurak September 3, 2010 at 21:06 #

    Gossip columns are sure funny. But haven’t we been gossiping for years now? Why else do we meet up at festivals?
    But maybe the issue is not about this or that individual, institution, whatver country. Who cares. It doesn’t matter. Hello bucharest, berlin, stockholm, novosibirsk – isn’t everywhere the same. Eventually we are all in this or that way employed in the kind of a megacorporation called contemporary dance. And we like it and we hate it.
    And if you start barking louder or angrier- it’s not gonna make you any less of a pet. or is it now? But what might matter is to acknowledge that we are running a system that nobody seems to want to be accountable for. mrknjäu.

  4. Dmitry September 4, 2010 at 03:47 #

    we don’t need the names – everything is quite clear anyway. what matters is that every throw is the winning throw and i will go on with this idea like a crazy fanatical spambot until it ends and hopefully even afterwards.

  5. 333 September 5, 2010 at 00:18 #

    Something that is really scaring, is that are not only curators that cut textes they way they want. One of the contribution I send to the SDHB this year, was cut without even asking. and what was cut was so important for me. Don ´t fucking put the text in if you don´t like it, but if you put it you put it the way I send it to you, or you at least ask.
    So why are you complaining so much if in the innitiatives you are taking part in are functioning in the exactly same way?
    And people, take care with seding things if another edition of the SDHB will happen, if you don ´t care about it give it to them so they do what they want, but if you care be prepare to be cut so you can fit in the page!

  6. leaky distinctions September 5, 2010 at 16:42 #

    nice generator to answer the questions about preconceptual likeness:
    http://itsthisforthat.com/

  7. asco September 5, 2010 at 18:16 #

    yeah right…no names. keep it safe! no one needs revolutions as long as we can talk a looooot about them, hehe. in pure Zizek terms. but well…. keep it up! so far the record of comments for this post, hehe.

    and no…a pet that bites is no longer a pet!

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