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.