Don’t You Dare Give Up!

5 Sep

For Christ’s sake don’t organize yourselves! Don’t form associations, deny all memberships, unsubscribe from all newsletters, stop standing around in the bar after the premiere, vomit when you hear the word network and faint whenever somebody uses the hrrrr-hrrr word (self-organization). Organizations are not about to change no nothing; they are arrangements for collective self-pity. Organizations are pleasing and helpful, celebrating the cute side of difference and have a tendency to pride themselves on tolerance – – – Ghaaaa. Associations and networks are full of possibilities and opportunity and therefore nothing else than sympathetic and red-bull for identity addicts.

Don’t go to meetings, if anything scream and destroy, assemblies are not places for decisions, for action or refusal but for chitchat, idle talk and palaver. Organizations, associations, clubs, networks is all about the feel-good of a common power, but at the same time as the power is common it is also deferred, recognizable and over. To organize is to announce your weapons; it assumes the same status as gaining representation in respect of a dominant discourse.

Zombies come in groups, operate only through mass and indifference to collateral damage. A zombie doesn’t mourn, he leaves his dead friend behind and is completely organized. You, have no choice than to act on your own behalf, to insist on precariousness or even sovereignty. Mind you, to go solo has nothing to do with egoism, nihilism or some neo-liberal rush hour version of individualism; on the contrary it implies the necessity of giving up identity, of acting without support or belonging and connecting only through intensity not interest, identity, lack or some other psychoanalytical mumbo jumbo.

You have to do your own reconnaissance, forget to assemble a dossier, act without probability, circulate knowledge without framing, liberate territory, override circumstances, avoid direct confrontation. Invent weapons and do everything in order not to use them. Don’t expect something peaceful.

A dance programmer comes up to me. We chitchat and the programmers asks: “-So what do you think about the program?” What can I say? We know that under the regime we live today to object is unthinkable. The first rule of the contemporary artist: “Don’t ever dispute, never get angry, avoid conflict at any price.”
If I’m in the program it is obviously perfect and if I’m not any objection will be understood as narrow-minded or greedy. Metaphorically my answer is always: “-I’m available”, whatever you propose I’m in “-I’m working on a really interesting project…” Fuck, I’m bored with stingy choreographers that suck an idea forever: Let go of your ideas they won’t get better, stop considering consistency or comprehensibility as something good. Exhaustion as methodology is so 90s, and stay the hell away from tacky formulations like you feel that the idea still has something, you know… Stop it!

Yet, I can’t just confirm the programmer, so I try an enthusiastic answer that at the same time addresses some kind of asymmetry in the program. No no, I’m of course not questioning how the fuck Ivana Müller ended up in the program, why “Self-Unfinished” is presented for the 467th time, or Ivo Dimchev’s ideology. That’s suicide (I’m alive, I’m alive). Perhaps I address an overrepresentation of large-scale companies or choreographers from the old West, an “interesting” thematic or a question mark around the sudden interest in history (btw. I didn’t know dance history is identical with Merce Cunningham, pronounced with a French accent: M’eurse Cönning-gahm). But en fait it doesn’t matter what I say because the answer is always the same. A concerned face: “-Yes you are right, but you know the budget cuts have been so brutal. It’s like impossible. I’m really happy we got this season together at all.” I look like I accept the argument and nod understandingly.

A few months later I meet the programmer after a performance of my new piece. He lets me know that the piece did not fulfill his, and implicitly nor the rest of the clan of programmers (you know they decide on the common opinion at some network gathering, probably in Bergen), expectations, or that the piece if it enters the circuit will only do so because it is already inscribed in some or network, not because it is in any respect proper art. I look bothered and with a slow shake of the head I respond: “-Yes you are right, but you know the budget cuts have been so brutal. It’s like impossible. I’m really happy we got this season together at all.” I don’t think so! Such an argument doesn’t exist in the mouth in of an artist, not even a choreographer. No way, the artistic act is supposed to exist independently of budgets and if there are any cuts or missing funding, the artist is supposed to come up with some brilliant idea; change the format, fire the producer, save money on costumes (“-What about underwear?” – OMG are you serious), hire faster dancers, anything – anything – the artistic act is sovereign, free and unconditional. Fuck yeah, long live authenticity!

But who would expect a programmer to have a brilliant, or even acceptable idea; to sack the assistant, change the format, skip the big companies, change the marketing strategy, or why not double as a ticket girl, work in the bar, or… Hey, give up a part of his salary? Programmers are victims of external circumstances, whereas artists only have themselves to blame.

But then, shitgoddamn I’m happy I can’t use the apologetic budget bullshit, that I have no choice but to blame myself instead of relying on the internal negotiations of EU-funded networks.

At least I can love what I do without second thought. I’m not part of some swinger club (Next Step), and I don’t operate through international networks with low profile web visibility. We don’t negotiate, we take it or leave it, we are in no respect strategic, we carry arms and we are ready to use them, we don’t save our skin, we sign our e-mails “Fuck You All”. We are not members, we don’t organize, we don’t send out newsletters (how utterly uncool), we know – only absolutely oversized ambitions will change the world.

Keep it up, motherfuckers. Don’t you dare give up! Like you, I’m alone but trust me, my support is unconditional.


4 Responses to “Don’t You Dare Give Up!”

  1. Dmitry September 5, 2010 at 15:17 #


  2. U.C September 5, 2010 at 17:39 #

    “see some new possibilities opening up in the work and closing in my relationship with the system.”
    -Christopher D’Arcangelo

  3. x September 5, 2010 at 18:58 #

    very good , I love this answer to the programmers about cut in the budget, excellent.
    It’s more then ever time to insist on insisting, insist on doing shows where you see the faces of the spectators while you perform. insist on discussions. insist on not doing a piece that look like a piece. insist on drinking canada dry.

  4. pandahey September 7, 2010 at 00:01 #


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