Size Matters

19 Sep

Size matters. Yes it does. Don’t go there… to the sort of early 90s attitude, that it doesn’t. Stop that sexually neutral argument and face the fact, it matters and it matters a lot. However this matter is only structural and abolishing it is of course even more repressive to the out of the normal. Let’s reestablish that size matters and instead of a passive one size fits all mind-set, see what the difference of size can do.

Check it out, who would you bring home? Mr Big, no way – a dude that relies on size and quantity. Boring. Bigness makes you immobile, think about the body builder: lots of muscle but for what use? The contemporary muscle man is simply mass with only one ability, to pose. The tiny, small scale on the other hand has nothing else to rely on than ability, technique and innovation. Mr Big is about to be a sloppy bottom passing responsibility to you, whereas Tiny is the total promise of adventure.

If capitalism is not a mode of production, but instead a production of modes and worlds (Lazzarato), this is true all the way to horizontal activities or concerning size. To propose that size doesn’t matter is a statement typical of a capitalism operating on a regional level to which there exists a possible outside, and in any case size doesn’t matter homogenizes, resonates of well-fare state and lighter shades of communism. The moment we enter capitalism without borders the only thing that matters is size, but it matters not on a structural level but only in respect of how size makes you mobile, dynamic and fuckin fast.

Those that disrespect size will end up in the same position as the automotive industry, they live on a lie about you-are-good-as-you-are… without need to upgrade, change or mess shit up. So even if size doesn’t matter, like fundamentally, to consider that it does implies the necessity of strategic and tactical differentiation.

Dance venues and festivals, and in fact dance makers and choreographers too, utilize an economical system that isn’t exactly contemporary and it is apparent that they have abandoned the importance of size completely. “-Have they?”, you ask. Yes, and it is even better, it is as if dance tries with endless effort to gain exactly the same size and is completely obsessed with the equalization of the experience.

Have you noticed that independently of circumstances dance insists on one size, and one size implies one strategy, one single tactic and the absolute absence of novelty or innovation. Think about it, independent of size, every dance venue operates through a season program. Each one of them, but why? For the big players, wouldn’t it be better to present your program on a five year basis, it’s anyway not about to change. No, you didn’t change program over the last 27 years. Come on you have presented Rosas since 1982. If you have size then why not rely on it and make supersize me moves, instead of pretending to be a middle sized venue that can’t afford anything at all and a marketing campaign without budget? And for you Tiny, why do you insist on a season program if you anyway don’t prepare productions more than a month in advance? You just want to look like the big guy, you just want to feel important, but man you aren’t. You don’t have the infrastructure, so stop thinking about yourself as an international trafficking syndicate and realize you are just a local pusher without importance. But hey, your situation is brilliant. You know, the moment you realize who you are, consider your size, you have everything to win. Stop comparing yourself with anything and start working. Check it out, you have had the same audience numbers for the last ten years, sometimes a little better most of the time not, so why not change strategy: as long as you work on season programs, your audience will not change, and I tell you, you will show exactly the same dance season after season. Namely: Season program dance, and how exciting is that?

Think about marketing campaigns for dance and choreography. How come that every house, no matter what size, utilizes the exact same campaign. The idiotic accordion with the exact same images and the exact same text length, why why why? Don’t you have higher ambitions than that. It’s not the money, confess, it’s not! It’s because it’s easy, because we know that it works. Make a book, a season catalogue – if they can in visual art and business why can‘t you? Because you are lazy and a coward! And hello, the small local venue, why do you send out 15.000 programs when you know that the audience anyway will be 250 people per production. The print and sending out is not for free. Why don’t you just call the people you know will come anyway, why not buy a bicycle and go visit your audience in person. That’s gonna be convincing.

Who has decided that pieces, no matter what size the venue, can only be presented a maximum of four times? That is the size doesn’t matter concept. Since you anyway didn’t have enough audience for the second show, why not show it another 15 times. Stop relying on the one size fucks all notion and start appreciating your specific context, work with the circumstances you have instead of complaining and victimizing yourself under pushed rental contracts and failing support.

And for the artists, dance makers and so on. Not since the introduction of lecture performance have we seen anything new. No, everybody makes the same format, operates with the same production rhythm and aspires to be small yet big, contemporary and tradition preserving, a small body builder. You wont tour this year neither, so why spend the entire budget on trying to make a larger production, you know that Pirkko Husemann has no power and that it doesn’t matter if the show is good or not. Either you are on the list or not? You know if you are. Stop hoping for the best. How can dance allow itself to so completely support the good hour format of dance performances? Why do you insist on making a quartet, give me a break? Why, are you so keen on suffering?

And why, are you, big type choreographers, addicted to a show a year. You have the money, you have the license, you are on the list, so why not make something different. Why not invest in some decent mess. No, you are so embarrassingly geared on recognition that you will always phase in on one size fits all in the end. Don’t you understand that your reliability is the end of dance? You are not a good businessman if you survive, you only are if you proliferate. Did you grow as much as Google over the last ten years. You didn’t, why not. Because you rather chicken out.

Capitalism is here and it is all over the place. It is active 24/7 and doesn’t excuse dance and choreography. We are in it big time however much we hope we aren’t. As long as we maintain that position we are totally harmless, presenting simplified and “fair” images of a dream world that is so already passé. Only if we give up our desire for sameness and accept that it is all about technique, ability, adventure and innovation, can dance and choreography make a difference.

Size matters, but yours is always too small as long as you don’t know how to use it, and mind you there is no manual for that. This is up to you, you have no one to rely on, but then check it out the only thing you have to be scared of is freedom.

Dance and choreography are wonderful, but right now, since fifteen years, you and me, your neighbor and the art council, your producer and the middle-sized audience have made it into a thing, a pitiful thing. It’s time to wake up, size is not what makes the news it’s the show. Not things but action. Use your size, appreciate it for what it is, and make it move in mysterious ways.
Magic makes size matter, what’s your trick? Come on, come on, come on set me up, use the trap door, enter the prestige, violate me, mess me up. I don’t want to wake up to modest excuses.

9 Responses to “Size Matters”

  1. Cristina Rizzo September 19, 2010 at 23:01 #

    Ok.So what you immagine? What could be a magic dance show? I need an immage now…a magic one. Where do you place Ride the wave dude? and where do you place your personal need for…maybe sucess or recognition or what?
    By the way I perfectly know what are you talking about…still I don’t see any solution apart of doing.
    Are you able to do a big size show?

    • Marten Spangberg September 21, 2010 at 16:07 #

      Hoy Cristina, first of all – I think its great cool that you aren’t using some tacky aka. This is the first sign of power. Fuck all those other comments that call themselves names, they are just scared of losing their place in the list. Cowards!
      As you have seen I don’t imagine anything at all, there is nothing to imagine. That’s what they all do wrong, imagine and even worse, programmers and curators, that needs something concrete to imagine. That’s so sad. Nope the only way out is to invent concepts, and this is not about imagining but rather about identifying and connecting and getting really pissed off. Imagination is still possible and comfortable, we have to work much harder. MUCH HARDER. Stop going to festivals, stop standing around in the bar, stop going to PAF and fuck Kunsten Festival. Uhaaaaa. Operating in the local I think is cool.
      Magic in this context obviously was understood as a metaphor but in any case it is all up to each of us to come up with our magic. I’m a mediocre magician still but practice a lot. You know magic is about practice not something you learn over a coffee break, but then most people don’t even set out to make their own trick but just saving themselves reusing others. Those people are just creative and have no idea.
      Then there is nothing personal around here. That’s wonderful small thing that boyfriend can support you with. Basically do you want recognition distributed by Andre Therriaud, you will gain my recognition the moment when you say no, when you tell him or somebody else to fuck the hell off. I think you are more than successful the moment you insist on denouncing imagination. Yeah. If manage this then you are exactly doing. Hey, you are not a choreographer only when you do things that Wikipedia recognize as a choreographer, you are “doing” choreography 24/7 – and if you don’t think so STOP.
      BIg shows is no a matter of able, it is very simply a matter of being or not in the network. Most people that are licensed to do big shows have no idea at all. But they have been elected, the network has decided.
      At the end of the day, what is important is to insist on not doing in ways that are recognizable as doing. You know identity is always cheating on you, it’s far too easy. This is my way of making a big show. 7500 people have check the blog, that more than most shows gain as audience. Going big is only important if its not noticed, but then you can’t be hungry for recognition you have to change its logic, rules and measures.

  2. Billy-Bob Thornton September 20, 2010 at 07:13 #

    Looks like you are back on the something-valuable-to-say-track now, this post and the previous. T’was getting dogmatic and slightly embarrassing there for a bit.

    • Marten Spangberg September 20, 2010 at 09:49 #

      Dude, thanks – I think you are a bit too generous. The blog is embarrassing everyday and per definition. It’s a blog, right? Dogmatic, if it’s not totally OTT everyday it’s not bad enough. The blog is not there to propose some solution, not to make anybody upset, its rather exorcism in order to produce urgency, without direction. Tell you what, after 30 days it’s evil – and I have decided to write 100 days. Better go to work right now to satisfy you best readers demands.

      • Billy-Bob Thornton September 22, 2010 at 07:45 #

        Maybe I am too generous. We will see in due time. Good luck! There, I am all generous again.

  3. Wojtek September 21, 2010 at 14:01 #

    Oh yes!
    This urgency I like!
    This WTF is quite clear, pognant, makes me want to go in there and, well, go in there. Opens up imagination. Thanks.

  4. primul domn September 21, 2010 at 14:17 #

    Great set of questions! Cristina, I am afraid you’ll have to find the answers on your own. And yes doing…but doing what?

    • Marten Spangberg September 21, 2010 at 16:23 #

      Hey, this is really a rather embarrassing comment. First celebrating and then that passive idiotic I’m afraid. if you have nothing better to say – shut up. Subtext what you tell Cristina is that she should use her imagination, and on top your wording is fairly patronizing. Long live Cristina who dares to ask, dares to be weak but you, you are hiding behind questions… but what. Give me a break. A question mark doesn’t make you critical, to question is just style and self-celebration. Most thing go down when they become regimes, so did questions. Wow, it was funny when Jeroen Peter’s presented Meg’s book – like the one he did – but so bad that somebody else rewrote it – funny it was – when he commented on how interested it was to transcribe old interviews from tape, saying: It was so interesting to experience how she (Meg) were so full of questions already then, even questioning herself. What the fuck else can you do than question and who else than yourself. OMG that’s really like amazingly intelligent. What an observer. Questioning in the way that it has become methodology in dance lately is just a matter of postponing the moment when facing the fact.
      Now, tell us what was your last piece? Stand up.

      ps. my last one was Ride The Wave Dude, see Vimeo.

  5. schusch September 27, 2010 at 20:39 #

    Pirkko has no power? Didn’t get that. I somehow know her in a different way.

    But might I make the comparison with music again? U2 still will sell for € 150 a ticket 20 years from now, but it’s not possible anymore to go out on a Tuesday night to watch a band by chance and just become a fan right away, and if not, It didn’t matter, next evening, next band. Bands don’t play nowhere anymore.

    No surprises anymore. You want Forsythe, you get Forsythe. I don’t mind, I like it, but it’s Bill, you know.

    We as an audience don’t take risks ourselves anymore.

    We became lazy.

    Maybe we are the problem.

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