A New Free sex

27 Sep

“-Feel free…” that’s the moment when you leave. You just walk out and into the world, and you might actually feel free. It didn’t come as a surprise, your suspicions were just confirmed. It all started with the word “dialogue”, became obvious with “-I’m most of all interested in you and your work” and the curtain went all the way down when the importance of taking time was emphasized and repeated. “-Feel free”, was just the last drop and never again.

Feel free, are you totally out of your mind, don’t tell me anything about free. I decide when I want to be liberated, it is my freedom, and watch out, you don’t want to have anything to do with it. The moment you oblige me to feel free you have done nothing smaller than obliterated any opportunity to free anything at all. The more free you want me to be the more bulimic I’ll become. Feel free and you have already decided how free looks, how it performs a certain pleasant conviviality within the boundaries of contemporary liberal capitalism. Free as in individual yet confirming your, i.e. you, existence. Indeed you have to pursue your personal interests for actual freedom.

Workshop, workshop, workshops – something dance and performance have developed a rather obsessive relationship to. And how many times have I, you, we heard the workshop host tell us to feel free. Yeah, sure it might have been important, however fucked up during the heyday of hegemonic well-fare state West. Feel free might have been an option when Erica Jong, a kundalini handbook and your copy of Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” where collaborating on your night table, but today feel free is like asking me to become a communist, and I don’t even remember who Uncle Ho was?

Similar with this dialogue BS. Why would I participate in a workshop, perhaps even pay for it, to have a dialogue? I have dialogues everyday all the time, I’m fuckin full of social networks, Skype and SMS-hyteria. Let’s me be, talk to me and I’ll listen I didn’t come here to chit chat, that’s what the world is made of, so why. – -Do I look like someone from Williamsburg – Look, workshops aren’t for lonely people that go shopping to have somebody to talk to. And you are not responsible to make them happy, but rather the contrary – be hostile. I participate in a workshop to get as much information as possible, pack me full , and have no desire at all to listen to the workshop host having a dialogue with some whatever dance artist from Scotland that missed the train already decades ago. Or, oh my, the older artists that participate in workshops who haven’t understood that their career options are totally over and can’t stop telling anecdotes without a punch line. No, I’m sorry I’m not giving workshops to engage in dialogue, this is about knowledge production. Full stop.

And we all know what the urgency for taking time actually is? It’s just a means to try to disguise that I haven’t got that much to say and in fact I have no idea what I’m doing here. The taking once time hang up – goddamn I hate artistic research and its petty arguments around slowing down and meeting other artists – I have nothing but artists around me and most of them are far too slow – the hand up is not for you it is for the sake of the workshop host. Look, I can take my time the whole year, every day if I want. I take my time right now. And if I want to take my time it’s certainly not by slowing down. Long silences are not an evidence that a workshop is good, intense or mind expanding, it’s more often just the result of not being good enough. Slowing down doesn’t imply a critique of capitalism, slow is already incorporated and a concept Jamie Oliver sold to Channel 4.

Workshops are a menace. Don’t take them, they are bad for you, and make you a devotee to people that want attention. What do you think you will learn from a week five hours a day with who ever artist? Do you think Robert Stein will provide a revelation, that Tim Etchells will show you the light or Ivo Dimchew make you make a solo worthy yourself? Stay home, don’t fall for it. Make your own workshop if you need, it’s there all of it on the internet, and internet won’t need your confirmation. The workshop host just wants to be loved. Make your own and love yourself. I mean why do you give workshops? Because you are so busy touring your own works? Because you run a large-scale dance company consuming the festival circuit? I don’t think so, we are d’accord right, people that give workshops are losers. Expel all workshop hosts, put them all up in some reality show on a deserted island, and start doing it yourself.

Think about this. The reason why workshops are so bad is because if they were not then the mediocre artists would gain opportunities in teaching that would stand in the way for the upkeeping of the mediocre career in the field, and that in its turn would subtract even more belonging and sense of being a choreographer or performance artist. Workshop are bad because they have to, not because of lack on knowledge. Wishful thinking? Stop taking them.
At the same time workshop is obviously totally contemporary. The piece-making choreographer enjoys Fordist economies and modes of circulation, which basically means convincing an audience member that his so or so much of money was worth investing and on top of that the approach to the world proposed was so cool that I – the spectator – will change my mind about… like everything. Not very likely, but in a workshop the whole idea is that the participant has already decided that the situation is awesome and I’m here to be transformed. Deliver motherfucker, yeah. And stop thinking that knowledge should be linear, clear, casual and sympathetic to general narratives. No no no, the workshop host’s job is not to regurgitate but to ruminate with the participants. But of course to ruminate totally inside out, to process knowledge – practical and theoretical – in ways that make the participant completely dizzy.

Don’t try to give another one’s workshop, insist on the format being you and nobody else. Be a capitalist, be the Gordon Gekko of Arsenal, i.e. the Wallstreet of dance workshop. David Zambrano, is amazing, but he is also the last giant. There is no place for such anymore, no workshops can be fresh and groovy for half a century. Workshops are like pop music best before and best before is right now quite soon (which of course is excellent, the alternative is stagnation and bore). Technique is over, skill-based training is dead, workshop is about becoming specific, fuck experts, the next cool thing is all about competence.

Workshop today is not about freeing somebody, perhaps the opposite – yes indeed the problem is that people are so fuckin free they have no idea of what they are doing or what doing is – nor about facilitating knowledge. Workshop is a line of flight, a convergence gone astray, it is a set of circumstances that organizes responsibility, social relations, power and knowledge in ways that at the same time obeys the rules of capitalism and simultaneously proposes the possibility of another systematics. Don’t give workshops to survive, but to die a little.

Workshop is amazing the moment you give up your pretence to knowledge. The market of performances and dance pieces are saturated and fucked from left to right by networks, subsidy frames and coward programmers. But workshops, obviously, is the place to be – dance pieces are things, workshops are cognitive production – so where do you want to be. Dance pieces are things, workshops are experiences and transformation – so where do you want to be?

Workshops is where we can experiment, make fools of ourselves, come up with absolutely idiotic stuff and talk for too long, like really too long and like every day for two weeks. It’s brilliant, and you have endless opportunities to manipulate people, brainwash them, if you want. Yes Benoit Lachambre is a great teacher but the only thing he does is to make you him. Workshops featuring legacy, is so not contemporary. Fuck that, I manipulate you to become different than me, that’s the future, my job is to individuate you. Shake you out of belonging and make you make the impossible move. Away away away, to a free that has no feelings, to a free that knows no interests, but is desire pure and simple.

In the workshop we have nothing to lose so let’s lose it. And hey, don’t you dare to say thank you. I didn’t do it as a service. I didn’t do it for your sake. I did it just because. Just because! Workshop is like the contemporary version of free sex, free group sex.


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