Surfing The Void

5 Oct

Oh, you thought I’d let you go that easy. Not yet, maybe not soon. Fire your dramaturge. Fire your dramaturge. – – how tiring – One more time: Fire your dramaturge. It doesn’t matter if he or she shows up once a month it’s still the dramaturge. It doesn’t matter if you listen to him, or if you keep him on a leash, it’s a dramaturge. Fire him.
“-Yeah, but I need him, cuz I’m in the piece and it’s important to have an outside eye.” Oh yes it is, but not a dramaturge. Call your mother, ask your brothers ex to come by, they also have an outside eye and I tell you it’s totally much more outside than the dramaturge. The dramaturge is a parasite, he sucks you dry, he makes you make good pieces – but they won’t sell – and you tell the world that he is okay the moment he is in your evening program, on your webpage, on your mind. You authorize him or her, you are responsible, isn’t it enough that your work is being destroyed. Do you need to tell others it’s a good idea too? Don’t do this to all these upcoming choreographers that don’t need a nanny, and still believe to believe in themselves.

No wonder Akram Khan went down the drain so fast – the dramaturge. Watch out, the worst kind of dramaturge speaks Flemish. Not that I think any of those choreographers could do work that is worthwhile sitting in the dark for, but it would certainly be much better had they fired that disgusting spineless creature in time. Perhaps one or two of those choreographers, or whatever name we could come up with cuz when seeing their shows I can’t ever count to more than eight or perhaps nine seconds of choreography, the rest is more like charades and capoeira enthusiastic dancing around. The dramaturge never knows anything about choreography. He has read a few books, and written some opportunistic texts about multi-culturalism, a lab in Vienna and any admirable choreographer with structural subsidy.

But let’s call these peole choreographers for now, and yes, perhaps one or two of them might have stopped hadn’t the dramaturge encouraged them, one more – “I know you can do it. I stand by you all the way through.” – that’s what the dramaturge is so good at; being a parasite that keeps the host alive forever. The dramaturge is for dance what restoration is for visual art.

The dramaturge is original in the most predictable way and preferable with a historical touch to it. He is so nostalgic that his sexual fantasies feature older women. Do you think Don Corleone had a dramaturge? No, he had a hit man. Do you think Al Capone surrounded himself with some skinny dude with a notepad and an older laptop? I don’t think so – no he had a muscleman – oh no, not very intelligent – who was ready to take a bullet when shit hit the fan. I tell you one thing, your dramaturge will duck and cover in the dressing room the moment the soft breeze of collaboration turns into stormy arguments.
Fire him.

Get this, programmers often have a background as dramaturges. A lot of them… don’t trust them! They don’t have opinions they just appropriate, they are thieves that store their goods in a garage, so greedy they wont even sell their TV-sets on eBay – they are so not pirates, they don’t steal in order to maintain themselves mobile or become sovereign. Dramaturges are by definition proprietary, they are interested in looking like creative commons but no fuckin way, they are parasites.

There is one reason to use a dramaturge, and that is a bad one. Programmers of a certain type will be more benevolent to your propositions and co-production ass-lickin’ meetings if you also talk about your dramaturge. Don’t bring him ust talk about her. And when, which will happen the dramaturge wants to come with you on tour, it’s not for you, it’s to get another job. Have him stay home and continue to fantasize about…
Why, I mean the programmers benevolence? Oh, obviously the dramaturge is evidence that your show will in no respect challenge anything at all. This is the wet dream of festival directors something that on the paper gives a taste of advanced, is a little bit kinky or pushes the limits but after being surveilled by the dramaturge will come out perfectly conventional and without any ambition.

This is the real problem with the dramaturge, they are hired by Conventional Inc. and are there to reinsert your ideas and your work into language, signification, comprehension and context. The only moment when the dramaturge is doing a good job is when he or she utters: I have no idea what this was? I have nothing to say about… and then in embarrassment leaves the room never to be seen again. Never. That’s the moment when dramaturgy works perfect.

And here comes a sharp corner. We know that critique is over, ideology as we know it is passé, that there is no outside of capitalism and the lot. Thus, what we can do? (With a French accent) – We can lie down and die… or we must look for something, or some thing – as you know capitalism has already commercialized affect, we consume our own subjectivity, and the world runs on the basis of rent, not profit (which of course is great however fearsome) – We must look for some language, some communicational “vacance”, some incompatibility that denounces an experience with any kind of reference to modes of production (power, knowledge or subjectivity) vis-à-vis modernity, capitalism, institutionality, psychoanalysis. I’m a totally gone, fucked up mad. Yes, I’m arguing for an excessive authenticity, for something worse than autonomy. Autonomy presupposes some kind of relation, however absent, authenticity is harder, it presupposes a cruelty – a cruelty that would make Antonin Artaud shake – a cruelty that signifies rigor, implacable intention and decision, irreversible and absolute determination.

Firing the dramaturge is the first step towards cruelty, towards authenticity, and that second is an unconditional belief in theatre. This might sound paradoxical, and I’m not speaking of mimicry as a way out, but rather about theatre, in it’s pre-modern forms, as a means for the production of a second world – a sort of autonomous mode of perception – hyperstition, a system without connectivity to present realities, an schizoid authenticity – super-imposed yet incompatible with reality. It is here that it will happen, it’s in the crack, that authenticity will open itself to us, and cruelty reveal itself as determination. It’s not an urgency in the 90s sense of hunting the real, no way – this is authenticity as a means for corruption, putrefaction or decay as building material. It is being as a differential field of cruelty.

The new dance, has nothing to do with Belgium and Flemish choreography [spit on Fabre and Vandekeybus, they are you just self-obsessed conservative men that think inter-disciplinarity is another word for revolution], it can have no dramaturge – it is not composed, it is not organized, it is so not dance theatre [spit on it] — [spit on it] – – it is cruelty and it is theatre with a big T. It is nothing close to fascinating, it isn’t in the same city as variation or “different”, it is authenticity not in the sense of transcendence but as difference-in-itself, it’s black out, it’s exterior, it is surfing the void.


3 Responses to “Surfing The Void”

  1. Billy-Bob Thornton October 5, 2010 at 19:20 #

    “a sort of autonomous mode of perception – hyperstition, a system without connectivity to present realities, an schizoid authenticity – super imposed yet incompatible with reality.”

    Good luck in finding “a system without connectivity to present realities”, especially if you don’t have a good idea about that those present realities might be.

    Don’t worry, I get what you mean and you propably have good grounds to have this ambition and quite possible even the resources to get somewhere interesting (not in the vague sense of the word, but genuinely interesting).
    However, from my experience most artists don’t.

    I agree with your sentiments about the dramaturge though. It’s safe. The outside eye should perhaps be someone who is totally not yourself and very honest, quite simply. Confirmation is worthless. Make sure it is someone who can reveal your weaknesses.

    One thing I have a hard time understanding, is dance’s (and then I’m talking about the people I think are interesting) reluctance to have a clear obstacle or ally?

    Is it because of (hitherto) lack of history (discourse) that people desperately attempt to create something which no-one has ever seen before? It’s somehow completely out of the question if a similar setting was used by someone else recently (even if they happened to come from a completely different direction)! Relating to older (historic) attempts is not very developed in dance.

    (I am not thinking about lazy/lame ass remakes or retakes, but about using something or some notion as a basis/obstacle for fucking things up and finding someplace else)

    There is a good “I don’t know what that was” and a bad “I don’t know what that was”. How to define that?

    How is it possible to be radically different if you have not formulated an obstacle? Everything goes back to language sooner or later so how is it possible to step out of language without the help of language itself? (I’m not just talking discourse here).

    These are the key issues as far as I’m concerned and the issues the blog seems to be dealing with aswell.

    The crack is definately the place to find.

    • Marten Spangberg October 5, 2010 at 19:47 #

      BBT, You made my day, rather intensively even. Excellent brilliant superb response. Just out of the opening night of Push-Pull in Vienna where Sarah Pierce performed some remarks on historical exhibitions where performativity was questioned – OMG – this was such idiotic recap of history without concept. Göööö – and next to it some performative installation called “Emergence Room” – what the fuck is that of a title – read the description here – and however embarrassing I really got totally aggressive about this situation. Fuckin’ badly framed, idiotically organized, no audience, nobody could see anything, complete and utter shit. That programmer needs help. Serious help. I hope he or she didn’t do it alone.
      The questions about good and bad I don’t know is the subject for tomorrow, and it is of course a matter dynamism and not location. That’s another thing people don’t get, location is not a good thing.


  2. Billy-Bob Thornton October 5, 2010 at 21:00 #

    Emergency room would have been more appropriate, then? Crash kits and scalpels for the audience to save the day. House! Dr House!
    I totally misinterpreted the end of the description-text and tought arachne was a mis-spelling for ariadne. See there, immaculate sub-conscious precision. What they really needed was a minotaur and a labyrinth.

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