“-Are you having an open relationship” a friend asks me and I wonder what that can mean? Sure, I know it means something in relation to sexuality, but of course only within certain limits. Usually not defined until it’s already too late and afterwards we don’t speak with each other for years. Hate, or is it rather greed, is spreading because we were so open.
In fact we, or you, weren’t open to anything, we were just securing a certain negotiability in respect of our individual subjectivities. We spoke about it in whispery voices and referred to previous experiences in vague words, we didn’t want to lock each other and new love up, celebrated liberty and told each other about the importance of not transforming love into an institution. If we’d been art students we’d be inscribed in the individual study plan at the art academy entitled: Free Art (well, used and “formulated” in Sweden): make art, be free, everything is open as long as it sleeps with exhibition contexts and makes out with the white cube. I wonder if they have a document in the art academy that defines what that program actually implies. The program Free Art (Freie Kunst or Fri Konst) is exactly as liberated as our open relationship. It’s easy peacy to vote for openness but to live the consequences is not always that sportif et tres chic. [Wkd, it’s Saturday morning. Did I see Sarah Jessica Parker in the mirror this morning… Don’t think so and yet a sudden realization, this is my good advice Sex and The City moment.]
Yepp, that’s how open we are, approximately not at all! Open in our present regime means to maintain one’s self-employment even when entering an institutional frame, never to give up availability expecting nothing and never investing more than what you know you can bring back on short-term basis. Open and affirmative is today’s answer to 19s century peasant economy, secure the future, don’t invest without security, trust nobody and stick to yourself. It, open and affirmative, is this seasons name for survival economy and means essentially that I can afford you. My openness depends on my capacity to assume your investment negotiated in respect of my capital. If you exceed the capacity which can be afforded, it will be cracked, and such crack can not produce strength as it is built on proximity and not on structural reliability. Openness in this respect implies an escalating regime of surveillance as the stakes are getting higher (you suddenly gave her a key, he paid for the flight tickets too… and didn’t you look for a flat…) and yet open open open open… – until every move potentially breaches the agreement: “-I so don’t want to stand there without you and you run off with that Greek composer.” Openness is the word neo-liberalism use for paranoia.
When the choreographer, three months before rehearsal starts trying to convince you, accompanied with a pleasant hand gesture: “-I’m really looking forward to an open process” you know what it means – sneak out the back door. If he or she moves on ranting about sharing and affirmation, don’t sneak but speed for the nearest exit! Contemporary dance and choreography is slam packed with open, open people, open work, open programs and openness in general, flooded in fact, and we obviously know that it is the name of the game if you want to survive, hire a producer and make it onto the market.
You are invited to sleep around the best you want and we might not even work on one thing. We do parallel play like kids, next to instead of on top of. Sure, we know that choreographers are never interested in any form of radical openness, but you – the doer is calculated as affordance. You are supposed to satisfy the choreographer also due your excursions in other territories and obviously the moment you are allowed to invest, the choreographer is certainly about to use his or her opportunities to capitalize on you. And will first demand his or her relative freedom in return and when the breach happens, turning her back on you forever, backstabbing as soon as there is an opportunity. [Jens Sethzman you have my sympathy and I will not forget. A breach of openness must never be silenced.]
Dance and choreography of today is constituted on the basis of such liberal well-meaning affirmative openness. Dance is circulated around a permission that can merely result in a panoptic economy that eradicates any attempt of expansion, experiment, deterritorialization or consideration of an outside. We must terminate our desire for openness independently if it is concerning the body, concepts, choreography, practices, processes, production, products or whatever p-word as it only makes us more constipated, worried, psychoanalytical [spit on it], closed and paranoid. The only thing such an openness can produce is mediocre sex with the one you think you love, next to a fear that your investment will not be returned, which means no amazing fuckin’ with somebody else neither. You will be on surveillance instead of having group sex with the neighbors.
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, somebody that sais this about himself, what a shit thing to do to oneself: “-I’m a perfectionist, you know!” – – fuck off, don’t touch me, get out of my house, you are not my daughter any more, this is disgusting, get help, you need treatment. The auto-perfectionist is a person that has interiorized openness into the subject and enjoys it with a certain sadistic pleasure. You don’t have to be particularly clever to realize that the perfectionist will shun radical openness for anything. Perfectionism in this sense is precisely about securing investments.
You can always do a perfectionist warning self-test. Scrutinize yourself. Are you normally happier about the original proposal than the finished product? Are you sometimes disappointed in the people you worked with because the result didn’t come out as you had expected?
If yes, this is a bad sign, a very bad sign. You are a perfectionist! You are a perfectionist, and you will never make anything happen, just surveil your own activities and die poor. You will be successful in life but will be remembered solely by Milos Forman.
Get rid of your perfectionist attitudes, your childhood trauma was bad but don’t let it stand in your way. Just because you felt left out as a kid, that you suffered anxiety attacks as a young teenager, don’t allow yourself to make that render your work and your time as a grown up suck too. Stop it. I’ll back you, I totally will! Thug life-style word-up.
Affirmation therefore must be understood as a capacity. Affirmation of the self implies an initial openness that can spark a further dynamism.
Fuck openness, any version: it’s a closure. Openness is not the absence of closure on the contrary, radical openness, is a matter of engaging in strategic closure, a kind of self-imposed restriction that forces you to produce solutions without direction. Strategic closer is the method of a radical openness, an openness that breaches and opens to a real outside. This is the openness of a character to which the perfectionist cannot access precisely because it is not offering itself to criteria such as good or bad, light or dark; it simply isn’t dialectic. The perfectionist is a sucker for dialectics and will propose things like: without dialectics we can’t think and mean it in a positive sense. A radical openness gives up dialectics, waves bye bye to creativity and imagination, in favor of an innovative action, or better as innovation today appears to take place not as breach but as a slow process of so-to-say daily upgrades which are so slow and fast that we don’t notice them transforming our subjectivities. Better – an immigratory action, which here becomes associated with a kind of a state of exception. Innovation can be traced; can be subject to reversed engineering, and it remains well-meaning however turbulent, but immigration instead is apocalyptic in so matter that the subject cannot return, and either must live life mourning the past or grab whatever new opportunities. Immigration, as opposed to the formally indifferent modification of the commodity, involves a distributed decision that cannot refer to any normative condition or application of grammatical rules. Rules, as Wittgenstein observed can never stipulate their application.
Immigration is not simply something that breaks rules (simultaneously affirming them in the act of transgression) but an action that changes the grammatical system itself, operating in a space where the grammatical rule cannot be distinguished from the empirical event. This space is the space of radical openness, a space of zero reliability and arbitrary power, but as we have seen it can not be approached, in any sense, least not through protocols of openness, but can only be set in motion through the insertion of closure, of incompatible protocols that entangle the subject to the extent that he or she can but fuck up magnificently. A kind of dynamique d’enfer, a satanic dynamic that opens the subject, space or time to an endless corruption. Radical openness is change produced without prior unity.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you want sex to be amazing the first thing to do is to go monogamy. Closure is the new multiple orgasm, radical openness is that – seriously I have no idea moment of – – aimless conviction.