Archive | September, 2012

An Art True To The Universe

23 Sep

– Effect and effectivity is measurable and can hence be calculated, strategized, repeated and located. Something that refers to effect and effectivity associate to what is known, possible and imaginable. Effect and effectivity are by necessity faithful to representation and is identitarian, i.e. it confirms something in front of something else.

– Affect, affective and affectivity is on the contrary immeasurable and cannot be subject to calculation, used strategically, cannot it be repeated or located. Affect is homeless and only once. Something that refers to affect and it’s neighboring words associate – if that is possible – with what is unknown, potential and to that which can not even be imagined. Affect starts strategically at what I cannot even imagine imagining. Affect et. al. can’t completely escape representation but is playing hide and seek with it. Affect is faithful only to the event and is always at the same time singular and generic, or even universal.

– Affection and affect has as little to do with each other as hipster has to do with your pelvic area, joint and bones, or Bono with anything good. And whatever Spinoza and affection is not necessarily good for you, your work or any body coming to see it.

– Effect is continuous and divisible, it is directional and always by necessity perspectival. Effect is confining and evaluative, if not simply judgmental.

– Affect is discontinuous and indivisible, it is all over the place, is non-directional and by definition associated with horizon. Not in the sense that it lies down but that it makes no differentiation, is full circle, all around, lateral and absolutely open. Affect is full circle, when effect is like measuring stuck affect is like compass. No it’s like a map, an absolutely blank map.

– Effect always knows where, what and when it is, affect have no freakin’ idea and likes it. Effect is obviously about here and there, affect about a bump in the road, about the journey. Effect is worried about when we arrive, affect forgot where we were going?

– Effect correlates to probability and economy, it concerns itself with openness, affordance and investment. Affect on the other hand correlates to contingency, is either-or, this that or nothing at all but certainly nothing inbetween. Affect knows nothing about economy and has no savings account, instead of openness, which is always a matter of degree, affect is “open”, boundless and completely self-effacing.

– Effect is occupied with recognition – it might be blurry, vague, shady or low-res – but always recognition. Effect is like a dude who likes to stick around and leaves just a little bit too late. Affect on the contrary is some thing that constantly withdraws, escapes vanishing around the next corner and is unrecognizable. If it’s any thing its perhaps mostly a celebrity with amnesia.

– Effect obviously is always premeditated and trustworthy, whereas affect must be fortuitous, contingent and isn’t even unpredictable, it’s just not interested in anything -dictable whatsoever.

– Needless to say effect is hooked on a Freudian understanding of desire, is normative and subjective. Affect couldn’t care less about desire and is excessively normative as a kind of negative, it’s even totalitarian in the in the sense that is doesn’t negotiate. It’s completely either-or. The point however, is that affect is normative and totalitarian only and exclusively to itself and hence affect is also objective and open.

– Anything that is or can be semiotized, can be translated or even referred to is necessarily effect and effective. Affect emerge on the verge of language as an alien impossible to assimilate. Effect correlational, affect is an irritation on the body [something present yet without evidence] an object.

– Effect takes time, it can be clocked, timed and extend over time. Affect understands only one time unit – instantaneity.

– Effect operates through comparison and is conditioned through relation, relations and sets of relations [endless regress, and Latour is after all really tiring, completely liberal and such an army boy]. Affect fucks relation singular, plural or anything at all. Affect is itself and as such, and is always only emerging into relations and then puff vanishes.

– Effect is complacent, thoroughly embedded in multiplicity and what we hear from of it is at best a complaintive murmur. Affect knows no volume button – it’s always on eleven, full on – and is associated with the multitude.

– Effect is construction and implies technique and skill. Affect can not be constructed and shuns technique and skill. Yet, affect is not accidental or hope for the best, what can be constructed is the possibility of affect, and that construction is always embedded, charged with all kinds of value. Affect is by definition unconditional but the construction for it’s possible emergence is always negotiated, condition and so not innocent.

– Affect is not nice, sympathetic, furry, agreeable and like a family reunion – you know with pros, cons and uncle Tim . No, affect is either-or; bliss or agony, orgiastic or anxiety. Effect reflects, affect is sex. Affect doesn’t care about degree – it’s a matter of kind, it is always eruptive, always a sense of breach, which although doesn’t make it huge, global, supersize me, loud, of any particular dimension, but whatever it is it is unconditional.
An engagement in the production of the possibility of the emergence of affect implies to expose other individuals, subjects and things to the possibility of unconditionality and breach. The producing agency can not claim responsibility for the emerging affect or the affective moment, but the production of the possibility is directly linked to responsibility. To engage in affect is to engage in the possibility of irreversibility.

– If the audience sticks around after your dance, choreography or performance and talk in a technical language [it was too long…] or refer to philosophers that you probably have heard the name of but don’t really remember, you can be sure your are dealing with effect. If, on the other hand people stay around trying to say something but stops halfway, or utter something like “Uh, for me it was like, yeah – you know what I mean, in a certain way a little bit, ah in the direction of, you know what I mean” and somebody enthusiastically responds, “Yeah, but I was thinking, or you know that it was also sort of, a kind of really, in the or…” your work in some or other way is engaging in the production of the possibility of affect.
This is the point, effect is always already weaved into language, critique [or whatever is left of it], opinion, feelings and emotions, narration, recognition, reason, clarity, transparency, the law. Affect emerge on the limits of representation, what shows up just after cruelty [in the Artaudian sense of the word], its dark really black and hence it has both happened and not arrived yet. Affect isn’t defying, evacuating or canceling representation, it is already in representation but for it to be graspable for representation representation has to offer it space, representation has to change. Affect changes – or dare we say individuates – representation.

– Effect and affect are two things but never separable, yet our job is to keep them part, systematically. Affect is not a matter of vivid fantasy or even imagination. Fantasy is great but all about conjuctive agreements, strategic illusion – World of Warcraft. Imagination contrary to fantasy is sustainable, organized around disjunctive agreements, structural illusion – football or politics. Affect is alien to consciousness and can not be constructed. It requires something more or worse than both fantasy and imagination that can only produce and re-organize what is already possible – yet we have no other resource to construct the possibility of affect than consciousness and reason. The production of the possibility of affect is dependent on systematic imagination, an organization of imaginations, a striation – constructed through consciousness and reason – in such a way that it doesn’t allow us to think what we can. A systematic imagination is the map of world unknown.

– An artistic practice that insist on affect will not be successful, it will not be nice, appreciated, fun or in the magazines. It is an artistic practice that contest identity left to right, that refuse inscription, that withdraws from critical judgement. It is an art that carries the potentiality of radical and sudden changes in given and longterm structural and strategic organization. It even jeopardizes it’s own existence. If you want in, success, a producer, interviews and co-producers go for effectivity, and know it. It’s easy, it’s like tax avation – get yourself a topnotch accountant [I love “Shawshank Redemption”, what a movie], or whatever a dramaturgy [just kidding].

– Affect, my friends has nothing to do with relative, irony or any kind of cynicism. It’s dictatorial, deeply serious [and can be endlessly funny] and communist. It is endlessly singular and universal. It rolls it’s eye to anything post-structural, even D/G. It’s sick and tired of Rencière and spits at beauty or distribution of the senses, that’s all for effect. Nah, affect is about Lyotard and the libidinal, the sublime, rock, overwhelming, its sentimental, and always, always over the top.

– Affect fucks creativity, the local, tidy and familiar. An art that insists on the production of the possibility of affect insist on the generic [which is not the same as general which is political] and the universal. It is an art true to the universe.


New Kinds of Art

21 Sep

– A society organized around the exchange of immaterial values will and must favor movement in front of stability. The time of dance is now.

– In a society where immaterial property is a much more pressing issue than material ditto, the museum will store art-works in the backyard and install movement practices and dynamic processes in what was previously known as exhibition spaces. Dance.

– In a society where subjectivity is a more important property than material things, where your figure is way more crucial than the size of your car, experience will be essential not paintings, choreographic pieces, poems, priceless sculptures or performances obsessed with identity politics. Dancing.

– In a society where the individual’s subjectivity is highest priority, the aesthetic experience is supposed to improve and celebrate the individual’s subjectivity, not the nation state, the people or celebrate art.

In order to correlate with our present predicament and notions of subjectivity the aesthetic experience will and must partly be designed by the experiencing individual. He or she should absolutely not be provoked to participation but engaged “creatively” in a way that makes him or her feel a little bit more real. Dancing.

– In a society where the aesthetic experience is designed to enhance the individuals subjectivity the content of an art-work becomes subordinate to the quality of the experience. Abstract dance.

– In a society where the aesthetic experience is supposed to increase the individuals ability to act, an art-work that aim at communicating a political injustice or urgency, or supports a position or opinion – especially through language – will at best be treated nicely because it’s well-meaning, but hence it beckons the individual to support a general and given opinion, thus canceling out the creative investment of individual’s subjectivity, it will not be given recognition as an aesthetic experience proper. Forget dance theatre, dance.

– In a society where the individual’s subjectivity is centre fold, we visit the theatre, with its homogenizing and stultifying dispositive, only for sentimental reasons. Because it feels good, in the same cute way as a charter travels, but seriously it’s something you do once with your boyfriend.

It’s not a matter of forth wall, participatory theatre, singalong, deconstruction or socially engaged something, art in our present society will and must be unbound and offer the possibility for each individual to be the protagonist of the event, however without any kind of instruction, boundedness or conditioning. Art has left notions of effectivity and engages in affective production.

Most importantly, it is an art that makes no claim what so ever on the audience member. It’s an art that has more to do with internet 2.0 than with central perspective, with Facebook than with archive, with choreography than with architecture.

– In a society where the individual’s subjectivity is the shit who bothers to see a bunch of dancers utilizing a general dance technique, it’s an insult to any subjectivity engaged in practices of self-improvement. In a society where to be a member of the collective is a malaise any decent person don’t want to watch skilled workers. The contemporary dancer need not have any skills except being special, specific and more him- or herself.

– For a society that ages ago abandoned Fordism a theatre that presents repertoire, abonnement, season program, international stars or pieces that have already toured the world is a waste of time. The aesthetic experience of highest value is one-off, here and now and individual [which is not the same as unique], anything that can be circulated as a general commodity belongs to the past.

– In a society that has abandoned Fordism the, so called dance company, reminds us about a time past. Any ballet or dance group, any company that calls itself as a name reminds us most of all about a factory, of anonymous underpaid workers with stupidly simple job descriptions. Stop making pieces, engage in projects [good or bad], stop rehearsing three months for five performances, be a little bit smarter and engage in performance management, and stop treating dance as material practice.

– The aesthetic experience emphasizing parameters of the art-work that could be associated with hard-skills [welding, carpeting] has been succeeded by aesthetic experiences that accentuate soft-skills [charm, personality, looks]. De-skilling in the arts has been replaced by subjectivity, by the artist, dancer, curator, choreographer and so on being special. It’s all about being specific, do what nobody else could do – whatever that is. The subjectivity of the artists is way more central to art-worlds and markets than what the artists do. We don’t talk about art but about artists.

– In a society where time has become corporatized into attention economy, and the soul is at work, an art that keeps the visitor or spectator busy, an art that demands attention, that claims the time of the visitor has or will be exchanged for an art that allow the spectator to have the experience of being rich enough to afford time. In other words an art that leaves the spectator alone to create his or her own, specific experience.

– An art engaged in clarity, transparency, meaning production or signification has become useless in a society deeply entrenched in semio-capitalism. Dance that occupies itself with language or, even worse, information or communication, is a betrayal of the art form. Dance is not information of communication it is the production of the possibility of communication, of communicability, of organic synthesis. Dance is not a language, it’s dance.

– In a society where the individual’s subjectivity has become currency, an art dealing with identity, busy with confirming belonging has been succeeded by art engaged in processes of individuation, of individual individuation emerging in and through the experience in the visitor or spectator. Dance.

– In a society that experiences change art will also change.

For the European welfare state support to art and culture were a means to create a well functioning society. For neo-liberal governance these means and the reasons behind are outdated and lost. The welfare state is not about to return and state funding is long gone. Corporate relations, sponsoring, logos, VIP openings, fundraise galas, crowd-sourcing [how disgusting] and endless so far unknown strategies will rule the game and the future. Whether it is good or bad is not an issue, it’s what we stand in front of. But one thing is certain, it will change art – and not just a little bit but fuckin fundamentally – and art will change with it, change in order to negotiate new kinds of freedom, new zones of autonomy and new kinds of art. Dance.

Museum Dancing

20 Sep

– The situation is excellent. They need us more then we need them. The museum, the exhibition space, the Kunsthalle, even the biennales have understood two things. Let’s surf it. First, that dance in the museum brings audience and that means ticket sale and that means statistics and that means potentially more subsidy to support more visual art.
Check it out, why would I go to the museum to see an exhibition more than once, it’s not that amazing and I’m not an art historian or use the exhibition spaces as a pick up arena, but if there is a concert or dance performance once in a while that’s so sweet, attractive and a great social event. And second, hello – we live in the centre fold of immaterial labor, knowledge society, experience culture, attention economy, fragmentation of time who needs to inspect and reflect the possible ingenuity of a bunch of objects, painting, sculptures, installations or – help me god – a series of Laurence Wiener text pieces [vomit and puke]. No way, a dance is perfect, not too long and production value is fairly low. This is the era of immaterial, objects are last Friday, give me some action.

– As much as a society develops the art it deserves, any sustainable context produce a certain art. Capitalism made both Beethoven and Delacroix, Fordism gave us Duchamp, Cage and Cunningham, welfare state opened the door for Pina Bausch and Daniel Buren and early neo-liberalism Hirst and Hans-Ulrich. The future will give us something entirely different something that doesn’t sit in the museum waiting for the spectator to contemplate and touch his or her chin, no the future art will be one that makes the spectator feel more himself, an art that is experience and needs nothing to be consumed, produce and circulate value, it just needs to show up.

– The theatre, museum and concert hall are places where the individual is homogenized into the audience, visitors, statistics – in different ways but never the less each spectator is supposed to, or at least are given the option to have the “same” experience. In these spaces, developed out of rather primitive notions of democracy, individuals are grouped up to become something like The People. Slightly exaggerated [do I ever do that, exaggerate – nah] the museum, Kunsthalle and the biennale too, are like Walmart placed in the middle of a society obsessed with the deli. Although just to say Rancière has become a joke, since he wrote about the emancipated spectator eight years ago an individual that doesn’t consider him or her self emancipated already before entering the theatre or museum is weird. And, hello what else than an emancipated spectator could contemporary capitalism want, we are much better consumers when emancipated, individualized, liberated, boosted with subjectivity, our selves and ready for another experience.
I don’t look – why should I – at something that everybody else can look at too. I want a personal experience, something customized for me or better something that I customize by myself, something that makes me more myself, that makes me feel myself more authentically. The future of dance, the dance in the museum, will not be something to look at, something that will be recognizable as dance, no it will be something more like – no not participatory, and for fucks sake not interactive – but it will be more like yoga studio or like having… no it will be like the difference between television and Youtube – what matters is not longer what you see but what is exchanged and experienced.

– First we build theaters or museum to accommodate art, then theaters and museums make us make art for theaters and museums.
A dance created in a ten by ten studio will be a ten by ten dance, simple – we can resist but do we? And we all know whether we do or not for the stage its always a win-win situation. The stage, which is always the same enough to prescribe a certain kind of production, as any other frame produce certain kinds of dance, certain kinds of movement, addresses to the body, develops certain physical techniques etc. Now, instead of insisting on dance as we know it, why don’t we show the museum – now when it want us so badly – the dignity of making dances that is specific to the museum, that organize it’s kinds of movement, addresses to the body and develops new or other physical techniques.
Remember, what matters is not what is being said in what is being said, but that it is said here and now and only here and now, and mind you make here and now be the exhibition space, the museum. Only if we make dances that couldn’t be anywhere else than in the museum will they become valuable to the museum.

– Great choreographers are rarely great visual artists and vise versa, and that’s good. To make choreography is not difficult but to make great choreograph is tricky, same with visual-art although it’s a bit easier…
It is both a matter of decency and self-preservation to, when invited to a foreign territory not to assimilate. When invited to a participate in an exhibition what ever it might or not address make sure you maintain yourself as a choreographer and don’t start fiddling with visual art. As a choreographer in the museum you’ll always be a curiosity, not really trusted but at the same time given the liberty to not know everything and correct. You will always be great also because you don’t pose any kind of threat, but the moment when you aspire to be a visual artist and gain the recognition you have a problem. Suddenly you compete with all the others and are just one of the artists standing in line. So not cute.

– There are uncountable ways of remaining a choreographer or somebody making dances without possessing about performs and dancers. In fact they are so not needed for you to be a dance maker or choreographer. Remember, choreography is not the art of making dances but a set of tools that can be used to analyze or produce whatever, and just because you work with dancers they might just not be present and occupy the exhibition space. Listen to this – they could be part of some kind of process. But don’t forget, you are a dance maker, a choreographer – nothing else.

– On home territory it is of importance to destabilize conventions, rules, hierarchies, positions, job descriptions and so on. As a choreographer you call your work “things” and not ballets of whatever. We try to hollow out the division between dancer and choreographer, between author and interpreter, between maker and doer, body and mind endlessly. On foreign territory the situation is different. A museum director or curator that addresses you and introduce you to others as dancer, choreographer and “… who makes performances” interchangeably should always be corrected. They do it in order to disempower us, not because they are whimsical, busy, afraid or stupid – promise. Remember, if they weren’t strategic motherfuckers they wouldn’t be where they are, like upstairs.
At other times it can of course be great to stay in the shadows, the one that has no name can’t be kept responsible. Keep changing your name, it’s a means of being a warmachine.

– The museum is a good place, because the notion of dramaturge is completely unknown. Great, fire him.

– What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. To experience dance is context specific. A dance made for the theater, the street or whatever Youtube, should be experienced there and not in a museum. Same as graffiti, doesn’t make much sense in Moma. Or occupy anything at all in a biennale. Reverse the argument, a dance produced for an exhibition space shouldn’t fiddle around on stage.

– Frames are be by definition stronger than content. A dance is always weaker than it’s dispositive, and if that dispositive is Tate Modern no need to discuss further. Hence, independently of how amazing, autonomous, ambiguous, anti-septic, aerodynamic, aesthetically appealing and so on a dance is it won’t and mustn’t override its frame. To have any impact what so ever except simple entertainment a dance showed in a museum must be made for the museum.

– The theatre and the museum condition time fundamentally different. We go to the theatre to celebrate life and experience life passing. We go to the museum to celebrate death and experience time standing still. The theatre has only beginnings, middles and ends, stuff that to exhibition spaces are genuine foreign to. A museum dance have no choice but to abolish at least beginnings and ends. Repetition or loop is not an option, if not produced precisely as a response to the museum, but don’t flatter yourself, and by the way show your performs some dignity and save them from repeating a dance for three months for loads of hours every day. They will hate you, no they already do.

– The museum as much as the theatre is constructed around illusion, it’s just differently constructed. A museum space is not more or less real than the theatre, it’s just different. Play it.

– Any person who uses the word “dance installation” with positive connotations should be taken away. An installation is an open yet over time stable constellation of inanimate stuff that when the visitor introduce him or her self to it activates certain capacities of meaning production. It’s a constellation not a composition, an open work not a predefined whole [although it is just on a higher level]. A dance in a museum however it has to abolish beginnings and ends, must in order to maintain itself a dance insist on an instability of time, a time that changes. An installation stays around and the same, a dance passes away and leaves nothing behind.

– A museum that asks you to present one of your works on Saturday at 15.00, or any other time, is in no respect worthy your attention. They just want cheap entertainment and since the conventional middle-class museum audience only can take so many evenings with Anthony [I love him] dance is a great alternative. But mind you, the moment you show a piece under those conditions you’ll never ever be taken serious.
A museum that asks you to present a work every Saturday at 15.00, through out the exhibition time, is so not worthy anything you. They don’t just want cheap entertainment they also want the exhibition, their museum, to be activated [what a terrifying word] by something that doesn’t mind being instrumentalized in a similar way as the children’s workshop or the museum café.
A museum that asks you to present your work every Saturday at 15.00 in the exhibition space and in between other works in the show, is simply sick – that the equivalent of asking a painter to scribble something on the museum toilet door or an installation artist to arrange the merchandise in the museum shop.

– Dance is in the sense of its performance is an immaterial property. A performance, or dance piece, is a material property in the sense of that it can be circulated in festivals, season programs or museum shows. Dance is an activity in the sense of it’s performing, but is an object, as any other commodity, in the sense that it has a duration, a theme, a price, a cast, a name and it’s name designate something sustainable over time. The business of museums is first of all objects not activities.

– Museums or exhibitions exhibit objects or residues of objects. Dance is fundamentally concerned with subjectivities over time. Dance isn’t, nor its performers, objects, which fundamentally distinguish them from the mode of circulation of objects common to a museum.
The moment when you show a performance at 15.00 on a Saturday or loop a performance throughout the opening hours of a museum, the dance and it’s performers lose their specificity and become uncannily similar to paintings, sculptures or any other art object circulated in a museum. In order to maintain the specificity of dance also when introduced into the museum it is significant to insist on it’s quality as immaterial production, i.e. that the action is the product. To let go of this specificity implies a betrayal of dance.

– Visual art as commonly sit silent in the museum, an activity in the museum can produce a differentiated relation to the individual spectator.

– Activity as something that is active in and activate time is a threat to the museum, whose time although it is physically passing doesn’t change.

– Everything in a museum can be returned to the collection, the storage. Your dance and choreography pose a threat to the empire of the storage, make sure it isn’t trapped. The moment it is it will be forgotten.

– To exhibit a video of a dance in a museum transforms the dance into a document, into an object as any other handled and circulated by a museum. When such transformation occurs the economical circumstances of dance changes drastically. Such a video becomes an art-work as any other handles or circulated by and within a museum.

– Although dance and choreography are interlinked they are two different things. Dance is an activity and an expression. Choreography is cluster of tools designated to organize dynamic relations. When you are engaged as a choreographer you are not necessarily supposed to engage in dance or engage dancers/performers but to make use of specific tools which may take entirely different expressions.

– An exhibition that addresses dance and choreography is not only addressing representations of dance and choreography but to an equal extent in it’s processes, modes of production, history, economies and conditions of circulations.

– Just because a spectator or viewer can “freely” move around in a space it doesn’t make a work of art more or less democratic. To expose an individual to an art-work always implies to negotiate freedom, to regulate democracy in a diminishing or expanding manner. To expose an individual to an art-work always implies some or other production and re-organization of power.

– The invitation from the museum is an amazing opportunity and will continue to be if we allow the invitation to change what we do. If we allow dance and choreography to change, to respond to it’s new circumstances and at the same time stand up for and fight for it’s specificity dance and choreography will perhaps leave the theatre but live an amazing future.

– Dance is not something that we do, even less something that we already did for a while. It’s one of those vague territories where subject and object, subjectivity and objectivity, thought and activity merge into an organic synthesis and produce the future, just before we get to know about it. Let’s not make the theatre or the museum predict the future, but let’s dance straight into it without knowing what comes next.

The Dancing Museum

17 Sep

– A society develops the art it deserves.

– General modes of production, e.g. Fordism, correlates to other formations in society such as institutions, social relations, forms of exchange and notions of property, including artistic production, the artists’ identity and position in society, art institutions such a museums and theaters, needles to say to formats such as exhibitions, festivals and programs.

– In a society composed around Fordist production models the museum will correspondingly reproduce those models, understanding art through notion of objects or commodities and to those notions aligned concepts of property. The museum model we are familiar with is the fruit of a society where accumulation of material goods equaled wealth, where the museums as a public institution and it’s relation to the public and democracy were deeply embedded in widespread social-democratic governance and the belief in a society equally available for every citizen and where the museum committed to the twofold responsibility of celebrating industrial production and the education of the citizen into a productive liberal subject. And nothing wrong with that.
Such a society further produces exhibition and programs in accord to Fordist production, must poignant perhaps the art-historically correct monographic show, and in the context of dance festival formats offering a series of shows to be consumed or harvested night after night, homogenizing the experience in favor of a rigor of locating the experience or “text” in respect of a regimes of interpretation.

– In 1870 two thirds of the American workforce were engaged in commodity production. Fifty years later an equal amount of workers were engaged in the production of goods – the time of the factory. Yet half a century later, around 1970 more or less the same amount two thirds of the workforce were engaged in service industry. Following this development the two thirds will in 2020 be engaged in experience or knowledge production. A society in which abstract values through experience and knowledge will necessarily produce new forms of museums, exhibitions, festivals, educations, institutions as much as it will produce new forms of life, families, surveillance, knowledge, power and subjectivity.

– The museum as we know it, independently if it’s called Van Abbe, Moma, Pompidou, Bilbau or Tate Modern has already changed their profile – more or less successfully – to fit to todays modes of production. Not always through conscious articulation or political courage, but often, too often, through corporate relations. Great, but they are certainly not more or less innocent or political than public money.
Looking back, is it perhaps possible to retrace the curatorial turn, the tsunami of biennales, the thematic exhibition, the museum shop, the guided tour, the decline of the permanent collection and so on, taking of around 1980, as the moment when the museum turned service economy.

– A society fundamentally composed around immaterial labor, experience and knowledge will have no use for a museum that celebrates material production and certainly not a dead welfare state – anybody who believes the museum of today to be a public or democratic place is just way out wrong and seriously naïve, and further anybody who consider it important to still promote such naiveté should totally return to Marcuse or is probably friendly with Sloterdijk, seriously. To survive and have any chance in today’s economic reality the museum must reevaluate what it’s job is? The future of the museum is knowledge and experience, immaterial something, at a transition called relational aesthetics, but later known as Tino Sehgal, Tania Bruguera, Raimundas Malasauskas, Bifo Berardi, Hans Ulrich and the catalogue can be made endless, or packaged into formats such as participatory, performance, event, socially engaged, the Berlin Biennale, educational turn so on and forth, all organized through the new agency called “program”.

– The reason why the museum today is interested in dance and choreography is not because curators suddenly turned dance lovers but because they have no choice. Art dealing with objects is so last Friday, the new cool is dance, the next cool is movement and any kind of ticket selling activity that can fill the museum with something else than tourists and scultures. It’s great that the museum is upgrading and it’s great that ArtForum has engaged a dance writer, but check it out it’s also what sells and what correlates to today, so hey dance kids let’s not consider the art-worlds to suddenly have turned generous or like interested in inter-disciplinary.

– Exhibitions such as “Move, Choreographing You”, whatever the show was called in Pompidou, that mistake in Karlsruhe featuring old ladies, Performa [a brilliant initiative by a curator with an excellent sense of timing], and a documenta with seven billion [and I like it, mostly] entries on the list of the public program, is not an accident, something passing, a little fad, no way. Tate Moderns did good prediction getting their new performance house ready this year, but unfortunately they should have gotten rid of the other house when they were anyway at it. However dis-encouraging the Tate performance room is, it’s totally a sign of the times, and mind you the museum audience is not about to be in one location in the near future.

– In a society where my most important properties were my car, house, summer cottage and other material things it was of course no problem to go to the museum to look at more of the same, never mind the exhibition understanding knowledge as an object to be facilitated – as a material something. And I always thought like whatever Karl André was cool but hey he just called the factory, he was perfect.
In a society emphasizing immateriality, activity, knowledge and experience your most important property is no more the car, but your subjectivity. You don’t go to the museum to look at objects, no way – you visit the museum to invest in your most important property, your subject. And I always thought Tino Sehgal was cool but hey he just read the experience economy before everybody else, perfect.
At some point the museum was as place you went to to admire others’ creativity and ability to make ideas, today you hang out in the museum to enhance your subjectivity, it’s value, in a world where creativity is not admirable but a currency.

– A visit to the museum is no longer a matter of consuming a number of original or what not artifacts, it’s not a matter of gathering information nor a proclamation of ones leftist democratic values [like I went with my parents to the library every two weeks through out the 70s], it’s a matter of announcing oneself as an available, active and engaged subject that knows how to go along with the code and most of all expresses a certain “care of the self”. Certain in a sense that would make Foucault go ballistic, but in the sense that it performs itself as benevolent to endlessly overlapping dispositives [in Agamben’s rather tacky tacky take of the concept].

– To the same extend as dance people and it’s curators knows nothing or past tense about visual art, and the guy at the delivery service isn’t necessarily a specialist on pick-up lines, visual art and it’s folks isn’t exactly Einstein when it comes to dance. In fact, since they never needed to defends themselves against other art-forms they had no reason to bother, whereas dance people actually could gain some cred by knowing a bit of the visual art lingua [if for no other reason than to get an invitation to the party]. So when the museum today wish for dance that’s all good, it’s just that what they consider to be contemporary dance is not at all. Visual art and their curators, who are excellently educated in both the history of visual art and the management of visual art but so not in the same concerning dance, are often making dance a negative favor because they are sending dance back to the middle ages not just because what dance they want in the museum but more so through how the hell they talk about it and further who from dance they talk to. Dancers and choreographers united, the future is immaterial, the future is dancing and so will the museum so let’s take this serious and back these folks from the museum up. However they have curly hair [metaphor], they mean well – promise.

– And when we are anyway at it, let’s make sure not to offer ourselves for a bargain deal. Visual art people can support the museum with lousy deals because it makes them sell, get boosts in the gallery market and increase their value in the collectors consciousness, dance and choreography doesn’t have those markets so we have to charge at the door, straight there at the museum, in a curators office [OMG you are right it’s an office landscape], and by the way we also need to rehearse [at least sometimes] and those our costs a little bit more than just to rent the studio.

– And when we are anyways at it, let’s make sure not to fuck up our dancers and performers wages and lives. Museum people deals with objects that stand still and need no or little maintenance. To work as a dancer is a work as much as being a guard, a painter, a dude in the archive or the assistant curator, so let’s make sure dancers get paid for their work, and not in accord to some assumed passion for dance.

– And when we are anyways at it, let’s make sure dance is not made part of the archive department of anything similar. Dance in the archive is fine ok but the moment when you are in the archive you are nowhere else. If a museum is interested in acquiring a dance or choreography it’s as a dance or choreography not as a document. They may say whatever they want, that it isn’t an object and can’t be put in the storage – but look that’s not our fault – dance and choreography – no it’s the problem of the storage, the notion of collecting, of memory, presence [however much those words make us vomit. Memory, omg. Trace, double omg]. So, sorry archive people – or good day – you are not to be stuck with dance, dance isn’t something else, so how can it not have it’s own department. Simple.

– And when we are anyways at it. Just because the museum is suddenly interested in dance we shouldn’t allow them to think that dance has been one nice thing from 1962 to today – like for fifty damn years. Check it out, however Yvonne Rainer is or not a genius, her stuff has as little to do with contemporary choreography, as Bob Morris has with Pierre Huyghe’s pink legged dog. However Bill Forsythe is nice guy or not, his stuff has as little do with contemporary dance as Joy Division has with Swedish House Maffia.
Historical exhibitions are great – if I’m like I’ll probably be in some – but not if they happen on the costs of the next cool thing not happening at all. Let’s seriously kick contemporary choreography into the museum – and let Valie Export out finally – and let it be contemporary all the way. Also when you curate dance you are curing artists and pieces not content, style and what it looks like. If you wanna make dances too go ahead but don’t do others. And this is fundamental, dance is not something you look at. You know when Rainer states “dance is hard to see” she doesn’t mean that we should turn up the light or open our eyes, but perhaps more probably that dance requires or asks for another kind of seeing, and that seeing is not starting with recognition. This is in fact the real reason for why the museum is so occupied with dance of the past, it’s because they need dance to look like dance because in a museum dance could, and that would be disaster, be confused with something else, like a real installation or some real socially engaged art. For the museum dance must look like dance and be understandable as dance and nothing else. This is sad.

– Dance has entered the museum not as a fad or a whim, nor because some museum directors niece, it’s there to stay and it to grow stronger. The reason isn’t because dance is so cool – in fact it rarely is at all – but because dance correlates to contemporary modes of production, to a society based on immaterial values and the exchange of knowledge and experience. So dance, dancers and choreographers let’s take the invitation serious and make a dance that is made only for the museum, not to stay in the theatre, because as much as the museum needs to transform to our current modes of production so does dance and if the museum is slow, goddamn dance is backwards. Remember, dance never was more contemporary than today so let’s make ourselves contemporary plus and a bit more straight into the future.

A Dance That Is

15 Sep

1. Any set of signs can be engaged in a process of translation. Signs are weak entities involved in strong relations. The letter L means L nothing more – perhaps left but that’s another story all together – but is given orientation, or say meaning though it’s relations.

Objects are different, objects cannot be translated. They can be described and organized, introduced into semiotic systems but objects are not sign. Signs or also objects but as objects they are not signs.  

2. Dance understood in respect of culturally coded systems introduces dance to semiotics, to meaning production, to signification, to translation. Since the early 90’s performativity has been firmly attached to semiotics, haunted by a somewhat naïve reading of the post-structural dictum, language is all there is, thus forgetting the self-corruptive tone of voice resonating through “How To Do Things With Words”.   

3. Semiotics is like currency, exchangeable. If Phelan and others had issues with performance and archive in the 90’s – how performance ontologically speaking could not not be an implicit critique to reproduction based economies – the problem today is rather what could possible escape semio-capitalism. A dance whose startingpoint is signification and meaning production does certainly not imply a critique of anything at all, or if it does, such critique has turned into a “modest proposal” – not a full frontal assault [however impossible but never the less] but a benevolent or even cheerful affirmation to the already possible. Dance understood as semiotics, or that wants to be understood as, necessarily sells out its specificity. It becomes one among others and no longer a No-manifesto. 

4. If dance is made semiotics there must exist, so to say a master key. A tool or diagram with which all dance can be deciphered and understood. Such a tool has often carried the name reason. Ballet has often been understood, or suffered under the burden to be the master key. This is not just a matter of obligatory ballet class, or how dance critique tendentially fall into ballet lingua, or how Jonathan Burrows use to say, “in dance there is ballet and the rest, and those two seems always to be in opposition, or a mutual threat” [it might now be exactly what JB said but I like it], but all over the place from the performer to he spectator, from studio to showtime, from the magazine to the encyclopedia. Never mind, how dance without copmpetition is the art form must firmly attached to technical ability. Technique is obviously nor good or bad but homogenization certainly is.

5. If there is a master key this implies – as far as my competence concerning such keys – that it, so to say, can easily master all other possibilities. Like language, if I know French it’s piece of cake to understand Italian, and do I know Latin I know it all etc. Learn ballet, the Latin of European dance and you’ll be fine. Yet, evidently as we know from Stravinsky the moment you know your counterpoint you are so trapped, and still how tired am I not of ballet dancers vainly talking about unlearning, and further more trained or untrained is not an issue. Our current economical regime makes anything and anyone special and money on that. How was that worn phrase now “perform or else” and save me from The Grammar of The Multitude. 

6. If dance on the other hand is understood as an object, i.e. as a passage, or connected to trace [help], memory [double help] or presence/absence [triple freakin help], or as inscribed into the regime of performativity with its sleazy psychoanalytical sidekick. If dance is an object it’s not a matter of translation, it’s not a matter of what it mean or produce, it – the dance – is exactly not anything else than that. We shouldn’t go into whatness but then what the fuck, dance is, concerning whatness – the condition of being an existent thing apart from whatever may be known or stated about that thing. 

7. If dance is an object, i.e. if each dance is a more or less autonomous object and not translatable, each dance must be given the opportunity to develop or enjoy itself. If dance is an object there can be no master key, or at least the master signifier is just that: master – it’s a dance but that means short to nothing and everything but from there on each dance must be approached as a singular, an entity that produce it own existence and can enjoy itself without the help of humans, language or signification. To paraphrase Ian Bogost, to make dance, or to engage in dancing is not a matter of language or writing, it’s a particular kind of carpenting.

8. If dance is an object there can be no master technique but each dance – which might or not be repeatable – must necessitate it’s own practicing, it’s own address. A dance can be classified as a dance, yes as an object – it’s not a stone but each stone is an object and itself not translatable. And the stone is at the same time complex as it is composed by phosphor, calcium etc. and those are in their turn composed by and so on.

However dances can be classified as much as stones and can be divided into smaller particles – but the regimes of representation organizing classification can and must be other than the regimes of representation of each individual objects and it’s being in the world.

Obviously, an object is also for itself in the world and it forms relations to other objects including humans, however those relations are never translatable into something human. Similarly, a dance is an object, and it is in the world as much as a stone, a cigarette, a waterfall, a scent or a premonition. We must let dances have and enjoy its own existence, only then can it offer us interesting problems. The dance I want to dance is one that minds it’s own business not one that I know what it means already before I start it up. The dance I want to experience is one that needs no anthropocentric back up, that is not like anything else but simply itself and enjoying it, a dance whose starting point is not relations or negotiation.

9. If each dance is itself distinct, each dance must ask for it’s own practice. It is no longer a classical “what” asking for essence and situating something in relations with and organized through some correlational master plan, it’s a what that ask for an autonomy, not from something else but for itself and as such. Said in other words, it’s only when we allow a dance to be as alien as it wants that it can exit the domains of the possible, the economic territory of imagination, creativity and enter potentiality, produce some sort of breach.

Ballet is a practice, equally good as any other, but it has been turned into a semiotic, a fundament of cultural code by dominant discourse, you know it. Never the less, if ballet has developed a kind of inner logic it is still possible to approach it as an object.And, again – if dance is a set of autonomous objects that cannot be translated each dance must be practiced as itself and as such, and the practice however ordinary it might seems must be autonomous, distinct and finite.Dance is not a technique, or set of techniques, that has application but a cluster of practices that can and must not be forced to merge into a make belief semiotic, whatever their names are: release, Limon, BMC, Forsythe whatever it was called, hang out technique of the early 21st century, occupy, and so on.  

10. A semiotic system can only issue possibility. Objects carry the possibility of event. Something whose meaning we are already familiar with is not about to surprise us in any respect, or if it does at best as a “modest proposal”, or criticality, or in other words – re-active change, change already prepared, rehearsed and packaged. Objects are not events but as they are not translatable they carry the possibility of an emergence of active change, a change with, so to say, nor departure point or arrival – a change in itself and such. 

11. Dance is a cluster of practices and practicings. It is not a semiotic but an object – it can not be translated by only practiced – and each dance must be practiced as an autonomous existence, thus in no way subject to difference but always confronted as a particularity.  

12. Dance is something we practice. To practice implies not to recognize but to allow for something to withdraw, to skip out of semiotics and cultural code, into a radical foreign, allowed to be alien. However, although not engaged in recognition practice is not hope for the best, wait for the accident, or dance to the end of life [although it always is, too], it is harder than so cuz it exactly implies to loose oneself, and that can only be done through rigor, however a different rigor than one practiced by semiotics.


Seventeen Points for The Future of Dance

13 Sep

1. An expanded choreography owns the future. Dance as we know it is soon, if not already as dead as opera or dixieland jazz. The future belongs to choreography but only if it acknowledges its potentiality as an expanded capacity. Choreography is not the art of making dances (a directional set of tools), it is a generic set of capacities to be applied to any kind of production, analysis or organization.

2. Choreography is not the art of making dances, it’s a complex means of approaching the world. No, the universe.

3. If we live in a society of performance it’s structural foundation is choreography.

4. In a society based on circulation of abstract values instead of material goods, movement and relations are King, not oil and steel.

5. In a society organized around immaterial labor, movement is the protagonist. This might not be a good thing, but since there is no choice we better make sure not to leave the definition of those movements to politicians or bureaucrats.

6. In a society where the subject is the individuals’ most precious property, dance should appreciate its capacity for the impersonal.

7. Dance is always activating forms of performativity, but dance is not the same as performance.

8. There is an important difference between political on the level of content and on the level of production. There is an important difference between political on the level of representation and on the level of choice. There is an important difference between political on the level of representation and on the term of sensation, experience or sensuality.

9. Discourse is neither good or bad, it is the position and timing of it that can open or close contexts. Discourse is not equal to theory or Western reason, discourse is any kind of consistency of information flow or communication. It is not discourse as such that needs to be fought but it’s guardians.

10. For dance to have a future it needs to engage in a process of deskilling, i.e. to cancel the proprietary understanding of technique in favor of individual or context specific constructions of abilities, over the generic sense of dance as a sui generis technology.

11. The 20th century had star architects building monuments over a Fordism that was already dead, the future will have star choreographers organizing revolutions, one after the other. The coming insurrection will not be semiotic but will grow and gain strength through proximities between bodies, between spirits, between dances.

12. The problem is not the split between mind and body, nor between body and mind, not even between minds, the real problem is the split between bodies and bodies, and we don’t just mean human bodies – we mean any bodies: stones, lions, skin lotion, a little wind, an encyclopedia and so on. The dance of the future must leave the human body behind and embrace all bodies independently and pursue and object oriented contact choreography. Fuck BMC because of its belief in anthropocentricity.

13. Once we had bodies without organs, in the future we will dance together through a conviviality without communality.

14. The rebirth of the new as well as the death of the new is nothing new, yet if we want the future to move we must embrace both newing and the new. This embrace starts as a struggle, the struggle against belonging. The new dance has a job, to betray it’s ancestors.

15. Politics is organized through the qualitative difference of perspectives. The maintenance of politics depends on the degree of transparence, hence the fear of corruption. The production of the political on the other hand denies perspective and insists on the horizon, it must be corruptive exactly in order to undermine the maintenance of politics and hence it fucks transparence.
A dance that has ambitions reaching further than “nice”, must be 360 degrees, ungrounding, oblique and motherfuckin true to the universe.

16. An idea, at least in dance and art, is not hard enough as long as having it doesn’t scare you to death. An idea that is not completely psychotic is not worth while pursuing.

17. Remember, policy or cultural politics is not Politics, and is certainly not art. Remember critique is not necessarily a proposition. Remember to be an erotic being that engages in the world through sex rather than economy.

By the way tomorrow or today Friday Spangbergianism The Show at Het Veem Theater in Amsterdam, like 20.30. I’ll be the last release event ever – or almost – cuz the book is gone there are no more copies left in the storage and it’s time to start writing part II. The cute and cuddly version, or as a magical friend proposed “a theoretical deliriuum, or rather — a full blown exercise of Spangeberginism aimed at theory, pure theory” – OK Smokey I start now, goddamnit.