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.


One Response to “Museum Dancing”

  1. Anonymous September 20, 2012 at 21:58 #

    I hate Marina Abramovic. 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..Horror!

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