Make It Contemporary

15 Mar

The time of movement is now. It is not an accident, it is not a temporary fashion. The time of movement is now, as it never was before. Yes sire. It is now and soon, very soon it’s gonna be a known fact. It was already stated yesterday. What? Aha, once more time. A society has the art it deserves. So check it out, the last hundred years has experienced a consistent transformation of general modes of production from a period where commodity production was key, voila what you made money on was commodities – gold, tobacco, wood, steal, fish and the lot – to deep industrial production where the manufacturing of goods were centerfold – automotive industry had it’s heyday, tons of workers went to the factory to produce wonderful things mass reproduced, from sausages to sofa sets, weapons and Hollywood movies [the studio system]. But also goods were bypassed now in favor of service, here we go exchange value suddenly got complexified when major parts of our economies were invested in services from hair cuts to psychic readings, from fast food to internet shopping, and then… experience took the lead and today major parts of our money is directed to knowledge, subjectivity, transformation and potentiality production. Industries are today selling us soft values that implies only the possible transformation of the subject engaged. From hard to soft, from concrete to abstract, and with those transformations also modes of production have changed significantly. Who today, in the Western world [yes, I know… ] works in a factory, nobody – we all work in small entities with way more complex job descriptions than the good old worker. And obviously, as engaged in the labor market we also sell completely other skills, from the factory workers hard skills [from muscle power, to welding or operating a sewing machine] to soft skills like charm, problems solving, a smiling face, age or some general form of performative abilities. Add to that, what brings in the bacon is not the ability to produce many of a few products (stable and efficient production methods), but a few of many (super dynamic competence). In short from stability and repetition to dynamism and movement. From the collective of identical workers that however repressed and sucked, because of their interchangeability had zero problems with unionization, to the individualized employee, still repressed and sucked but because what he or she sells is his or her identity, charm, smiling face etc. will never ever unionize. In fact to consider the possibility of an uprising in our contemporary Western society is total nuts. The crises needed for any serious and on individual levels non-strategic unionization or political movement to grow strong must be so deep that it will resemble a goddamn apocalypse. Fuck no, I’m not vouching for any form or neoliberalism – I’m just being realistic. The foundations of classical revolution are just not compatible with our contemporary society. And since any form of self-organization was captured through corporate DIY culture forms of emancipation have also lost any and all is “subversive” capacities. You don’t become less a capitalist because you buy organic, local or free going food. It just feels better, and they know it [even the chicken].

Aha, so if this is the conditions of contemporary society. Bring it on, society has experienced a six fold [I know yesterday it was only four, society is changing rapidly] transformation from industrial production, goods, history, localness, stability and the people, what we have today is a society governed by immaterial production, performance or performtivity, contemporaneity, globality, flexibility and the individual. And just in case add to that a good old fact from discipline to control. Hole in one, exactly a transformation from objects and stuff to movement and performance.

So now if – which is not an if but a fact – also art and cultural landscapes correlate to general modes of production in society it is obvious that its modes of production and distribution, administration, dynamics and you name by necessity must change. The time is now, it not an accident either in the arts – whatever art – what governs its engagement in society is exactly immaterial production, performance or performativity, contemporaneity, globality, flexibility and the individual. The time of movement is now and is here to stay.

Consequently it is not an accident that every second museum today is engaging choreographers to make whatever it is that they make from dances performances on Saturday afternoon, to exhibitions stretching over the conventional three months. It is not an accident that every second artist is adding performativity to name their practices. It’s not an accident that architecture today desperately wants to be performative or even performance architecture. It is no accident that temporary or time based is being thrown around in the art circuits. It is no accident that the museum today is hysterically looking for activational artistic bingabonga. It is no accident that artistic practices today want to emphasize its discursive engagements, it correlates perfect with knowledge oriented society. Anybody who considers that artistic research is a temporary faux pas is an idiot. The art council is a creature produced by the welfare state in correlation with industrial production. Swallow it, artistic research is here to stay, it’s straight up the alley with knowledge society. Chew on that, amigo.

But what does dance do about it, nothing or something. Come on dance folks, get the grip our time is now and we better goddamn seize the opportunity [we don’t need to do it through means of neoliberal conformism, we can chose methods]. The argument that dance always has been part of the artistic landscape and that dance has been in the museum for bunches of years is certainly true but it is BS because the modalities through which it is part is magnificently different. Let’s not sell out movement to visual artists, curators, CEO’s, architects and other incompetent fatalities of the field, let’s claim the territory even and especially if it forever will change what dance, choreography and movement implies and is. The time of movement is now.

And look at this, the theatre, what is that if not a construction based on experience understood as, or through industrial production (the dance company), goods (the dance production), history (classics), localness (the city theatre), stability (repertoire) and the people (the audience). The theatre is a factory that packages experience, performativity and movement in ways that is past tense. Leave it, and leave it now.

Our job is not to make dance pieces and fasten movement into repeatable repertoire pieces, no our job is to set movement free and make it one with it’s time, with contemporary modes of production, organization, distribution, labeling etc. And most of all to make dance and choreography correlate to contemporary modes of being human, with contemporary modes of life.

The time of movement is now.


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