Edition 1; Issue 3
Wednesday, August 12. 2009
SEE BACK COVER
Re-printed from the cover of African Maximalism, Photo Credit: Massai Mbili
Table of Contents p.2 EDITOR’S WHITEBOARD: Editor’s Note
p.7 DINING: Asad Raza on Café Habana
p.3 NEWS: Helena Stenkvist and Josefine Larson Olin on The economics of lap dances
COLUMN: Mårten Spångberg on pointe
Jessica Harris on Wealth, the dancer Elizabeth Ward, Valentina Desideri and Amanda Piña: 50 questions p.4-5 CENTERFOLD: Louise Höjer what would you wear to the lounge? p.6 INTERVIEW Egle Obcarskaite meets Jeroe Peeters
OVERHEARD IN VIENNA… LOCAL NEWS and CALENDAR
INTERVIEW: Emma Kim Hagdahl channels Elizabeth Ward p.8 INTERVIEW: Will Rawls meets Alexander Nikolic MISCELLANEOUS: Kroot Juurak: Script for Small Talk The bicycle man at the Arsenale Photo: Louise Höjer
2 THE INPEX
Wednesday, August 12. 2009
Mid Term Exam
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
First of all we’d like to thank Otto Ramstad for his contribution in the Tuesday Issue, “Whole Room Resonation” (pg. 8), a useful and sympathetic consideration of dancer-as-DJ. This brings us to our next point: omissions, misprints, elisions, remixes and refractions will only accumulate as the week progresses. The process of developing content, concept, production value, layout and distribution strategy has certainly sparked discourse about our aims, ethics, successes and failures. This is our aim. And our target. The printed page is not capable of forgiveness and reinterpretation. But is discourse? We accept our mistakes in perpetuity, and value all of our readers. This project’s success depends on you as much as it depends on us, for we are all contributors. We are trying to read our surroundings: physical, personal, conceptual, local and choreographic. We sincerely excuse ourselves for misrepresentation and misquotation, but will not stray off course. As Janet Panetta said in the teacher’s workshop on Saturday, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly.”
Dress me up, dress my town Build a look, break it down Meet you at the lounge round about ten Hope you’ve had a shower by then The Arsenale bombed, way back when Before Release became the pretty pig in the pen Elizabeth Ward is a martial dancer The structure of logic won’t hold the answer
With love and happinesss, The Inpex
We’re over fame Bettering oneself is not so lame Don’t look now we stand behind you We read, we write, without a clue Research is over-rated For too long we’ve waited We’re taking it back to public space The human race, Is a market place
Glossary for The Inpex
EMMA KIM HAGDAHL
derivative (typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for that reason panacea a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases individualized give an individual character to convolutions a thing that is complex and difficult to follow Emma Kim Hagdahl
versatile changeable; inconstant. modesty the quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities
The Inpex is a free, daily newspaper. Initiated by International Performance Exchange, INPEX, with its head quarter in Stockholm, NGO supported by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. Vienna, August 10-14, 2009. For more information: www.inpex.se PEOPLE Editorial team: Louise Höjer, Emma Kim Hagdahl, Egle Obcarskaite, Will Rawls and Jessyka Watson Gailbraith Editorial support: Kim Hiorthoy, Anders Jacobson, Tor Lindstrand, Mårten Spångberg and Johan Thelander Design: Kim Hiorthoy Layout: Jessyka Watson Gailbraith Print: Goldmann Druck, Vienna Circulation: 700 Thanks to all contributors.
DISTRIBUTION If you want to order copies, please contact: INPEX, Konstnärsnämnden, Stockholm firstname.lastname@example.org +46 (0)735 465638 An online pdf version will be avaliable at: www.issuu.com/inpex
authenticity of undisputed origin; genuine affect touch the feelings of (someone); move emotionally have an effect on; make a difference to wren any of a number of small songbirds that resemble the true wrens in size or appearance. orbital of or relating to an orbit or orbits. prone likely to or liable to suffer from, do, or experience something, typically something regrettable or unwelcome grapple engage in a close fight or struggle without weapons; wrestle struggle with or work hard to deal with or overcome hubris excessive pride or self-confidence. emancipation set free, esp. from legal, social, or political restrictions
Wednesday, August 12. 2009
MORE THAN 50 QUESTIONS
..planning the Master Of The Universe..
Helena Stenkvist and Josefine Larson Olin
Statement of the economy of a lap dance The dancer approaches a possible costumer and proposes the lap dance for which the customer has to pay. The production costs are low which means that the majority of the money paid for the dance goes to the dancer. There is often a fee for the house that has to be paid by the customer. On top of the money paid for the dance, it is also appropriate to tip the dancer. Statement of the economy of the Lab/p Dance Pro Series project. To participate in the workshop, the participants must pay a fee. Thus, the economy of the lab/p dance workshop is fundamentally different from the economy of a vocational lap dance context. It can be seen as a reversed situation of economics. The workshop leaders get paid to teach the workshop where they get access to see all the dances produced by the participants. This means the dancers pay to dance for the workshop leaders. The dances the workshop leaders suggested, proposed that the workshop participants dance for them. Therefore, by appearing in Friday night’s lap dance performance, the workshop participants had indirectly paid to perform. The audience did not have to pay to see the dance (see footnote). In this setup, there were no economic benefits for the dancers, except for exposure in the context of the ImPulsTanz festival. Statements of body-economic factors in the performance of Lab/p Dance The Lab/p Dance performance brought up questions about the economical investment of the dancers body. As a dancer, lap dancing is an easy way to make money. Often through dance training we have the skills to embody the western ideal of erotic female movement featured in lap dancing, which has mainly been constructed and directed through male desire during the past x hundred years. In Friday night’s Lab/p Dance performance, Olga Dukhovnaya’s “Russian Lap Dance” presented a suffering female character that humiliated herself through breaking down in front of her customer, grabbing his hands and forcing him to slap her. She is seemingly experiencing pleasure from the physical and psychological pain inflicted indirectly by the choreography Olga has developed. This character embodies both the “S” and “M” in sadomasochism. In “Meet J.Lo” Josefine Larson Olin investigated whether she could affect her body’s economic value by exclusively accepting customers she found attractive. This approach established a starting point from where both customer and lap dancer could have an exchange of frustration and restraint in accordance with common lap dance etiquette: “stop the lap dance when the dick is up”. (In this case, the etiquette also infers, “stop when the pussy is wet”). Although, an equal base for exchange was only possible if the customer was attracted to her as well. In The Body Economic (2007), Catherine Gallagher demonstrates how political economists and their Romantic and early-Victorian critics jointly relocated the idea of value from the realm of transcendent spirituality to that of organic “life”, thus
making human sensations - especially pleasure and pain - the sources and signs of that value. What is often described as the pleasure of being a lap dance customer is the frustration and temptation caused by not being allowed to touch the dancer. She is allowed to touch him (the extent to which she touches him depends on the etiquette of the club). So, pain and pleasure come together.
Elizabeth Ward, Valentina Desideri, Amanda Piña
How can education be organized in a fluid structure that is in constant dialogue with its surrounding and the specific contexts it encounters? How can education be integrated with one’s professional and personal life? How can we practice education instead of entering an education? Can we consider education an ongoing process? How can education be about acquiring knowledge as much as producing it? Why do we always speak about producing knowledge? If we consider the notion of enactive knowledge, can we shift attention from production to enaction? What is the educational power of action? What kind of body does education produce and how can we imagine new bodies of education? What’s the difference between the terms education and learning? Isn’t learning involved in all life’s experiences? What about education then? For which purposes is knowledge gathered and diffused? Isn’t education a movement towards that which is unknown? How can we explore, both collectively and individually, that which is unknown? What does it take to really question the world that we know? How do we produce spaces for education? How can education be shaped according to the specific necessities of us, its makers and users? How do we imagine our roles in designing an education where we truly have agency?
Footnote: This was an agreement made between the workshop participants/performers and the workshop leaders. Usually, the customer pays in order to confirm the economic value of the dancer’s body economical value. If the economy of lap dance is capitalism in a micro format, would lap dancing exist to the current economic frame if it was a free (moneyless) echange? If this were the case, the customer would then be disenfranchised from his ability to assign economic value to the body, using the power of his wallet. This research continues in the fourth week of the ImPulsTanz festival.
How is education performed?
INDEXES TIME BANKS
How Wealth got her groove back: JESSICA HARRIS
Lets think of wealth as a dancer named Wealth. Long long ago, Wealth danced as a gift, traveling in circles among tribes. She was in constant motion as it was her tradition to be passed along from one hand to another. With Wealth came the promise that if she was to be shared again, she could later return with a new dance. The more she traveled, the more wisdom and love she could bring back in her dance. Tribe’s people delighted! Elaborate ceremonies were performed for her to share her dance and move the spirit of the people, nourishing their souls. The power of her gifts was so great that the people did not attempt to control her. Instead, they allowed her freedom to move, trusting her only to return again. The trust she received
Light enters through the cloud of money and Wealth discovers timebanking, a system where people exchange services in a currency of time. allowed her to travel and grow with an open heart so that she could feel those who needed her. It was a golden time for Wealth, master dancer. Flash forward to 2009 and Wealth is paper thin, barely able to survive, has great difficultly moving. Investment has been the most damaging force, locking her still, feeding her only numbers and causing her to lose all sense of the world. She is to grow like this? She lacks the freedom to reach the people who need her. She is no longer a gift. As a number, she cannot express herself or communicate, doesn’t recognize the hands she passes through. As a commodity, she is eventually used up and forgotten, with no desire for her to return. In these forms she is not alive, cannot share with the living. Light enters through the cloud of money and Wealth discovers timebanking, a system where people ex-
LAB/P DANCE AND ECONOMY
In this text we will refer to the lap lance customer as a man and the dancer as a woman, since this is most often the case.
Photo of giraffe. Photo: Anonymous
change services in a currency of time. Members are free to exchange hours earned from one member for any other service offered in the system. Everyone’s hour is equal, no value is pre-determined, there is only abundance, abunDANCE. Wealth feasts upon this great variety of experience, one day she is a Spanish lesson, another day she is an acupuncture session. She is once again treated as a gift in a system held up by the gifts of its participants. As Wealth dances in time, she witnesses how the value system of timebanking changes people’s hearts. They can no longer can deny the interdependence of all beings when everyone is valued equally. Without an unequal value system to navigate, Wealth is free to share her gifts and cultivate the talents of her beholders. Wealth thrives on the system’s need for movement, basking in her new opportunities for expression. She slowly revives, and as we watch her dance in circles again, born of our efforts, we are reminded of our own value and that indeed, “we are the change we’ve been waiting for”. (Edgar Cahn) Yet Wealth needs something even more powerful to pull her out of money’s grip, something that feeds her creativity: art given as a gift. It is within the gift of art that Wealth can fully express herself, dancing completely free to become a great dance master once again. We barely know Wealth and what her dance might be outside the world of money. We must share the gifts of our art to help Wealth move away from scarcity and into abundance so that we may begin to know her. By giving art, we cultivate our relationship with Wealth, ensuring the fertility of our creative gifts, their movement everlasting. Let us rediscover true Wealth through art. Jessica Harris is a dancer, and director of Time Interchange New York, a timebank in New York.
How can we redesign the conditions and parameters of education? How do we leave behind the conditioning of our previous education and think of other possibilities of producing and sharing knowledge? What kind of formats can education assume? What kind of technologies are available to us? What kind of resources? For how long or at what time is education practiced? Where and with whom? What happens to education when we question and redesign all its parameters? Does it become more like a work, a performance, a way of life, a political project, a long-term relationship and/or ______? What if we use the frame of artistic project to look at and re-think higher education? In what ways can education be an artistic project? How would it enter the economy of art? Can we use artistic processes - the making of art - as strategies to encounter what we want to know? What do we want to know? How important is it to know what we are doing? Can education be a performance?
Is art a special form of self-education? Can we do it together, as a grass-root initiative of private people? So much of traditional education is based on solitary experience while connected to a group, is it possible for us to propose a more communal model for education? Can we use each other to widen the possibilities and spaces for education to happen? How can a group of people negotiate and produce the conditions and ways of functioning of their own education, rather than leaving this responsibility to an institution? How do we build a curriculum for ourselves? How do we hold it together? To what extent can we affect each other’s curricula? Can we think curricula as frames for action rather than as pathways? Can we reflect on education on a meta level by considering the particular choices we make and the consequences they carry? What kind of systems or ideas of education are we actually supporting and proposing through our actions? If society’s values are transmitted through primary education, can they be then questioned through higher education? Shall higher education be self-organized in order to benefit from greater autonomy? How important is it for an alternative education to be officially recognized? Do we need to coherently define a clear field of study or is that also questionable? What defines the legitimacy of our research? How does a self-directed education interact with existing institutions? What types of structures will be both supportive and allow us space to experiment? Is it important to invest in new structures or renegotiate with old ones? Where is our middle ground? What kind of economy could self-education support, rely on and participate in? If you have any answers, please email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
4 THE INPEX
Wednesday, August 12. 2009
DO YOU DRESS UP FOR THE LOUNGE?
Louise Höjer prowls the corridors of the Arsenal to assess the style situation at the Impulstanz Lounge
DORIAN (L): Is putting on real pants dressing up? There are no sweat stains. OTTO: Depends
ANGELIKA: A dress, a proper dress, make up and nice shoes
BENJAMIN: I don’t get dressed up and I LISA AND TANJA: I think we will. We will don’t think the lounge is a place one should put on something specific. Dress on LAURA: Never. get dressed up for for fuck’s sake. purpose.
ATLANTA: I have not ever been
JULIANA: “No, I would never do
JENNY (R): Does one need to? I think I would not.
KATY: Noooooo, maybe sometimes if I am dressed up for a show.
ULRICH: Not too much, a little. I should TIM: I generally don’t put in too BICYCLE MAN: Kinda.
RODRIGO: No not really.
´VERA: I would but I have never been.
feel comfortable and be pleasant to be watched at.
much effort in my dressing style for the lounge.
SABINE: Then my question would be, what the lounge? I’ve never been there. But NATHALIE: Yes, totally. NINOS: Yes, totally. JOANNA AND LENA: Oh no, we wear normal clothes. if I would go, I would dress up.
PIERRE: I do, I usually shave I try to look PHILIPP: I dress up every day a little bit
TESSA (L): No, not at all. I’ve been once, but I came too early. If I go on Friday good ‘coz I always want to meet cute boys. but I am not private. Well I am working KINGSLEY: For the lounge? Not really, I I will dress up. NICOLA (R): I just go dressed really simple, really casual but with a lot of necklaces. That’s one of my goals, to meet cute boys. and representing myself a little bit. look good anyway.
Wednesday, August 12. 2009
JENNIFER: I don’t go to the lounge. I mean I haven’t been there. It’s not a moral position.
don’t go to the lounge.
MARTA: Not so different.
MARTA: I guess yes I would, yes yes. MARCO: No, normal.
JILLIAN: I get dressed up every day and I ELISABETE: Yes, and I take a shower.
TANJA: I never go to the lounge. I boycott the lounge. It’s Novomatic. I don’t thinkTAHNI: No. But in fact I find it a little it’s necessary to collaborate with such atroublesome to dance in my flip flops. company who exploit people’s addictions. But I do it anyway.
Please do the same.
JULIA: No, maybe if I go to the lounge after the show. I didn’t bring so many clothes.
DIANNE: What’s the lounge?
SANDRO: Yes, ha ha ha ha ha.
VERA: Yes, I brush my teeth/
SARAH: I might try red lipstick next
DAVID: No, because I wear the same GIORGIA: Yes, we wear really weird clothes. Yesterday I had really short pants and clothes all day. But I kind of think about a green double waisted shoulder padded top with leopard print. HOLLIE: I had a MANAMI: No, I’m a dancer so I don’t roberta jean: I have been better attired the evening. Kind of no and yes. If I floor length multi coloured red orange and purple skirt and sparkly socks. know there is a show on need to dress up. than this.
HANNA: I haven’t been there so I can’t tell you.
AKANE: Yes! No dress but I like to be pretty
CHRISTINA: No no, I just go like this.
6 THE INPEX
Wednesday, August 12. 2009
Dance for Human Beings
The discussion about the social nature of human beings and their practices can be tracked back at least as far back as Aristotle who introduced the notion of social animal. Centuries have passed, the notion attracted different interpretations, critiques, and became more ambiguous. However, the core of it remains: it still addresses understanding of how humans interact, and how it affects their practices. So how is it relevant to the dance field we find ourselves in? Egle Obcarskaite meets Jeroen Peeters
Egle Obcarskaite: The question I’d like to start with, is a broad one, but it seems to be appearing in the dance field quite often. Can we talk about how choreography is embracing, or dealing with the social? Jeroen Peeters: I’ve been thinking a great deal about it. What does the social mean on stage? Art as intervening in the social and changing society is kind of an utopian expectation, which is maybe too high altogether. For the past years I’ve been writing several essays about the social and representations of the social within dance, since several of the choreographers who’s work I was following dealt with these issues. Specifically Philipp Gehmacher, Vera Mantero, Thomas Plischke and Katrin Deufert. And I wonder how a real collective on stage is also a representation of the social. Collective of collaborators, of people, is not only a group of persona, but a group of performers, of human beings, that share a certain history. They make a piece together, and are living in the same world. It is interesting, how these different aspects clash to a certain extent, and might reveal aspects of the social. And how the aspect of collaboration, as well as negotiating collaboration within artistic process challenges flat representations of the social. I find these aspects also present in the work of Xavier Le Roy. Eszter Salamon and Christine De Smedt who made a piece “Transformers” that they showed last week here, at the festival. This issue is very topical now. E.O. Why do you think choreographers are now so interested to address these social aspects? J.P. To start with, choreographers deal with what moving bodies on stage are. There comes a certain idea of men to address, and inevitably also notions of representation and of expressionism, which are still common in dance. All this comes close to philosophy of the subject, which is maybe a traditional kind of philosophy, but it is being renegotiated time and again, by authors like Jean-Luc Nancy. When you see bodies of people on stage, these old notions that have a history of thousands of years within art and philosophy seem still present so strongly. E.O. Addressing the field of the social, does it generate a specific power for choreographers to reach out to the audience and bring their body of work to other levels, even outside the theatre? J.P. To the audience certainly, because it is also a social group. If you make them more active through dramaturgical or choreographic strategies, more active as human beings, in the sense of Hannah Arendt, then of course they also start negotiate themselves being a collective or not. How do you address the audience: as a group of individual spectators? Is a spectator as audience member plural, or singular? But I’m not sure, whether it creates so much resonance outside the theatre. You take some ideas home, but it’s very difficult to trace the direct impact of art on life. E.O. How does it change the historical map of the dance field? Is it a new movement? www.inpex.se
J.P. That’s hard to tell. We’re now at the end of a decade, and most of the theory developed around dance in Europe especially is still very much related to the 1980s and the 1990s. I wonder how we will look back upon this decade in 10 or 20 years. I think this issue of the social is certainly a very lively one. But it might also have been present in the fifties. I don’t know, since I wasn’t there. Think for instance of Cunningham, who gave an active role and thus a certain responsibility to the spectator.
It’s a supermarket of performances. E.O. Is there a risk that these topics of the social become a cliché within the dance field? J.P. That risk is always there. But then again, you have different poetics and also different ideological interpretations of certain subject matters. Working with the social in art brings about a lot of negotiations concerning ideology and what kind of group or society one wants to constitute. Two years ago I wrote an article “Living together on stage”, departing from Yvonne Rainer’s book Feelings are the Facts. It’s a very confessional book, embracing it as an artistic strategy. The author exposes the sexism and violence of a certain masochistic culture in circles she was working in in the 1950s and 1960s in the US, and she is also deconstructing that kind of pedestrian, supposedly ‘neutral’ presence of people on stagein which the person behind the performer is not allowed to appear. In that sense all the emotional, social and then eventually also political struggles within certain collectives were not allowed to appear on stage. I think that many of the choreographers that place themselves nowadays in the same genealogy by revisiting the legacy of Judson Church and Grand Union, probably have different political interests when it comes to those kind of issues. So the book of Rainer was interesting and revealing to me, how it speaks about this conflict between representation, the creative process and its productional conditions, how these things are socially embedded, and how they can appear on stage or not. E.O. It appears the topic of the social in choreography is closely connected to the question of sexuality... J.P. Let’s take the “Transformers” piece, which was made and then showed here in Vienna after a work period of two weeks. There are 15 people on stage, who receive a score of instructions concerning text, voice and movement through I-pods. Basically, you see 15 people interpreting and negotiating the score in a rather strict way during one hour. For me the issue, even apart from the content of the score, is not only how performers are executing the score, but how they are negotiating the score as persons. Somehow the score stands for the symbolical order, which we also fight with in our daily lifes. Part of the score was dealing with staging sexuality as a kind of energy that percolates our bodies. It’s particularly interesting because it exposed a certain social energy present within this festival and within the Dance Web especially – the direct
Jeroen Peeters (left) in a La Ribot performance. Photo: Myriam Van Imschoot.
social context of the performers. Certain aspects of the score brought about existing social connections and energies on stage. They were really embedded in this group and this context and revealed by the score. Or take the other piece by Eszter Salamon and Christine De Smedt – “Dance #1/Driftworks”. Sexuality and femininty are part of that performance. Performers have a sound score, which is totally cut up, very heterogeneous. It also percolates performing bodies and brings them to strange places. The performers claim space by voicing themselves, and it’s often hard to track where the sound comes from – from their bodies or the sound system. When all the tension accumulates, then a major shift in the piece happens, with the light design becoming frontal. At that point, somehow the responsibility of the audience is being addressed the spectator as someone that creates opinions and reads the meanings of what’s going on there – on the stage and maybe even in society at large. The light design and the performers literally opened up the space and seemed to ask the spectator: what are you seeing in here, and what is your place in all this? E.O. Can we talk more about institutional frameworks in dance. Do such structures like, for instance, festivals, providing material conditions to create or present the work, also effect freedom of artistic practice? Or doesn’t it matter? J.P. I think it does matter, but is difficult to address it in few general statements. Festivals are different, and this is a very big one. It’s a supermarket of performances. And then you have all these workshops – with a whole community living and working in this place during 5 weeks. What I find striking here, is that these two sides are barely connected. The festival lounge seems to be the only place where the two aspects could really meet. The bigger a festival or institution is, and the more money is involved, the less artistic freedom there is in the end. And perhaps less interest in the critical dialogue. In Europe
right now many festivals are marketoriented. Which is different to 10 or 20 years ago, when presenting a state of the arts was a central endeavour of festivals. Right now so much work is being produced and we’re in a global condition where everything seems possible, or everybody thinks that they can conquer the world. It makes for a lot of work on the one hand, but also for dispersion and a virtualisation of artistic work. I had a discussion this afternoon, about how to relocalize theatre and dance – a very complicated question in relation to climate change. In 20 years flights will be so expensive, that we will have to relocalize. But what would it mean for an artistic practice? Does it mean a return to how were we producing 20 years ago? Or can we invent different formats? This issue of dispersion, overproduction and living a kind of global fiction, becomes very urgent. The whole issue of the artistic freedom in that sense, as a kind of critical autonomy, is difficult to address. I’m not so sure that artists are so free or that they have ever been free. You claim your freedom, that’s a part of making art, but that doesn’y mean that you’re de facto autonomous. Productional conditions will always be there, and now they are more and more invisible and elusive. E.O. Xavier Le Roy, talking about his recent project, mentioned that if the process is not generated by an institution, it cannot go wrong... J.P. It’s an interesting point, I was working at PAF myself, and I tend to agree with this. The curators hype, that was so present in visual arts the last 20 years, is now really hitting the performing arts, and a lot of presenters call themselves curators and make thematic frames around political issues or around any kind of topic. And as I see, entails a certain blindness towards what the artistic product in itself is. Imagine certain curators following 5 artists for years. What if those artists suddenly come up with something totally else than what fits the framework in which curators had expected to present their work? There’s a clash of interests in
that. In the dance field this becomes precarious as a lot of work tends to slide off the map, simply because it is too abstract, resistant or wayward to suit the themes and frames set up by curators. It might be, that self-organization is one of the solutions. It cannot be the only one though, because it doesn’t let you to make large scale productions. But the case of PAF is interesting, because it is a cheap place to work, which means you can buy your own freedom outside of the existing productional circuit, also when you have little funding. And it provides you with the engagement of “whisper dramaturgy” within a certain community.
E.O. Can we talk about it as a future of the dance field?
J.P. Not in dance at large, but certainly for makers who are frustrated with the productional conditions, who can’t produce anymore, because they don’t fit certain frames. Xavier Le Roy is one of the few choreographers in Europe who has built his oeuvre on questioning its productional conditions. But I dont’ expect everybody in the future to make work in this vein. But for certain choreographers it might be a solution to discuss and study, and PAF in St. Erme and ‘6M1L’ in Montpelier are in that sense interesting research projects. Projects where not only production, but also researching and reclaiming the productional conditions of the artists involved is at stake, in order to find alternative ways of producing and making eventually. And then even to create more space for alternative subject matters and contents. I don’t know whether that is the future, but for some people apparently it is.
Joroen Peeters (Brussels) is a writer, dramatgurge, performer and curator. Publishes on dance and performances in various specialised media.
Wednesday, August 12. 2009
A RESTAURANT COLUMN Asad Raza
On the corner of Prince and Elizabeth Streets in lower Manhattan, there sits a small café, with a diner’s bar and stools, and about ten cramped tables. The conceit of the place is to serve Cuban food in the style of the Cuban cafés of Mexico City, a transplantation of a transplantation. It offers quite good pork sandwiches, battered fish tacos in the Baja style, a chicken quesadilla in an extra large size, pretty good café con leche. The waitresses are slim and sexy and the bartender is usually a tattooed hunk. Outside, there is almost never not a line to take a seat. On weekends, people idle for forty minutes or more for an experience only slightly less casual than standing outside the restaurant. Café Habana, like many such establishments around the world, draws these crowds with something the average food reviewer thinks of as “hipness.” The Zagat guides, which are the populist U.S. response to Michelin, have an entire category called “teflons,” which are restaurants that are popular despite having mediocre food. (Habana is not one.) Something is missed in this kind of analysis, however: that most of the draw of a restaurant is not actually the food, but in the way restaurants organize space and present a coherent experience to their publics. A café, in particular, is a “hall,” in all the psychospatial liminality of that term: neither a “room,” as fine dining restaurants are, nor a “counter,” which is what cafeterias are. Halls have a long history as spaces where human social life is choreographed. They are spaces, not places. Definitionally, they are the transit space through which people travel from one place-as-place to another--the arrivals hall, the hallway, the performance hall. As such, they are much more contemporary spaces than rooms themselves, for many reasons. One is that they do not ask for a full commitment of identity--one merely passes through a hall, on the way. Another is that different people going to different rooms interact in the hall. They enact themselves in
halls, they move through them and notice each other in a public display of style, movement, habitus. A café on a corner possesses the qualities of a hall. It is a casualized space, in which you don’t have to commit for a long, official meal. The difference can be seen in the seats--a café’s are typically utilitarian chairs, stools, or simple benches. They are distinctly uncomfortable, and only comfortably whereas in a fine restaurant the chairs are “plush,” overstuffed and oversized, implying that one is to sit there in luxury, rather than pass through. Such cafés ask that its public be young, able to perch rather than wallow, not in need of a back to lean against, mobile, not overly concerned with haute-bourgeois ritual. Or this public asks their cafés to be this way. They articulate each other. These are the ways that spaces form us, that to enter a space is to allow oneself to be extruded (like a sausage from a machine) again, having experienced its arrangement of bodies and its regime of taste. People wait in line to co-articulate society. This is a way of being contemporary--Café Habana or its opposite number, the nearby French-Moroccan Café Gitane (again the triple play of identities), for a time were the equivalent in New York to Café Flore in Paris, where Jean-Pierre Leaud witnesses life and girls in La Maman et La Putain. They became places for people to stage their contemporaneity, and to observe ways of being--costumes, styles of movement, speech patterns--that belong to this moment. The function of certain kinds of restaurants is like certain hallways, which architects know to function like beaches, for a building. Restaurants can perform this for whole cities, or whole globally distributed cultures, as knowledge about them is disseminated in various ways. Modernity is partly this: the shared knowledge of contemporaneous time, the sense that we are all on the same clock, produced by various social forms. For restaurants, these forms are reviews, folk wisdom, word-of-mouth, articles, magazines. One of the foremost is the newspaper.
be a difference in ways of how you reach this discipline, what is this dicipline? Does discipline have to be... yeah, at some point it’s gonna be hard. That’s a given. But what does “hard” mean? Does “hard” have to be phsycologially damaging or can “hard” be about you really working? And also the nice thing about doing it in this way, where it’s not trying to fit into the culture around it and maybe even create a new culture, is that then you can decide that maybe it’s not important for us to have great turnout It was something when we were dancing last night, my standing leg was totally in parallell, like in an arabesque, but totally in parallell, that’s wrong, but like, it wasn’t wrong. Because really all I was doing was standing on my leg. I’m standing on my leg. And when you go back and look at the older dancers, like Anna Pavlova, I’m sure that the technique that she had, that grabbed the world, would be lackable, today, and I know that she didn’t have a great turnout or her legs like super high or whatever, so in that way I don’t think it has to be in the movement. There have been people who have really worked within and really gone far with it that didn’t actually have the body or whatever you are supposed to have. When teaching, I always incorporate some things that I’ve learned in Skinner Release technique in class, with body work. Part of it for me is that it’s really dynamic and it’s already been laid out, figured out, and so you don’t have to invent a way to get to that dynamic state, because it’s so systematic. It’s really scientific in
EMMA KIM HAGDAHL
Before the interview we looked at some ballet videos on YouTube. EW: There’s such a like, power, in it. These people all look like strong happy and powerful. But then there is this other thing that goes with it. It looks like they are flying, I think maybe that’s one of the reasons why people love it. I guess that’s one thing, in thinking about, -enjoying doing ballet again, is that it’s about enjoying the form and taking the form away from the culture. When I have been teaching this last year, people will come in and already there is a stiffness in their bodies, because, I think, either you have experienced it, or you already have those expectations. There is like this tightness, or guardeness or stiffness that goes along. I just feel like, if we are not gonna exist within that culture, why take any of it? We can leave all of that out, and really try to do it in another way. EKH: Is it perhaps the movements that create this culture? EW: Right, well I mean probably, but I also feel like it is not inherent in that movement, I mean, obviously some of it, and there is something about precision and perfection that I think actually means that you actually do have to work. There is a discipline but I think that there can
Ballet Conversation An interview with Elizabeth Ward
OVER MY DEAD SHOES The crucial moment: the child looks at the mother and without the slightest warning realizes that she has no penis. Marten spåNGBERG
Deep in shame the child lowers its gaze. The chin falls to the child’s chest overwhelmed by the sudden insight. Desperately searching for an object, anything, to fill in for the lack of penis. And there it is… THE SHOES. And from then on the kid can’t stop fiddling, with shoes. The fetish is installed and shoes will haunt the individual throughout life. It’s not always shoes of course.
What else is the pointe shoe with its complex ribbons and hard top other than a strap-on for the feet? Bruno, aka Sasha Baron Cohen, experienced the crucial moment with a baseball bat in his hands, but shoes is the favored mainstream fetish. Jacques Derrida realized the mothers lack whilst studying. No wonder about his obsession with books, yet a good example of how to turn a fetish into a profession. Ballet has brought shoe fetishism out of its pre-modern phase, during which hordes of people were compulsive about rubber boots and couldn’t have enough of clogs, extracting it from the everyday and elevating the shoe into the pure sphere of jouissance. So far the shoes had been practically framed by the pleasure principle. Ballet transgressed all kinds of healthy prohibitions and introduced the shoes to pain, and shoe fetishism became a fundamental suffering. Ballet, as a technique, is structured as a constant struggle between the relief into pleasure and the pain beyond the pleasure principle. It is not difficult to lay out ballet’s history along Lacan’s psychoanalytical theories. The pointe shoe doubles as the ultimate disconnected fetish - an objet petit suspended in time – and the way that it progresses through the body, so you work your way through this progression to the point where you are doing jumps or turns or whatever. There is something about flight, like this feeling of flying, there is this adrenaline or excitement that is there, once you tap into it, and I think part of this is the path that you have just taken to get there. It’s not that you just walked into the studio and you start jumping, and then you go other places, but it’s partly like this whole construction of time that takes place, to lead you to that point. I think it’s actually pretty smart and definitely, at the same time, it feels like you are operating on these real planes and there are a lot of movements that are missed and so, as much as I really enjoy doing ballet again, I want to want to move my body in other ways. It’s not the only way I want to move my body by any means but it’s a really special way of moving the body. I just thought about that time when we did a class in PAF, and Mårten (Spångberg) at one point, was like super enthusiastic and excited but like, sweating, and he was like, “Why is it that you go running for a half an hour and then you are sweating so much?” And we just did like glissade, jeté, temps levé, temps levé, glissade, jeté... across the floor and everyone was sweating. There is also a puzzle to it, to figure it out, but it’s not so hard. So in a way it’s like you can congratulate yourself for sticking the pieces together and... it’s fun, it’s manageable in a way. It’s complex yet simple. I’m kind of interested in scores
the object of disgust that must be rejected eternally. The ballet dancer performs this dialectic between must-have/can’t have, and perpetuates this metastasis into the spectator who fulfills the contract through his scopophilic activity. What else is the pointe shoe with its complex ribbons and hard top other than a strap on for the feet? Fuck me. Modern and contemporary dance history can be read as an ongoing process of emancipation from the fetish. But as we know from Jacques Rancière emancipation isn’t something we organize over a coffee. First of all the individual must desire emancipation, which naturally implies a moment of fear as the process necessitates an instant when an “intact” identity shatters. Jazz dance with its shoes, in other words, is not a matter of emancipation from ballet but rather an updated version of the same. What do I know, but if the ballet shoe functions as a strap on, the black jazz shoe with it’s broken sole most of all resembles an inflatable fuck doll. “Why not just take them off, leave the shoes at home”, you say. Certainly, but it is not that easy. The performance theorist Hans-Thiess Lehmann defines theatre as “a room without windows”, and we realize that this room is symbolic and kept alive and kickin’ in, for example,
Ballet has brought shoe fetishism out of its pre-modern phase street theatre, where the circle on a town square is perfect room without windows. It is the same with the dance shoes. Ever since Isadora Duncan dance has struggled to get rid of them. All kinds of methods have been tried from authentic movement to Vera Mantero sprawling her big being integrated in ballet. I like throwing scores at people in the ballet class. Based on how you can lay out a couple of ground movements, like “ok, now we are going improvise for this amout of time, a travel step, a stationary thing, like positions around the arms and the head, and some turns,” and you can have a group of people that knows nothing about ballet, how can we make a ballet in one class. And I’m sure, if I looked on it from a critical point of view, putting it on stage, I would think that, “this is such a piece of shit... Or maybe not.” But somehow I would think that the main interest for me, in starting to do contemporary dance at the age of 18, it was the first time that I was a thinking body rather than an automatic body. I mean there is a lot of work you have to do to put your body in these different positions – you are defninitely thinking, but it was the first time that I was thinking about making choices that were larger than just my body,. It was the first time that I was asked to think compositionally. This was mind-blowing in a way. In ballet class, so much of it can become this isolated experience. It can be a competition, either with yourself and with others, and also the mirror, like people’s eyeballs get all glazed out, and everyone is making weird faces. So, not to use the mirror so much. Instead, I would like to take class. Mirrors are nice but then you can cheat, you don’t have to learn the combination and maybe you feel like it’s new and you don’t get it. It’s not that I want to take that learning tool away but instead I like to make lines
Bruno, aka Sasha Baron Cohen, experienced the crucial moment with a baseball bat in his hands
toes in all directions, and nothing has worked so far. No, we have to come to terms with the fact that all those barefoot dancers are completely entangled by their fetish. Although, one can think that those practitioners are emancipating themselves, and the art of dance from the shoes, they are instead celebrating the fetish into psychotic behavior. One could say that they have turned into the strap on themselves. A recent example occurred at ps122 in New York when Ann Liv Young during a tribute gala for Kanye West, that the star attended, rubbed and stuffed her pussy with meat. This was not a provocation but a desperate dancer trying to exert the eternal pointe shoe. In order to emancipate oneself from the fetish one has to kill it twice, both physically and symbolically. When release technique removes the shoes it is only a physical death, and when Jerome Bel keeps his Stan Smiths on the shoes’ entire arsenal of repression is firmly laced to his subject. In order for dance to get rid of its status as strap on, it’s absolute obsession with shoes, it has to let go both symbolically and physically, only then can we terminate the pleasure of identifying with ones symptom. Over my dead shoes, don’t take my strap on away. It’s time that we raise our gaze again, away from our shoes and feet and stand tall - stand tall – there is no lack only dancing madly backwards.
where we would face each other and mirror each other, and we will do it in mirrors. So one group starts from the right and the other on their left, in that way we have the reflection that goes to the group. You can look across, and they are looking across, and there are lots of other people and also by seeing the way someone’s arm is placed you also can learn, “Oh that’s weird. I wonder if I’m doing that too?” One thing I really like about ballet is the fact that ballet came out of a lot of different sources but one of them was basically like a martial arts training because it came out of swordplay. When I feel like having a defense in this world, I want to do something that is totally joyous and happy like ballet. In some weird way I feel like it’s my defense in this world. So I like to think of practicing ballet as a martial art, in that sense that the best martial artist is someone who doesn’t get into a fight, you know, just a way of operating in the larger world. The act of activating and the act of being present and moving, for me, it is some kind of defense in the world that is making me stronger and happier. It’s totally cheesy but I love thinking of it that way. I feel like there are times when you are asked to really locate yourself in the space with others - “we are in a room, we are dancing together. “That’s the element that I’m interested in. It’s like going back to this idea that we are in a space and we are together, instead of being this isolated body, it can actually be a community.
8 THE INPEX
Wednesday, August 12. 2009
Past, Present, Fugit: a Skype conversation with Alexander Nikolic of African Maximalism, a Publication on Politics and Culture in Kenya WILL RAWLS FROM PAGE 1
Will Rawls 13:11 hiya 13:11 ha ha i was just told i have to move now because someone needs to set up a table exactly where i am sitting 13:11 and because i have a shitty mac computer it means i need to unplug and restart.... Alexander Nikolic 13:11 ok, i’m here Will Rawls 13:11 alright. i’ll be back Alexander Nikolic 13:11 no prob Will Rawls 13:11 Will Rawls 13:24 i am back Will Rawls 13:30 are you there? Alexander Nikolic 13:34 sorry, yes i’m here Will Rawls 13:35 no worries.... where should we start? where do you like to start? Alexander Nikolic 13:36 I have no clue, but let’s start. I don’t know where you want the interview to point to. Will Rawls 13:36 to start, i am interested specifically in your relationship to African Maximalism as a publication and concept. Is it both for you? 13:37 is maximalism countering a minimalism? or stating the first of many possible Africanisms? Alexander Nikolic 13:39 Yes, probably the only possible thing is in a way a maximalism as africanism is anyway a maximalism of its own. Indeed Africans, starting from the collective of Afro Max, needs to get rid of identity in a certain way. There are too many, and too confusing. Will Rawls 13:40 how do they get rid of identity? 13:40 and for whom? Alexander Nikolic 13:46 well, as the first topic of research was and is the public space and sphere, nobody can ignore that Kenya, faces a difficult period. The last elections caused chaos, violence and fraud. Uprisings of the defeated, who were backed by the poor, ended by being cracked down, through violent formations of different political parties, who instrumentalized tribal idendity, to shift a social uprising, into an tribal conflict. So, to get rid of f tribal differences, would generate a different potential of organization. As all of that happened in the public space, which without elections is already very dangerous, its good to have an bigger canvas for projection. 13:49 Beside the fact that public space is very limited, and that the governments, the UN and others are working to implement, what they see as worth preserving in urban spaces, culture and arts, to stabilize the urban centers of 3rd world countries, in order to attract tourists, who can enjoy the street artists, like you can
OVERHEARD IN VIENNA...
“MY NAME IS PHILIPP SPÅNGBERG” ARSENALE
find in Vienna for example. So there is a certain discourse going on which urban codes should be allowed to happen in public space? Will Rawls 13:56 so in a sense, stabilizing public space freezes the mobility of the Kenyans... and can we be more specific about which Kenyans we are talking about? Alexander Nikolic 13:59 did u finish your question? Will Rawls 13:59 no not yet 13:59 talking to Emma for a sec, sorry Alexander Nikolic 14:00 ok, i try to answer the last question. Will Rawls 14:07 The opening article of African Maximalism speaks much about public space. the gathering of Maskani in Mombasa, in some ways, initiated this new, unstable but interwoven, newly productive public space. the young and old are meeting... [from this meeting] there was a documentary, a song, and soon to be a music video about the Maksani gathering. question: how are the young and old vital to this cultural production? is this a possibility to create introduce local history and local future, and trade secrets? 14:08 and then there is a question [in African Maximalism] about the burden of individualism being alleviated by this new public space - what is burdensome about individualism in this setting? Alexander Nikolic 14:08 In fact, it’s an open question, what is Kenyan at all. On one side, you have a postcolonial condition, where the former regulations, have with few changes, been upgraded into a constitution, but the focus of the constitution still serves the exploitation of the country, and generates strong elites. Similar to other places, where democratic or revolutionary potential came out of the Bourgeoisie, or their kids, we now have different attempts to transform Kenya into a more democratic society. Public Spaces and Public Sphere, in Kenya, even if they pretend to generate a common identity, don’t manage to establish a Kenyan culture. In opposition, you have loads of different churches, which separate the people, the memory of the independence is linked to only one tribe, and there is no such highly developed cultural code, das erhabene, as you would say in German, which could serve as cultural matrix, which you need to subvert, in order have the subjects, who generate an contemporary cultural code, which could be understood in the same way, by everybody from that ... 14:09 well i was answering the question above... 14:10 Mombasa is certainly different to Nairobi, as it’s mainly a muslim coast metropolis 14:11 where a bit different definition of community and public space & sphere applies Will Rawls 14:11
true Alexander Nikolic 14:12 it explains the difficulties, of not having a common cultural idendity, but the movements like around the maskanis, also co-initiated a hip hop movement, which uses a new created language, which is of course totally ignored by the kenyan TV stations. 14:14 Its a language, which was created in the ghettos, and consists of the 4 most important tribal languages and English. For the opening of the exhibtion, UKOO FLANI a hip hop movement from Mombasa was performing, and they use mainly Sheng to rap with. Will Rawls 14:14 the difficulty with cultural code, that we are dealing with in contemporary dance, is how this can cast a shadow over future attempts at self-definition. the deaths of Pina Bausch, Merce Cunningham and Michael Jackson are already multiplying into so many forms of nostalgia. some good and valuable, usually on the personal level, and some that will be institutionalized. in ten years, the world will see the largest ever voting age population in the history of democracy - my hope is that we are laying down the right to exercise this power but while, all the time, reinterpreting what “civilian” means in the public space - or dance class for that matter. 14:16 we are falling out of step in [Skype] coversation. i’ll wait for a sec. but before i do, i will throw out the application of choreography as it applies to the movement of people and thus the distribution of information - could it apply to what you are considering in Kenya? And, what exactly are you doing there? 14:17 i totally contradicted myself. no more questions... not even an emoticon Alexander Nikolic 14:17 did you? Will Rawls 14:17 Just in that i promised no more questions, and in the next sentence, asked you two more questions. Alexander Nikolic 14:18 yep, but i don’t mind and try to answer the question. Will Rawls 14:19 go for it. Alexander Nikolic 14:31 I was often faced with nostalgia, in different forms. Although i see that some are good and valuable, they in the end simply describe a certain desire, for the past, which back than was far from ideal, and is just a construction, per se its absolute questionable. I don’t know if nostalgia isn’t maybe always a blurred idealized description of the past, and as I can’t answer that question, or, I care more about the present and the future. As i co- founded a project called SLUM-TV, i was dealing with the limitations of public space, on a daily basis, so i tried to make up my mind, and to find out also with the help of other people: where we are and who we are in Kenya. I’m also there to learn, how to overcome the limitations of my artistic expression, in a place, where nobody is consid-
CONTRIBUTED BY WALTRUD “WALI” BRAUNER, DANCER
13.08.09 The Swedish Dance History
LOST Wali’s small violet notebook. Wali says, “If you like the book, keep it and make copies of the notes for me.”
Book Release Party Vienna - Schnapsloch
DANCERS IN THE DARK Review of Spangberg’s Dark: Wali says, “Now I don’t know what to say. But something about… television and Manga.”
ered to care about contemporary art. And with the help of African Maximalism, i progressed in answering that question. So, even at that remote place, called Africa, there is an extremely interesting cultural production, under difficult conditions, which fully deserves our attention. There are many experiences to be exchanged, in order to understand, how easy it is, or can be, to generate artistic works that are critical and manage to communicate outside their predefined frames. 14:31 ufff...not easy such a skype interview Will Rawls 14:37 it is interesting too this ability and desire to travel to other spaces to practice defining the terminologoy that we are always traveling with... 14:38 for me, writing this newspaper, conducting myself as a journalist is mostly about what i am able to come up with at any given moment to engage, to present. difficult too then to publish these incarnations. Alexander Nikolic 14:41 sometimes the other spaces - i [have] spent few years in Kenya now - open up perspectives which help me to understand, abstract theory much better. 14:42 and i can imagine, that it’s quite difficult to translate our interview into a newspaper format. Will Rawls 14:42 yep. and i will have to do this in about an hour... 14:42 which is not to say that we are done. unless you are. Alexander Nikolic 14:43 just copy the whole of it, i think ppl should know that and what a skype interview is, with all the limitations of the medium Will Rawls 14:43 god idea. 14:43 i mean... goOd idea. Alexander Nikolic 14:44 I could go on, but i have here a difficulty... meeting starting at around 3. 14:44 will, as well i could co- publish it on the eroticunion.org blog, and you could point in your newspaper to the blog, so if anybody feels interested to contribute... Will Rawls 14:45 for sure, co-publication - sharing is caring... 14:46 let’s finish then. this has been really great. thanks so much. Alexander Nikolic 14:46 u have to write me the coordinates, where this interview is published, so i can post it with the right credentials Will Rawls 14:47 i will Skype you the interview... and you can find it online at www.issuu. com/inpex along with this week’s entire series [of The Inpex issues]. Alexander Nikolic 14:47 let’s do it like this, you send me in an hour or so, the ready-for-publishing and i publish it as well.
SCRIPT FOR SMALL TALK
(for performative reading out loud; 3 people) KrÖÖT JUURAK
a: Hi, How are you? b: Thanks – fine. Say- have you seen this new science fiction tv series – shit – forgot the name. But the plot is pretty good. You can be hired in a company –and have your memory and personality erased and then you are re-programmed to perform all kinds of professions. Like you might be just anyone - secret agent, brain surgent, wife, prostitute. You might even be swedish… but just for a weekend or so. Project based…. a: Aha- I think I have heard about it. The actors are doing a great job – every episode totally new role to play. It’s fantastic. Aaa now I remember – Its called DOLLHOUSE that’s where they work --- it looks kind of like a pilates centre. When the dolls are at “home” they are in this “neutral” or “blank” state – and wear dancers’ clothes. B hmm reminds me of our own scene (thinking pause) b: a: except maybe there is no outside... (pause) b: Did I fall asleep? a: For a while. b: Can I go now? a: If you like. This is the first thing they say when they have just been reprogrammed. What would a natural dialogue look like? b: Do you feel free? a: I’m trying to do my best. b: But those people are “programmed” to the last detail. We are different. We have a choice, don’t we! a: Yes, exactly. Recent theories on autodomestication state that species of animals SELF-domesticate when their survival is enhanced by behaviours that allow wild species to live tamely near humans. Tolerating or even enjoying the close approach of humans in order to feed near them, and a lessening of natural adult aggression, are two aspects of tameness. An environment which supports the survival of tame animals can lead to other changes in behaviour and appearance as well(quotation needed). a: Yes, for example juvenility- barking and meowing- they are also more playful, more sexual, more endearing and more eager to learn. so you are saying the whole “who do you wanna be” thing then is actually more like “I wanna be your dog”?? b: hmmm like “who’s dog do you wanna be?” b: hmm i don’t like this. a: c’mon. it’s science fiction. besides, wouldn’t you work for the dollhouse? Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Will Rawls 14:47 great. it’s a deal. Alexander Nikolic 14:48 cool, then till later, my mail is an@ eroticunion.org Will Rawls 14:48 thanks. ciao. Alexander Nikolic 14:48 and the blog is: http://eroticunion. org/ 14:48 ciao
“KANYE WEST IS THE NEW ALANNIS MORRISSETTE“ WILL RAWLS