[-empyre-] how to teach theory as a practice

Ken wrote:

One question that hasn't come up yet, though, is pedagogy: how to
teach theory as a practice, in the schools as well as outside of it.
None of this will have happened unless somebody teaches it...

McKenzie Wark

Yes, and actually, there are some posts on this from our discussion with documenta 12 magazine project on 'what is to be done? (education)' in the January archives for -empyre-, at

I mett Bojana CvejiÄ last November in connection with the 'what is to be done' question for a documenta 12 workshop. Her writing on this very question of
how to teach theory as a practice, is extraordinary. I just wrote to Bojana about this and she was kind enough to forward me this recent essay. It's so well argued that I chose not to excerpt from it.




Searching for the perspective in which I could understand why âeducationâ or âknowledge productionâ emerges as the new hot topic in contemporary choreography and performance in Europe, I decided to try out a game with myself. What if I were a stranger â a theoretician, innocent of dance â who was entering the field for the first time now after ten years of its expansion? And there have been one or two philosophers who have recently been called in by the performance scene to discover a new â for them â choreographic practice, as the last performance they saw couldâve been a dance by BÃjart or the theater of Peter Brook. Could we imagine what drew their attention to the practices of choreography and performance today?

The stranger-philosopher is delighted to discover a field teeming with problems â old and historically solved in the other arts â now posed with a promise of specific political significance: for example, how working method could be challenged by score, how sensations and affects relate to concepts, how institutional critique should go beyond a mere attitude of display â to name just a few. Whatâs especially attractive about dance is the softness of complicity with which criticism, artistsâ pro-theoretical speech and very little theory practiced around these practices, merge in their functions, serving each other without borders, where many participants occupy many roles. And how out of this blend, topics like events arise. You find yourself in the situation to wonder: âWait a minute, did I bring up collectivity out of the autonomous need to rethink it today, or was the topic fashioned for a moment to serve the claim of political and I identified with it without asking myself where it comes from?â There is a chain of such topics unfolding one after another: research, laboratory and process, collectivity and collaboration, and now, education and knowledge.

If the figure of the stranger is a conservative philosopher, s/he will turn the whole discovery into a romantic celebration of what s/ he envies dance for in difference to philosophy: dance is poetry that doesnât need to write itself, movement is a metaphor of thought. A great part of the dance scene would thank her/him for it, and the whole actuality of problematization would be lost. On the other hand, if s/he takes the field seriously, then s/he, of course, loses the initial enthusiasm about the innocence of a new field, and realizes there is hard work to do to separate theory (that proceeds from a viewpoint) from criticism (which hides its viewpoint in common sense). By common sense I mean, here, the residues of past intellectualizations which make up the beliefs about normality. Itâs ânormalâ that a choreographer wonât allow interpretation of a performance as if it were a work of music or literature once s/ he or any of the dancers of the piece are no longer there in the world to pass the knowledge, because itâs ânormalâ that the process carried on in the bodies of performers is indispensable from the product. Itâs ânormalâ for a critic to base his/her argument on âit either works or it doesnât workâ. Itâs ânormalâ for us to think and argue the work in these terms, if we agree with if it works or not according to what the critic says.

But the stranger is too much of a stranger yet to complain cynically. S/he is curious, and s/he asks:

How did it occur that theory became something like a toolmachine for a practice of discourse constitutive of choreography? Why only ten years ago or so? How did it happen that contemporary dance schools like PARTS included as one of the subjects in the curriculum âtheoryâ? Is it that historically happens only now that a contemporary dance school should model itself after Academy, the renaissance model of inducting art candidates into philosophy apart from technical instruction? What role did theory play for choreography which sought a specific difference from dance? What does this role mean for the development of theory as a discipline in itself? Why did deconstruction become a common word, almost a technical term on the lips of technicians as well as programmers? And why does this all happen in the 90s and not before?

Let me begin with the story about theory, the path it had to go to find its extension towards choreographic practice. How do we come to use âtheoryâ as an absolute noun - needless to specify what this theory is the theory of? For instance, I teach âtheoryâ to dancers and choreographers, and the bodies of theory belong to the post- Kantian period of aesthetics, but I rarely need to specify the second degree of application: theory of performing arts, or better to say, theory â in experimental transferences into â the performing arts. Theory begins to supplant philosophy at the moment it is realized that thought is linguistic or material and that concepts canât exist independently of their linguistic expression. Fine enough, but then this is also to say that theoryâas the coming to terms with materialist languageâwill involve something like a language police, a search and destroy mission targeting the inevitable ideological implications of our language practices. And the only common interest between theory and dance in order for theory to access dance was that they both operate linguistically. But for dance, it was a hard task to prove that dance operates with language, at least, in a conditional, modernist understanding of it that even the most theory- resistant dance practitioners will agree with: the language of movement forms, its syntax or grammar.

The process of the expansion of theory could be described in figures of war and domination and imperialism because theory is of course also yet another super-structural development of late capitalism. What happens during the period in which theory spreadsâand the classical story is well known: first anthropology borrows its fundamental principles from linguistics, then literary criticism develops the formerâs implications in a range of new practices, which are adapted to psychoanalysis and the social sciences and especially cultural studiesâwhat happens in this process of transfer is what I would characterize (keeping to a linguistic mode) as wholesale translation, the supplanting of one language by another or, better still, by one kind of language by a whole range of very different ones. The logic of theoryâs Empire is appropriation by translation into or for this or that disciplinary area. Whatâs interesting is that modernism exits the arts to lend its dynamic and telos to theory; in other words the dynamic of theory has been the pursuit of the new and, if not a belief in progress, then at least a confidence that there always will be something new to replace the various older theories that have been absorbed into and domesticated by the canon.[1]

Does the resistance to theory today still have anything to do with how skeptically philosophers look down on it? In 1912 the philosopher Ralph Barton Perry published a book called âPresent Philosophical Tendenciesâ; it was subtitled âA Critical Survey of Naturalism, Idealism, Pragmatism, and Realism, Together with a Synopsis of the Philosophy of William Jamesâ. In the first chapter Perry distinguished between belief and theory, evidently because he thought his colleagues were confusing those terms in the zeal with which they pursued them. According to Perry, belief, or rather âestablished beliefâ, denotes faith, in the sense of âconviction favorable to action.â He regarded theory as an altogether smaller consideration, mainly because it should not â or at least not immediately â issue in action or otherwise change oneâs life. He deemed a theory to be experimental, a notion to be taken up or put down as it proved useful or not to a particular task. The theorist, he said, can enjoy the experiences of doubt, interrogation, irresponsibility, âa certain oscillation of mind between hypothetical alternatives.â

Old-fashioned and erroneous though this view is, because it assigns philosophy the truth-procedure while it doesnât see that if theory is experimental then it has potentially an empirical, active life- value practice, that theory is able to change your life, the distinction he made explains how theory substituted for the metaphysical horizon in choreography.

As long as the paradigm of dance is kept Romanticist or Modernist â dance as the formal or representational self-expression in bodily movement â its transfer in learning and making, where making is learning, will be based in belief. So theory enters dance, where the purpose or necessity of the innate expression (self-expression) exits. And where the hierarchical authority of the author as a producer=master of knowledge in work is challenged. Or, better still, theory doesnât only enter, it remains still productive there where it meets resistance. And this is the third answer to the question why theory was so powerful for the definition of choreography in the 90s.

For the last time: letâs go back again to the theoretical invasion. It is in the 90s that we hear the first objections to something like a hegemony of poststructuralism. The complaints are issued from those who identify themselves as the guardians of the holy impenetrable essence of art: literary critics, for instance, who want to save literature from theory robbing it, or cognitivist approaches who are rescuing the essence of art by psychology of perception.[2] Among other things, they say, theory legitimates itself by consistency, but the approach of social constructionism makes the work of theory arbitrary, because theories are mutually interchangeable and operations are predictable. Theory produces knowledge circularly, for any artwork can accommodate or be accommodated for any theory for theoryâs success. Plus theory becomes a risky business in performance as it promotes and follows trendy and ephemeral figures, star-lecturers who in their lectures exercise rhetorics.

I agree with none of that, as I see the march of theory through the humanities only helped the arts to acquire self-reflexiveness, and to found themselves as theoretical disciplines. The only doubt I have today after theory had been institutionalized in both academia and art schools concerns a certain arrogance of claim that not to think theoretically is not to think at all; so I would only object to theory acting juridically in relation to knowledge.

interpretations as it fanciesâ

This opinion, often imparted on students by dance teachers, only shows that knowledge in dance is still understood according to the 18th century separation of special areas of expertise. In the light of this fact, the poststructuralist theories in the 90s did for dance what dance was asking for: deterritorialization. Leave the territory of specialisation as technical expertise and step in many other territories, which enable choreographers to observe dance from the outside and thereby, construct specificity multiple.

Is this a contradiction: specificity without specialization, and specificness conceived in plural? How the understanding of specificness in dance changed could be observed from the new approaches to technique. Instead of pondering whether to take a ballet or modern dance class as a general warm-up before the rehearsal, some choreographers think they should rethink their training more specific. Each project develops its own technical procedures and the body specializes accordingly. The other approach is: what kind of body practice should I set up from the concept Iâm developing in parallel so that such a body practice will provide conditions or a longer-term process for something like an event to emerge and challenge the concept and the thinking I started with. So, two ways we could see this development are: either dancers have also become pragmatic and opportunistic to fully accept that their body intelligence is instrumental for particular tasks and, therefore, relative, or they invest in searching for means without ends in order to prevent themselves from reasserting the knowledge they had before they formulated their concept. In both cases, they give up the trust in the organic wholesome curriculum diet.

Dance schools are like parents: they want their dancing children fully equipped and fit for GWWDD, the global world-wide dance diversity.

Why did the European dance in the 90s need theory in the quest of specificity and specificity for what? In the jargons of a number of choreographers today you can hear choreography and specificity more often referred than dance. Perhaps the distinction between choreography and dance in this case means the separation of choreographing as the writing from dancing as the speaking. All that was until recently called conceptual dance was based on such a Derridian turn: let's prove that writing may precede, maybe even, in some cases, substitute for dancing. By choreography as writing / Ãcriture/ I don't mean dance notation â so not the writing which follows, resembles, represents the speech of dance, like the written following the spoken word. I mean the writing as the language practice which includes and reflects its own rules and values of formation. So only by deconstructing the assumptions behind the language for action, movement, thought, reflection, consciousness, unconsciousness, experience and affectivity, could the art of choreography acquire a theoretical knowledge to merit the status of a discipline, like visual art, music, or film.

Isnât it too late (compared to the other arts) and yet so timely (as modernism coinciding within postmodernity) that the authors whom we would call choreographers but not, never call dancers claim and establish choreography by critiquing the institution of authorship? Authors become auteurs on the condition that they problematize authorship. Does the establishment of choreography â in the sense of self-reflexive theoretical knowledge - have to arise from deconstruction? Specificity arises first with the semiotic turn â and however that seems so historically late, as we speculate that pieces like âThe last performanceâ or âGiszelleâ could have been made from the point of their possible theorization â Roland Barthes or Julia Kristeva â 40 years ago, they couldnât have. The dance world wasnât ready for them; in other words, in dance, back then in the 70s, there was no theoretical atmosphere, no knowledge of history and theory which would inform such work and make it possible. This work happens only 10 years ago or so, in the 90s, and at an accelerating pace of appropriation and short-circuiting all that it catches up on the way: society of spectacle, pop culture, the neoavantgarde of the 60s, conceptualism in visual art. First it was Barthes, then Deleuze, and recently Luhmann, and now the theoretical names proliferate and contemporanize as we feel more confident on the ground of that specific otherness we declare as choreography.

âWhat are you working on?â

âWell, Iâm interested in the cinematic technologies, so Iâm reading Deleuze on cinema and you?â

âIâm figuring out what Massumi meant with the analog of the digital.â


Whatâs great is that now there isnât even time for such exchange of references. Theory has resumed use value again after the initial promotional period when it had the form of exchange value, when we were competing who read Massumi first. This means that we have to thank the first rough period of conceptual methodology for the use of theory now becoming more smooth, seamless, more experimental and less demonstrative.

Talking to dance historians, and dance artists, you get a sense they have rather rude bottomline conclusions about dance being somehow a subaltern discipline, where subaltern equals inferior in rank.[3] To say that dance is subaltern isnât victimization.Dance historians claim that dance both in the tradition and in contemporary practice has a dubious relation to its own history, methodology, theory and epistemology. Ramsay Burt wants to undo dance history in so far as dance is obsessed with presence as the trace of body and as the present or contemporariness. Underlying this 'presentism' is a dialectic of exhaustion and reaction whereby dancers, having found an older style saturating and unfulfilling, turn instead to something new. So saturation, exhaustion, reaction and then replacement â this is the logic of dance undermining its own historization. The same goes for methodology.

Letâs say I take a contemporary dance class. I hope I will be introduced to an array of contemporary approaches, methods and conceptual frameworks. Instead of that, the choreographer introduces me to his method with the naÃve essentialism of a master-craftsman. âThis is how I do it. My relation is only to my work. My greatgrandfather is still Kant who enlightened me with the view that best knowledge is innate, acquired by intuition and not observation.â Says my teacher. And me, the student, what is left for me to do? To desire to only have more money to be able to afford more workshops of many more choreographers so as to get further into, if not by an overview of, a plurality in the field.

So who is doing theory in/for dance? The critics and the dramaturges, and occasionally a few theoreticians originally coming from other disciplines. In other words, thereâs not much going on there. The critics are busy with rationalizing their judgments made for the consuming audiences, and every once in a while they alarm us with âdance is in a crisisâ which is always just a symptom of criticism being in crisis. And the dramaturges are too close and complicit with the dance they are collaborating with in order to be interested in developping a theory with autonomy. There is no dance theory apart from the close loyalty of writers in the service of promoting certain authors, and there is a small part of academic, not so much related to the actual practice, study. It is also the dispositif of performance makes dance (even more than the theater that traditionally leaves the text behind) unavailable for discussion from the very simple reason that there can be no live comment made about what is seen â for what we have plenty of time and space to do in exhibition. The discussion time in theater is put off until after the show, when it happens in the bar around the drinks in the vicinity of the author whose presence makes him not dead enough to discuss the work with. And the artistsâ talks after the show they are â at best â promotions upgraded into a clarification where authors under the tyranny of the democratic dialogue are supposed to explain what they meant.

So who could theorize dance if not the choreographers themselves, by making the leap out of the conventional wisdom of dance forms, styles, narratives and self-expression, into other areas of theoretical knowledge, taking for their model art theory? Contemporary art theory becomes the example to look upon to for contemporary choreography. It serves as a paradigm of transfer from the theories after philosophy into the visual art theory. What makes the art theoryâs influence in choreography contemporary is that it is necessarily critical of the institution (theater) and it is political inasmuch as it is aesthetical.

Here are two unrelated points intertwined: the institutional critique (a concept advanced by the conceptual art in the 70s) and what the French philosopher Jacques RanciÃre recently coined as âthe politics of aestheticsâ.[4] Done with the utopian politics of conflict in favor of everyday micro-utopias, that is, singular strategies and tactics of flight, movement, negotiation, the choreographer seeks for a procedure which will produce an operation in the medium for a specific context. An operation is, what MÃrten SpÃngberg argued recently, a singular event of procedureâs implementation to a singular situation. I would add, the possible, and desirable political effect of an operation is to destabilize, disrupt or even redistribute the order of whatâs perceptible and thinkable.

RanciÃre makes a careful and important distinction between politics and police. Police, according to RanciÃre, is the general law that determines the distribution of parts and roles in a community as well as its forms of exclusion. The distribution applies to everything, for instance, it is the city or your TV, or your food diet or your choreographic regime. Police is the distribution of what can be seen, heard, said and thought. It means that not everything is political as we like to say. Politics is only there ââ where the laws, rules, habits, values, mechanisms and protocols for perception and cognition are disrupted. The political is the dispute that challenges the established framework of identification and classification, for instance, what dance is or could be or isnât allowed to be. So, the political are the acts that operate by disagreement.

In the field of choreography, theory contributed to putting representation in the brackets in the 90s. The police was the organic order of bodies, movements, objects, space, time, sound, gaze of the spectator, the order of representation and even the representation of expression. The political were the acts which displayed or transformed the representational apparatus of performance. The effects of this rupture we now recognize as the new law: performances which necessarily look back at you. The logic underlying the procedures of readymade and appropriation from non-dance or non-art into choreography is the self-referential performative or the demonstrativeness of acts looking back at the spectators looking at them. This is, perhaps, the most recognizable overall effect of theoryâs contribution to institutional critique in the 90s, which has now almost established itself as a new police order. The performance is watching you, and itâs like the police interrogating you in your role of the spectator: reflect upon your history, your taste, your capacity to perceive, your knowledge that you bring to the performance.

How does something that was once political turn into police? Hereby, a sample of thinking from a young choreographer reflecting her working approach.

âImagine that you are going to make a performance and that you are just in the beginning of the process. You are currently confronted with shit loads of different choices and decisions to make. It all seems more or less arbitrary, as you still havenât had the ultimate moment of inspiration.

Remembering that the âworkingâ of a Work is always related to the frame of reception, the expectation of the audience and the context in which the work is presented, you ask yourself:

- but what is the frame really? Is it the theater, the body, the topic, the mode of production, the economic limitations, the distribution of the work or something entirely different? Or maybe more importantly, how do I set up a frame, knowing that the frame will highly influence if not determine the outcome of the Work I am about to make. How do I value WORKING and what is more important, the process or the product?

You think about the frame and the format as two important factors. The difference between predetermined formats that think for you and the possibility to think these formats differently.

How can I WORK with

-the frontality of the stage

-the demand for minimally 50-70min long performances

-the difficulty of having less than 100 audience members

-the body as the medium of dance

-dance technique as a precondition for dance making

-the mode of production, following proposal-application-research- production-presentation.

-the product valued higher than the process'' Mette Ingvartsen wrote.[5]

Do you find this checklist as a set of limitations imprisoning? Or, thinking it through may enable one to fold it in?

So, in order to answer the question why âknowledge productionâ arises as a topic today, letâs take the conclusion from this discussion: theory brings to choreography a practice of discourse which separates it from dance by the discipline of self-reflection. It was the theoretical knowledge, which choreography operated with, in the critique of the institution. Like authorship establishing itself in deconstruction and poststructuralist death of author, so do institutions arise in their own criticism. Institutional structures in dance expand parallel with choreographers performing their critique. It seems as if the logic of development of the theater institution today, and more specifically, venues showing dance, is how to invite, host and subsume self-criticism as a distinct part in its diversity management. An emerging institution will measure its success by the discipline of self-reflexivity, which is as valued as an R&D department: how it can think critically of itself for itself. Here lies the politics of a double-binding relationship - of constituting and being constituted, of being governed and trying to transform governance â in which both the artist and the curator are caught. If we tackle the vogue of âknowledge productionâ (education and all related terms), we are forced to analyze a complex of interests, advantages and limitations, which we cannot simply blame on a win-win reason of free-market capitalism. It would be too easy to reduce it to just a new marketing-curatorial strategy. The situation is more interesting and complicated:

A performance is deemed too âdifficultâ â in other words, the programmer knows in advance that it will not have a full theater, but s/he nevertheless finds it important. He canât convince his superior general/financial director that the audience figures donât matter if the piece represents an evidence, albeit undesirable, of contemporaneity. The general director makes a calculation: according to the already diminished budget of this production, divided by audience figures, each spectator doesnât make theater earn but s/he actually costs the theater from 300 to 1000 euros. Not only does it bring no profit, such a production requires that the state invests high amounts in a select members of elite which are delegated as what was historically known, and here used as technical term, âavantgardeâ. Itâs the state and the private money that pay this sum for every privileged spectator of such work. To survive the pressure of neoliberal economy and make such work survive, a new argument is needed. It wonât work to play out the significance of art-for-artâs-sake autonomy and development. Instead, art needs to be proclaimed as a special form of knowledge production. The success of such a nomination is that it can include the two traditional post- Enlightenment types of knowledge complementing each other: the disinterested, so-called pure knowledge (aesthetical, philosophical) and the knowledge of the emancipation âfor the peopleâ (audience as members of society).

Mika Hannula, a Finnish expert and Art Academy director made a few statements that echoed even in daily press bombastically: art is a source of knowledge because artistic research is transdisciplinary, discursive, creative, experimental, critical, open in approach. The artist has developped the skills of a knowledge-pirate, a methodological omnivore who can churp from as many areas of knowledge as the occasion suits him, the same Dutch daily reports.[6] Apart from the surplus value claimed in defense of a lack of popularity and profit, I would argue that there are two more interests for the âknowledge productionâ vogue. Knowledge has become an informational commodity whose exchange value not only represents the principle force of production today, but it also has a major stake in the competition for power. In the well-known phenomenon of economy going more immaterial with services and IT, art behaves as the teacherâs pet in the society classroom. Itâs supposed to be the first one to have the answer on the topic. For performing arts this means claiming to produce knowledge, not just entertainment. And second, as a good deal of especially performing arts production is doing the politics of aesthetics more than the politics of engagement with social reality, knowledge is argued as a new link between the arts and society, the magical copula which will reinforce a new political role of art in society.

How else should we understand the recent boom of academies and educational programmes that substitute for exhibitions all over? Manifesta 6 is titled Art School and will consist of lectures, debates, presentations and workshops taking place in Nicosia. Documenta 12 will transform one of its chief venues Fridericianum into an Academy. Even more curious is the information that a number of renowned art curators are becoming heads of art departments at university, Ute Meta Bauer in the Visual Art Program of MIT, Saskia Bos in the Cooper Union, Okwui Enwezor in the San Francisco Art Institute.

Is this good or bad news for the artists? By no means is this a question. If we switch back to the choreography and performance field, we witness again how the theme âknowledge productionâ jumps from the visual art context into choreography: there is a significant number of educational programmes, debates on education, initiatives to found education in performance going on at the moment in Europe.[7] But it is also that with research, process and laboratory already 5-6 years ago the notion of Ãducation permanente was ushered, perhaps out of the real need of choreography and dance to establish other than existing educational models. The only difference in comparison with the newly waged âknowledge productionâ is that research involved a contract for residency: a room of artistâs own with little discourse and methodology and a lot of aestheticization of research in effect.

However critical we are about the institutionalization and the current fashion of the concepts, research and knowledge production stay valid concepts, and their validness depends on how artists practice them. More precisely: not how they produce new problems in the same contexts, but how they transform the contexts for a problematic. Strangely enough, speaking to choreographers, dancers and performance makers from the age of 30 to 40, one gets the sense that everybody wants to learn. To learn rather than produce. And this also involves to extend the knowledge from performance to other formats of presentation and work, for instance, to thinking performativity without performance, to conceiving of performance without its medium. And Iâm not only talking about knowledge production modes sought by choreographers complaining about the existing educational programmes for choreography, I am talking about something larger that we have in common. The practice of an intellect in general: the faculty of language, the inclination to learn, memory, the ability to correlate, the inclination toward self- reflection.[8]

The fact that we produce constantly outside of the labor-time. A great number of independent freelance workers in this field are considering performativity, in the biopolitical sense, as an activity without end-product. Of course, there is the performance as the product and commodity which circulates on the institutional market. However, its labor-time is characterized by a non-calculated productivity, the learning process. This non-calculated productivity could become a productive force for a process of individuation artists can radicalize in cooperation.

In jargons about choreography individuation is popping up as the term to supplant individualism, as a lot of value is given to the notions of singularity and heterogeneity. The thinking on the specificity as the multiplicity of knowledge in choreography and performance strives to bypass individualism as the brand-making logic which forces authors to homogenize and reproduce the same work over and again. A young dancer formulated this problem in a story about âopening doorsâ: âIt seems to me that Choreography will be problematic as long as it is about finding a new territory as such. There is no territory without an exit from it.â[9] Manon Santkin also said, I paraphrase here: Opening doors rather than making rooms for exhibition is to claim that making work is about a process of becoming and change. What is the new role of theory in that?

It is clear that theory can no longer play a role of providing a poststructuralist text-model of performance made to fit its critique in the same production and presentation models. Why not, for the simple reason that textuality not just as a structural or poststructuralist regime of signification, but in a broader sense, a mindset with which we write concepts for applications for subsidy, our programme notes and reviews, in which we present and produce ourselves - aims at a critique by interpretation, or by a proposition which critically rereads, reinterprets, poses itself against the essentialist heritage: it says, it utters this is, this could be choreography as a contingent statement. It seems that the 90s were for the choreography and performance practices a period of the belated modernist logic, of the insistence on definition by declaration whereby the work satisfied itself to be a âsum of judgmentsâ historical, aesthetical, intertextual, interdiscursive, culturally implicated in a speech act (Thierry De Duve). Poststructuralism and contemporary art theory were instrumental in conceiving of dance as an open concept, and the evidence that their mission is accomplished are the niche-markets, specialized target group audiences, special contexts in which these practices are presented, and thus marginalized and tolerated.

That displaying the theater dispositif and undoing spectatorship produced spectacular effects of recognition and reification of the audiences could be explained by the inherent capacity of capitalism to abolish and melt down outdated institutions. So it is ânormalâ that not with disciplinary, but with self-reflexive and critical practices institutions have to respond advancing towards the freemarket. The consensus is in the internalization of this type of criticism as long as the general form of authority â that of capital â isnât threatened, as long as we agree and accept that institutions are primarily economic even if theyâre not profitable, they have to be subjected to the law of the market.

Until now, the operations theory undertook in the institutional framework werenât evident enough for us to rethink its role. To reorient theory from interpretative and critical to experimental and inventive practices â this means to invest in searching for the conditions in which new theorizations, new practices, new forms of work and life can possibly emerge. By new, I mean something which comes out of not obliging oneself with the protocol of departure from the negative assumption that there is always already that which needs to be undone,the spectator or the dispositif of the performance, as this protocol has proven to be ineffective, a protocol which proceeds only by exhausting itself in the object of critique. New would be the effort at transforming contexts of problematization, producing situations from the assumption that the capacity to act is larger than the means to realize it, that the potentiality is really different than the possibility understood as opportunity. There are simply too many opportunities and too little potentiality when each opportunity is negotiated as a possibility for actualization.

In the search of new conditions rather than new types or topics of criticism I see concrete procedures such as organizing oneâs own working conditions, exploring and exchanging knowledge without ownership, thinking postproductional performativity without performance. These are all tactics of self-organization which imply that artists and theoreticians make work an open process of knowledge production without immediate, pragmatic instrumentalization. Autonomy appears not from isolation or subversion, but from the force of experimentation - a fact capitalism makes us forget.

Bojana CvejiÄ

* This text is a transcript of the lecture Bojana CvejiÄ presented on February 20 2006, in the frame of Context #3, Hebbel-am-Ufer, at the invitation of Bettina Masuch.

[1] I owe these observations to Frederic Jameson, ''Symptoms of Theory or Symptoms for Theory?'', manuscript.
[2] Cf. Daphne Patai and Will H. Corral (ed.), Theory's Empire. An Anthology of Dissent, Columbia University Press, New York, 2005.
[3] In the South Asian context, âsubalternâ is very broadly defined as comprising all those groups that have been made subordinate in terms of class, caste, age, gender, profession or âin any other wayâ.
[4] Cf. Jacques RanciÃre, The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible, (tr.) Gabriel Rockhill, Continuum, London-New York, 2004.
[5] Excerpt from Mette Ingvartsen, ÂWORK, Work and workÂ, manuscript, forthcoming in Etcetera, vol. 102.
[6] Domeniek Ruyters, ''Er zal geleerd worden!'', Volkskrant, January 12, 2006.
[7] The notable one is the German Tanzplan, initiated by Bundes Kulturstiftung, the Federal Foundation for Culture, which finances initiatives of research and establishment of dance education.
[8] This is the definition of multitude and its contemporary forms of life from Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude, Semiotext(e), New York, 2003.
[9] Manon Santkin, âOpening Doorsâ, manuscript produced in the workshop I held in P.A.R.T.S. in 2004.

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