[-empyre-] a bank of ideas

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Wed Nov 30 03:46:18 EST 2011

dear all

trying to grapple with the response sent by Simon
and am not sure i can disentangle his sentences [see below]

<< simon schreibt>>
Education and the employment of the young are about the future, have or
have no future, imply the future, whereas the arts are about funding,
receive more or less funding, imply and unfold from funding, when and
where it is rolled out.

Where it has been, arts institutions are healthier, exist, even, at the
level of the power. But has-beens are not what they were, existing in a
perfect past. Wannabes - won't be what we all wanna - from an imperfect
present - if education has no future, if the rates of unemployment
continue ... as they are, as they were when punks everywhere around said
No Future.   It is the futurity of education and opportunities for the young which I
wanted to draw attention to and the history - the will to recover it, to
plumb the depths of the past - of the arts, of arts funding: it seems as
soon as we want to discuss the future of the arts, we are pulled, by an
undertow, into the past; as if the future of the arts were its history.

surely the arts are not about funding, unless you choose
to look at it from that angle of material support,
institutional infrastructure, markets, venues, sales
and all the other things (distinction, symbolic value,
educational/pedagogic benefit, etc) that accrue around
arts' valuations.  

the notion of an "occupying" (or as it was called 'squatting')
of an inter-face (towards banking and financing industries)
is incompletely thought out (I have not had time to think it through
or observe the action and reaction patterns).
i felt the interface the activists staged was primarily and symbolic and theatrical one, but
also a tactical maneuver; 

arts organizations and artists have
often used tactical maneuvers to generate work or have an impact
on the present (the site, the neigbhorhood, the media, the
scene, the form, well, the audience and the public mostly), 
and here Geert's commentaries on the "anti- cutback" rhetorics
used by theatres and art galleries in the Netherlands are of 
course illuminating, and similar 'protests' will occur in other
lands and territories, and i remember reading about the
clowns in Columbia and have forgotten the context within which
the Mayor of Bogotá asked them to perform or they came outdoors to
the streets to perform.....

but not always has the cry been heard.  artists  also
often have danced (refering now to the form I know best), they
moved their bodies into place(s) through time, and a distinction
"artworld / real world" of course would be nonsensical.  

it's hard to keep talking about the future or past of money
when you think, for example,  of movement as we tried to
do it last month here in this place, after the month when many
here on this soft-skinned space had apparently been traveling to ISEA in
Istanbul and report about their tourist experiences in Turkey.

moving or performing in light of
the question of publicity (the public) or privacy, or in light of
body and cellular consciousness.  how would that change the

There must be innumerable creative people working
in their private and their shared public spaces demanding
of themselves that they live through their process (without
that that process is measured through monetary awards,
claims and stakes). when we demand to get paid for services,
we can of course charge ticket prices or invite donations.

but are we not discussing also different kinds of consciousnesses?

[i am writing this being influenced by having watched a documentary
about/with choreographer Deborah Hay (who's worked in her
art since the 60s without institutional support) shown this week at 
Cinedans Festival in Amsterdam --  "Deborah Hay not as Deborah Hay"]

In that film, she says at one point that all through the last decades
she tried challenging conventions of "facing front", through "practicing 
surrendering the pattern of facing a single direction" 
and being open to many possibilities of being in the here and now - in relationality, 
in relation to the audience and the world.*

Johannes Birringer

* (cited from "Deborah Hay not as Deborah Hay", film dir/ed. by  Ellen Bromberg, 2011)

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