In November 2011 I presented Booth: A Dance Fair at Bloomberg Space in London. This is my fave photo from the day.
I pledge to focus the majority of my energies on finding and supporting contemporary cultural activity, whatever form that may take, that resonates wildly with the population and expresses what it is to be alive in the 21st century, not the past.
So much of modern dance is a reaction against something that no one else cares about anyway.
I think this 1995 version of Eno is probably right, and I love the idea of dance resonating wildly with the population. But … I don’t make work that does this. I don’t know how to make work that does this. I also wonder what would happen to the work I make (and me) if I did.
Idea for new project (tentatively titled Wild population resonances): Make something that sells out Sadler’s Wells for 6 straight months but that is created without any Government (or private) seed funding.
Idea for another new project (working title: Small): Make something that is small scale, cheap and for very small audiences, that totally ignores what it’s like to be alive in the 21st Century, and that reacts against nothing.
… when you’re researching in media res, the new ideas or details or stories that you stumble across are much more useful to you, because you can immediately see the slots where they belong
— Steven Johnson medium.com/the-writers-room/281c7539ad92
Writer, Steven Johnson, pushing for getting started writing earlier than you might think. I recognise and encourage this approach to writing. It also supports the critical idea that understanding and ideas develop through the act of writing (as Johnson suggests by including the Doctorow quote).
Writing as a student or academic is about finding strategies to develop your own thinking in relation to what is already there in the world, and then communicating these in a form and manner that is appropriate to those ideas. Johnson’s point is that writing is – rather reflexively – actually one of those strategies.
The same could be said of the act of choreography. It is through practicing choreography that I become aware of – or sensitive to – the gaps of the material and ideas I am developing. Choreography, in this respect, is not an abstract activity. It is sustained activity that requires the same degree of rigour, patience and unswerving commitment as the act of writing.
I’m reading A Year with Swollen Appendices: Brian Eno’s Diary and it’s full of delicate treasures and everyday written doodles. It’s also creating the dangerous possibility that every blog post of mine from here until then will simply be a quote from the 1995 version of Brian Eno. This is awkward, but fuck it.
Here, Eno is discussing payment for doing an interview and expressing bemusement that as the primary producer (i.e. the interviewee) he should be paid, and that “It’s good promotion for you” is not good enough:
This is why I’ve never particularly linked doing interviews to record releases – which most people do. I’m not promoting the record: the records are promoting the ideas.
I like Eno’s sleight of mind here.
I make dances, and I help others make dances, and I go to watch dances (in many different forms) because they are in some way promoting ideas (even if those ideas exist in a purely kinaesthetic way).
Currently dance seems to be preoccupied with promoting dances rather than allowing the dances to promote ideas. This also often gets in the way of the works themselves. To put the cart before the horse is a trap in our time of dance trailers, social web, e-news and hyper-connectivity.