Artists’ problems

Post-temporal art practice Where do you go when there is nowhere to go? More and more practitioners, choreographers, performers and hundreds of other types of artists/ pets are experiencing a growing sense of acute hopelessness in what they call their practice. The practice previously known as creative industries, culture or art seemingly no longer provides neither frame, continuation, community nor future. They, the practitioners, artists, choreographers have already learnt to deploy an endless amount of strategies to deal with what looks to them like a terrible mess. Yes, they still can, they can everything which all available. Survival – food and money is not enough but when has it been so much better and nobody we know is like really starving. Same thing with stability – funding has always been slow and unreliable so there isn’t actually a big difference between receiving no money at all and endlessly delayed answers from the city councils. Creatively it is obviously primetime – it is all open and without restriction: no boundaries, no disciplines, no distinction between research, development and product, past and present, life and future. All in all everything has been merged into everything else and one no longer needs to keep work and leisure time, earning and spending money and resources separate. And furthermore even separation is optional – separation is like garbage sorting – fun to do, gives good conscience and of course we know it will all be one lump later on anyway. But still if the situation is so excellent, not really great but still better than ever, then why still regardless of everything, do the undead questions “where is this all going” “why bother” and “am i gonna make it (or “who am i? haha”) accompany every living artist animal on a more or less regular basis. At the start, middle or at least at the end of every next project they complete, they find themselves facing one or all of these questions. Yet again it might also be an “attitude” thing – you know to “question” things. Doubt, depression, desperation have accompanied artistic existence since it became recognizable as such. Yet today these questions seem totally ungrounded and therefore really depressing and occasionally kick even the fittest of us offtrack. Maybe with the exception of the practitioners that base their whole oevre around depression – for the rest of them it is bothersome, unproductive and basically a waste of time. Obviously therapy is not the answer for everybody and some even claim that the spread of therapy itself expands the number of depressed individuals. Many think it a better idea to look for the causes or reasons for the uneasy feeling. Or simply try to ignore it. Anyhow we have to admit that the situation is new and a new situation requires new adjustments, new strategies and new modes of thinking. And options are many. Some fight for the return of the past, although leaving out the unfavorable parts. Others are inclined to try out something new, obviously something better, yet another proportion of practitioners trust their adjustment skills and prefer to wait and see, wait for a new restriction, enemy or problem. Elimination of public display of ignorance. We have also heard of suggestions of simply getting rid of all current conditions and so to say start from scratch. Or other utopian ideas. Not to talk of the large amount of hysterical individuals that have neither strategy, tactics, practice nor understanding. Life/work is unbearable wether one is an opportunist, specialist, therapist, leftist… Everybody hates impossibility be it in the form of exploitation, unfair competition, emptiness or saturation. Yet we know that the alternative to the market pit would not be total life assistance (or life-long-learning/residency). But for a moment let’s try to imagine that the earth is not meant for humans and the artist not meant for art. The unbearable is inevitable and the inevitable a necessity, kind of like living in the cosmos. Besides isn’t the particular human (artistic) condition declined to feel uneasy with certainty as well as uncertainty. We all agree that normally the task of the artist is to break towards the outside, to encounter what has previously been unknown, unimaginable, nonexistent. Alongside with the settler and the student s/he ventures into the contemporary. Now, just imagine for a moment what would happen to you in the vacuum of outer space? You alone in the absolute void. Would it feel like extreme neoliberalism, like the dictature of the common? Over there you couldn’t belong to anything but the absolute opposite of yourself – the vacuum of outer space would be your only Facebook friend and your mortal enemy all at the same time. There is nowhere left to break out, congratulations, you have just made to the last level, this is you in the outside and that outside is about to internalize you! The vacuum of outer space is only a metaphor, and no longer actual, not since 50 years. Outer space is now not only imaginable but also conquerable and of no interest to us as an outside. But perhaps the problem with the new is exactly not in the difficulty of finding or inventing it but the unbearable conditions that one might have to face over there. And even more scary if the “over there” is already “here”. If we can claim that the outside no longer is, we should also admit that neither does the inside. Are you feeling dizzy? If politics today is the symptom of the self-determined subject then what kind of subjectivity might the artistic creative agency be the symptom of? As the title of the piece indicates the writer of this piece of article was commissioned to suggest a practice for a hypothetical time in the future when dance productions won’t tour any more, when dance theaters and European networks have disappeared, and how the artist could prepare for a time when there is no more demand for art production as we know it. We could of course imagine such a situation hitting us at some point but we could also admit that it is already here, the worst has already happened. Where is it all? And don’t be illusioned – it will happen again. So you better prepare yourself.

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