Created on Wednesday, 11 January 2012

It's two weeks now that I had to leave Goldegg the day before the meeting ended.

There was not much time to ponder (I premiere my next show tomorrow night), but still, some occasion for reflection.

Not only from the close look that I had the occasion to take during the days in Goldegg, but also from a little distance (locally and timewise), the meeting as I have experienced it has been a great success. A smooth flow of events, people seeming to have discovered the miracle of bilocation and participating at all of the simultanously programmed events, a relaxed atmosphere of encounter and colloquy.

However, I want to communicate one other strong feeling, too. It concerns the concentric circles in which a rather hermetic discourse takes place, a discourse led by theoreticians, dramaturgs, curators and venue managers, slowly but truely roping in also the performers and the works.

I personally find a danger in that. How very rare have performances become that do something with us, that tell us something, that give an existentially convincing reason for happening at all? And how so many performances are shown all over the place, after months of rehearsals, as "work in progress", in complete arbitraryness, gratuitous, baseless?

You can easily observe how fast the public, in by far most of the cases an extremely well-meaning public, turns away, and is lost for a long time: Talking about the "external" public, not the step by step more hermetic core of a specialised public that starts to take part also in the inner circles of discussion.

This specialisation can be well watched also in the texts accompanying this type of percormance. You will always find quotes by Bergson, Heidegger, the french murmurers like Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze (who themselves quote a lot of german murmurers like the mentioned Heidegger: in German!!!, inmidst their french texts) and the like, and you will always find a terminology as far away of ordinary talk as possible (mostly without reason for this distance) and very often fiercely inconsistant. Examples? Here you go: "An expedition to the in-between zones. It is a departure into virtual landscapes, in which the body dissolves at the same time as becoming an event where lastingness and transience equally drive forward."

And this is enforced by reviews that feel obliged to use this same strange slang - such closing and locking up the concentric circles, the mazes in which - as I strongly feel - a large part of performative arts deal with nothing else any more than themselves.

Maybe this is part of the reason for many of the theses and questions in the discussions that I have witnessed in Goldegg: Phrases like "How to find a way out of the closet", or "Are performative arts biting their tales since 10 years?" - a question that has been answered: "No, since 30 years"... Quite often a quite existential fear could be felt, and sometimes straightforwardly outspoken, that performative arts are nothing more than stewing in their own grease.

I would not be that radical - but I am, to be clear, not member of that inner circle. Performer, yes, but in a quite different scenery. However, I am quite sure that a terminological downscale, a clarification and simplification of language and concepts is desperately required. Do not let neither artists nor curators nor journalists hide themselves behind a slang that has become empty and meaningless, misusing this kind of a language also for defining the frontiers of an exclusive circle, an elite - another term quite heavily discussed in Goldegg.

Let me give you a few more impressions of the meeting, as a memory of nice days spent together.

Looking forward to seeing you again - chr

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.