PORTRAIT OF A DEAD CHICKEN AS ARTIST

On the Risky Business of Financing Ideas

I remember it well, the shock
It happened in the early nineties
People said they were in residency
I was so jealous
I felt so small compared to them
Since, how did they always manage that
I had never applied for a travel grant
Until I found out that it was all a scam
Air. ArtistInResidence
I was shocked to discover that they weren't paid anything
Just a few facilities
Which the endower boasted about
But wasn't more than the use of staff and space which was superfluous anyway
The worst of it was that you were meant to be happy with this dead chicken
In any case, you were one of the chosen few
They had chosen you for the beautiful role of dead chicken
Could it be a bit cheaper
You shouldn't set up something like that in the business world
They call it exploitation there
Prostitution: the need to let oneself be exploited out of necessity
So far the abuse by dealers in art

And then there's the growing business of expatriation
The result of the perfect interplay between national authorities
Money has to flow. Law number 1 of economic growth
It's best when money flows between countries
Artists, the military and students pave the way for international exchanges and influences or if you wish contamination
They like to get paid to go abroad
Packaged with good intentions
To learn from others
To appease inter-national contacts
Fine people getting together
As if you actually need to go there for that, in that other country
As if you can't just realise
That the other and you aren't different, but the same
But then again it isn't at all about that beautiful goal
It's about getting the money to flow
The home country pays the travel expenses
And the host country pays for the stay
Both countries have travel scholarships for their migrating artists
I'll pay the travel expenses and then you feed them
And, you pay the travel expenses and then I'll feed them
It's the same with the granting of landing rights again and again between national airlines or with the granting of reciprocal tax facilities in tax treaties between countries
Both countries have residencies in buildings which are generally monumental
Quite perverse, in fact
The act of expatriation (staying in residence abroad)
Takes place in monuments which are explicitly presented as typical heritage
In order to really realise that you need to imagine that
The Netherlands, for instance, would oblige all tourists to wear clogs
In the meantime it's a blooming business
Art and artist residency houses
In Europe there are around eighty cultural residencies in historical monuments, castles, cloisters, old industrial and military buildings, and similar ones
The most prestigious of these, and which richly celebrate a patronage,
Not only feed the artists but pay them wages too

It's especially important to cross the border
It's important to awake interest in one another
And thus for one another's products
Don't be so sour, such a sour puss
It's a good thing that the possibility is being offered you
Of getting paid to work elsewhere
And that money is being made available for art is nice too
But there's a bundle of money on that wagon that doesn't end up in art
But in the residence and its organisation
And worse still
And this is where the shoe hurts
It's the residence and its art board which have the power
They're the ones who define who gets in and who doesn't, and for how long
The power is taken out of the hands of art and the artists
And that costs art a lot of money
After a long period of artistic oppression in art schools
The artist can keep up the oppression in the elitist facilities he's been offered,
The oppression which he's in the meantime probably grown addicted to
It's time for a revolution
Money needs to be spent on art
And less on administration and prestigious facilities
By definition, art should cross boundaries
Should be transgressive
When the authorities want to create conditions fir it
But what authority would really want to facilitate the gnawing of its own principles
Let's imagine that the authorities want to create conditions for it
Then it first needs to support and create those facilities
Which help foster change and development
That means, the useless
That means, that for which there doesn't yet exist a conceptual apparatus
That means, the little known
Art should especially be subsidised with risk funds
That means, money that dares to take risks
As is usual in the world of new products and services
That means that ideas and not declarations of ideas are to be subsidised

PAF (PerformingArtsForum) is such an idea
Someone wrote about it:

The impossible impossible performance He staged a building, some kind of historical site he invited his colleagues and friends to stage the site and to direct themselves and to direct it themselves so they did a coming and going of friends and colleagues and friends and colleagues of friends discussing their work discussing proposals of work working working together a platform of exchange of merging of the smoothest way to produce and gain knowledge of experiencing and training of invention a performance a strange performance a permanence He desperately wanted this this reconfiguration We need it, he screamed We have to rethink the positions the undoing of a performance he used to call it this un-split of audience and stage but this is no performance, they screamed, (when he started to ask for subsidies for it as a performance) this is a new initiative, very interesting, but not a performance but I am a director, he said I am staging this it is my work this undoing of the stage this undoing of the audience space the unification, he said and he started to shout: el pueblo unido....... this, he said, is a political performance a change of perspective a historical split undone but still they didn't want to pay for it the endowers they were convinced that this wasn't a performance they knew this wasn't even art either (although they could know that art always should be the exception and not the rule) they only subsided the rule what they could recognize as a performance his building, they said, was a project an initiative, yes, but no performance praiseworthy, yes but not eligible for subsidies not as some kind of art in general, let alone as a performance never mind how many actors were involved how accessible it was for anybody how this facility called theatre had been revisited how this rusty institute called theatre had been displaced reconfigured a serious proposition to revive it emancipate it de-hierarchise it but nothing helped a performance, they said, needs the split between audience and stage a split between those who know (their text) and those who don't a split between the have's and the have-not's a performance, they knew, needed the clear distinction between the included and the excluded the prepared and the not prepared the bored and the curious the teachers and the pupils a performance, they knew, needed hierarchy distinction inequality they excluded him his performance died for him it died for them it never existed this performance the impossible impossible performance the absence of a performance (for them) not for the theatre director and performer himself for him it was a performance a more than live performance a larger-than-life performance this area of exchange and merging compressed condensed a forum for producing knowledge and ongoing discursive practice a tool equal to all participants in the event a tool machine even a tool producing tools
a place for temporary autonomy a theatre at work but not for them they left him out missing again and again this chance of making a difference that really could make a difference this chance to change addicted as they are to what they could recognize to what they think they belong too and to what belongs to them to what is known to them their past rejecting what eventually might have been possible what is unknown to them a possible future that of the probable of the impossible possible• PAF a relatively cheap A relatively light organization, in terms of overhead But unfortunately, not fitting in the formats and frames of the subsidising administration PAF is a platform for and by artists A self-organization of self-motorizing artists Who work on art that thinks A free zone Accessible without application A residency, yes In a historical monument, yes But without a structure, almost More an intelligent process itself Art making alike PAF is an artwork

More information on PAF on the hyperling "www.pa-f.net" www.pa-f.net The 'impossible impossible performance' was exhibited in September/October 2006 in Graz (Austria) during the Festival Steirische Herbst at the exhibition RE-DELEGATING – Archiving performances on the edge of the void.






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