The ignorant choreographer

ignorant choreographer


On delegated authorship, active collective dispossion and distributed responsility in dances made by groups. On dance as an expression rather than as an expression of something else.


Recently, my friend told me about a musician who writes symphonies by composing each and every one instrument separately, as in not in relation to the voices of the other instruments. This composer does not know or care for 
controlling what the music as a whole will sound like when put together, when experienced in relation. Instead of predicting, this person goes with one thing at a time and lets the piece appear as a whole. Since it is one and the same person writing all the instruments, they are most likely written out of similar criteria, habits or intentions. This could be a little bit like a group dance, but in a group dance, each contribution, each voice is written by a different author.

Imagine an instruction or some criteria for production of movements making up a dance. It could be a way of orginizng a space, a praotocoll for decision making and does not have to be about what it looks like. In other words, try to imagine an instruction that could produce exrepssion that the writer of the instruction could not even imagine. As if the choreographer would do her job and then leave the room and let the dance be produced by the dancer. A handing over of the parameters that make the dance something else than whatever. This is not the same as a choreographer leaving and then coming back to make final decisions about what is in the show or not. This choreographer is really ignorant, and when it leaves the room it means it – it is an act of dispoessions, of handig over, of letting go of control, letting the chips fall where they may.

Imagine many dances taking place in the same space, making up a bigger dance, that belongs to nobody. Authorship is dissolved – the whole is bigger than the parts, the whole is like a common, the whole is for no single one only to control or evaluate, no one who knows what this dance is supposed to be like. The dance is not a means to express a story, is not a tool for self-expression. The dance is that dance, and it is its own end, not a means to any other end. By allowing imitation but also initiation our understanding of dance is (as it is being made public) being transformed. There is competences, skills, abilities to practice, to improve to make the dance more articulate, diverse and rich in nuance but the dance as such, as a thing, is exactly what it is.

This group dance is not do whatever you want, but a handing over of the instructions, of the criteria, of the parameters of one specific dance, of the principles for organization and production of movement that creates this dance. Consider this as way of creating freedom from the dictatorship of taste and intuition. At least from the taste and intuition of the master choreographer in charge, or the controller, the evaluator. Consider this closing off options an invitation to collectively commit to a demarcated thing, allowing for dissensus, allowing different approaches and takes on it. A collective commitment for a demarcated about of time.

Consider intuition as the fastest assimilation of everything you already know, everything you already learnt. If there is any truth to that, which doesn’t seem all that unreasonable, it is strange to consider how artistic intuition would be better than reasoning, logic or a whole team of artists working through the same organizing principles. By sharing the criteria, each participant, each dancer, each co-author evaluate hirs own contribution, or maybe prefers not to but have the possibility. This means the dependence on someone else to learn more about dancing is gone. The Emancipated dancer might play for the same team as the absent choreographer.



Someone once said “Art is whatever you can get away with”. Another artist once gave the advice “learn the rules so that you best know how to break them”. A third other someone once said “Whatever I say is art is art”. That was funny because the person that said the latter, happened to be extremely famous and important in art history, because of a piece of art that was most probably submitted not by this person, but by the lover of the person. The lover of the person thought that the art club had stupid parameters of quality and therefore sent in a thing found in a bathroom. The thief-author named the artwork “The fountain.” This is funny to me because the idea of authorship and ownership gets very confusing considering maybe the act of naming or claiming or rather stealing authorship as making. In our times, when different social media platforms can be said to encourage us to present ourselves through our choices the idea of choosing as making gets exciting. Since the beginning of what has been called “the affluence society” in the west, choosing is important in building one’s persona, one’s identity, label or unique selling points. I´ll tell y’all why I think this is mega important: the art market function within a capitalistic system where artworks are commodified and artists or artist groups or companies function similarly to “exclusive fashion”. The amount of work put into the product, or the “quality” of it is not of importance for the market. More important are world famous names, functioning as big labels and having someone with a lot of prestige telling people and writing about that art or posting pictures of it on Instagram. Or pictures of the face of the artist because faces are always more likeable on Instagram. Likeability is important. Some people is of the opinion that this means that the quality of art is going down. A strong argument for this is that one needs to risk social belonging to dare to do great art. The probably strongest argument for that this system is completely worthless is the idea of that it is that capitalism is fair and equal. Privileges are inherited to a very big extent, and even if social mobility is increasing as claimed by many, one can tell from the “big names” in contemporary art, that socio-economic and definitely historical and systematic circumstances decides who gets there to a bigger extent than “talent” and “quality”. A good point is who cares about the art market? But since capitalism is functions through the circulation of values and one need to reproduce oneself within this, one can say that it is relevant because it decides who has the right to make a living meaning spending most of one’s time and energy on art.


The idea of talent within art is amazing. Most people that I know that are considered talents are people that breaks rules or invents new and better ways to cheat or convince. This is nicely illustrated by the opening quote. Talent is connected to quality and quality is floating within art. Proof for this can be found in art made during wartime functioning as propaganda, art painted in churches design to instill respect, maybe fear and the idea of the greatness of God. This might be compared to things like “the black square” or “The fountain” or “Touch sanitation”. In “Touch sanitation” the author shook hands with all sanitation workers in New York. The author also wrote an amazing manifesto in which question are asked about the relationship between reproduction and life’s dreams. Reproductive work has since the beginning of capitalism been made invisible since it is not paid, and therefore not visible in statistics or the gross national product. One can take a pause and consider the consequences of that. Can it also be so that many artists work is made invisible or not considered art for the same reason?


Some artists use art to express themselves, sometimes called self-expressive art. One very famous artist once hired an actor to talk about the works in a museum. When caught in the action, the author replied something like “the actor was simply much better at performing myself than I am”. The same artist also at one point came to Stockholm and the museum of modern art to see an exhibition of their own work. One artwork included shiny silver balloons that hovered close to the ceiling. In the exhibition in Stockholm, the responsible people could not find balloons like this, so instead they had filled plastic bags with air. They were lying on the floor. The author of the original artwork then said “wow that is so much better than anything I could ever have thought of”. This can be considered a successful example of transcreation. A translation that includes destructive and creative acts or elements. Some people like to distinguish art from design, meaning art is “useless” for anything else than being art, and design being made to make us like something. Other people claim that there is political art and unpolitical art, while others say that all art like everything else always is political, and that there is a big difference between making artwork about something political as a theme, and considering the specific politics of the methods, modes of production, product and proposed logic of an artwork. It’s complicated.

–ES, 15:54, June 30, 2015



  1. It is said that for a revolution to succeed, one needs to have the farmers on one’s side. This is probably especially true today, since there is very little commons available to make a living on. Say for example that one would not agree with ones working conditions. In order to protest, to not agree with the demands, one would need another way to make a living. If one was generally against the idea of a society where work is considered the most important part and against the idea of working for money, wanting to work purpose driven instead of incentive driven, this would be difficult. Without the means to reproduce oneself, it is very difficult to try to exit. Exit in this context refers to a concept proposed by Paulo Virno, as a strategy to not agree to the proposed conditions, and stop the endless spiral of self-exploitation that the neoliberal ideology produces. Silvia Federici writes about women’s movements claiming public space to grow vegetables and commonly own resources that otherwise are profited upon by singular corporations or individuals.


Clean air might be a common that is in danger, if one takes into consideration that water used to be a self-evident common but now are sometimes commodified and profited on, and the fact that it is difficult to make people responsible for what can not be profited upon (or at least that is how I understand it).  There have been attempts to create commons through the internet, for example Wikipedia or the idea of copyleft. According to some economist, a new form of power is growing. It is a participatory power. From sharing content, blurring the border between producer and consumer, the next step is co-owning. There are also a lot of co-operatives forming, maybe as a response to the imposed entrepreneurship and outsourcing, or in response to the insanity that one can make a lot of money on having money, meaning capitalism as such functions as accumulative of capital. The rich getting richer through investments and interests.


The idea of basic income might be a way to consider the state’s resources a common, that should be evenly distributed so that nobody have to live on the streets. If we for a second consider that in the beginning of capitalism, people randomly claimed ownership over land and then offered people to work there so that they could profit on the labor, I say it doesn’t seem crazy at all.

–ES, 16:42, July 3, 2015



  1. Physical touch can not happen through a screen. While watching for example a horror movie, you might get a so to speak visceral experience, and a strong emotional response to the imagery. But you are neither being touched or touching what is shown on the screen.


A comedian was once asked why hir didn’t want to give his kid a smartphone. The reason for this was that kids are mean, and when they for example write to another kid that this kid is fat, the kid will not see the emotional response on the other kids face. This means that the kid will not realize that it is inflicting pain, which makes it more difficult to become a loving, sensitive, empathic human being. IRL, this information would be accessible. One can maybe even ruminate that the kid might become more prone to violence. The comedian  also bring up the expression “letting sadness hit you like a truck”, as the major reason for the non-touchy way of “socializing” on the internet. Never really alone, but not so often actually in physical contact.


Touch can often be perceived as connected to shame, fear of rejection and issues around consent. Those are extremely serious issues. Shame has traditionally according to me been a strong motivator within dance education. Sometimes I feel like I live life swimming through an ocean of shame. Through shame and compliments people of power (often teachers) compare and value people. Comparing people or their performances at an everyday basis, most oftenly makes them feel like shit or make them become autoaggressive, which presents itself as for example burnout, depression, anorexia, ortorexia and so forth. Very often extremely strong norms are developed, sometimes openly, sometimes less outspoken but nonetheless very present. It might concern age, ability, body constitution, weight or other factors.


There has been research on orphans and animal babies, showing that human beings as well as animals dies without physical contact with a caretaker, even when in a safe space and given essential nutrition. Touch is also an important part of comforting someone’s crying for many people. Touch releases endorphins which makes people happy. Touch is a way of communicating that sometimes can feel both richer, stronger, hotter, more complex and delicate than other modes of interaction.


There is a certain kind of duvet for people that can not stand to be touched. This duvet is heavy, to create a pressure against the body, since pressure is important for the wellbeing of humans and normally received through.


Sometimes within dance people talk about the haptic gaze, meaning a gaze that touches. The tactile touch is however always in close proximity. Even so, our experience of proximity are, like everything else, formed by socio-economic history and maybe biology. For example, the idea that “the self” is in the heart or in the brain, might make us feel very far away from the floor. When touching someone one has to be so close, that one probably also will perceive the smell of another body/thing/animal/plant.


The saying to “feel touched by” something, or “that is touching”, I find intriguing hints to the importance and amazingness of touch. Many forms of healing, including physical therapy, massage, cranial-sacral therapy and probably also other forms of healing that I am not familiar with, includes tactile touch. Touch seems to be connected not only to desire, pleasure, sexuality, and orgasm, but also to healing! Touch can also evoke feelings of safety, being protected, or of friendly appreciation.


One can also touch to measure, investigate or validate one’s own muscles, an object, thing or animal in the universe, or one’s own skin. One can also touch another human being to underline that what one is saying is seriously important, or that what one is saying is a part of flirting with the person.


Holding hands is a form of touch between humans that in some spatio-temporal spaces have been very codified. Tactile touch between humans can include squeezing, pushing, pressing, giving weight, rubbing, caressing, licking, kissing, fucking, spooning, and many more words but English is not my native language so I would most probably misspell them. Touching often doesn’t take place in public spaces when people don’t know each other. While in some spatio-temporal spaces like in some dance classes, touch can happen without drama or social or political punishment. Even without shame.


Reading newspaper about dead or dying humans almost daily, it is common to distance oneself. The texture of the newspaper is nothing like a real body. If screens remove empathy, it might be connected with the fact that it does not include touch (also doesn’t include smell). Maybe the de-sentisitivization that is needed in the world for the structural, historical, socio-economic violence to persist is that distancing. The lack of touch and the trained ability to distance oneself – to feel less.

–ES, 17:00, July 3, 2015



  1. “Get going and call it dancing” –Deborah Hay.

–ES, 16:18, July 3, 2015

(cf. art; contemporary dance, competitive dance)

Manifesto for Maintenance Art

  1. Manifesto for maintenance Art is the most important art manifesto in the history of the world. It can be found as a pdf on the internet. You may find it by using google, but since about 40% or more of all internet traffic happened through pages owned by google, it could be worthwhile to try out the search engine duckduckgo instead, which does not save all your personal information. The personal information data collected by google is so massive, that they are the first ones to know when diseases break out, or new trends are born. Many people know about the expression “ask google” as a standard answer to all questions. I myself use it oftenly (often+frequently). Google is in the Swedish standard wordlist. This is crazy, since chocolate is in, not O’boy, which is the most famous brand of it in Sweden. Google is a search engine and a major power player in our society. It is as if google has replaced the public space. Sometimes, it is claimed that internet is all about democracy and can be a tool for democratization. There are many things to be said about this, an important one being that internet have empowered some people in political struggles. Even so, it was invented by the military and has definitely also been used for economic and political purposes against “the people.” It has probably also transformed many humans existence in radical ways. The line between consumer and producer is sometimes blurred through the internet. More people have the means to produce for example music or make public their writings, films and so on. Most often the illusion of that one can publish or share whatever one wants is not really true, due to economic and political issues like for example copyright.

–ES, 15:56, July 1 (Canada day), 2015



  1. Sometimes people confuses tired with lazy. When feeling lazy, ask yourself those questions before you have any sensations of guilt: did you get enough sleep? Did you get enough rest? Do you have enough self-compassion? Are you comparing yourself to others, whose conditions and histories you have no idea about?

–ES, 16:35, July 2, 2015


Letting sadness hit you like a truck

  1. Letting sadness hit you like a truck is a quote by a comedian describing the negative effects of our use of technology in everyday life. According to Louis CK, with social media we are never really alone, which means we never let sadness hit us like a truck, which is very important. I imagine it including lots of crying and then after, hugging. I once heard Beyonce saying when she feels like this she just wants to have sex with her husband.

–ES, 16:15, July 1, 2015


Long distance friendship

  1. As a freelancer within the field of dance and choreography, one often ends up changing geographic position every so often. Most freelance artists are sort of nomads. Sometimes a group of people keep on meeting each other on different locations because they are programmed by the same festivals. Sometimes temporary groups or families dissolve because everybody needs to go get the next project going or at least write an application. Then social media, most commonly Facebook or Instagram becomes an alternative to stay in touch. This “staying in touch” actually means no touching at all. Facebook doesn’t do tactile contact. Facebook also doesn’t do hugging, body heat, kissing, sex, body language or smells.

–ES, 16:33, July 1, 2015



Long distance friendship

  1. As a freelancer within the field of dance and choreography, one often ends up changing geographic position every so often. Most freelance artists are sort of nomads. Sometimes a group of people keep on meeting each other on different locations because they are programmed by the same festivals. Sometimes temporary groups or families dissolve because everybody needs to go get the next project going or at least write an application. Then social media, most commonly Facebook or Instagram becomes an alternative to stay in touch. This “staying in touch” actually means no touching at all. Facebook doesn’t do tactile contact. Facebook also doesn’t do hugging, body heat, kissing, sex, body language or smells.

–ES, 16:33, July 1, 2015



Observing dance The head of the MFA program New Performative Practices in Stockholm once told me that whenever she goes to a dance performance and strongly dislikes it, she tries to hide behind a pillar or another person, not to get kinesthetically influenced by it.

Imagined art practices in the future

  1. The construction of a virtual persona through for example Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the need for unique selling points in funding applications and extraordinary creativity and team-spirit frequently requested by employers can be considered to build for a strong focus on the self, the individual and the individual’s ability to market, promote and network oneself. Because of this, in combination with the effect screens and nomadic, entrepreneurial lifestyles and precarious living conditions have on our life, maybe art practices will be about other things than the self, originality, creativity and self-promotion. Maybe they will be more like a massage session or a place to cry together, a group therapy session or a slow-dance disco? Maybe they will be more awesome than anything I can imagine. Maybe they will include sleep, drugs and choir-singing.

–ES, 17:53, July 1st 2015

(cf. disaster; labour)



  1. Recently some kind of master of Meyerholds biomechanics proclaimed in a workshop: “I don’t believe in authentic. I think it’s stupid. I believe in good and bad. And in what works.”

Taste can possibly be thought of as something similar to intuition. Some people say intuition is the fastest assimilation of everything you ever learnt. Sometimes it seems like taste functions a bit like fashion, you don’t feel influenced and you might remember you used to think it looked stupid, but you are now wearing it and feeling hot.


It could be interesting to think of taste in relation to style, training, method, convention, commons, identification, conformity, normativity, memory, inequality and the psychological concept of conditioning. Like why are there so many women dressed in white to look innocently sexy in movies. Or why does men most often have weight on both legs in commercials, while women often have an uneven distribution of weight? Or why does “feminine” equal rich, white, skinny, turned out and 16 year old at the Opera ballet house? And why does she want to kiss with a pale prince in tights? Why do people say sorry when they cry?


It could also be of interest to consider “chosen truth seeks affirmation” and the idea that our perception always is selective.


It could also be of internet so consider its relation to quality, and how the two might float side by side. Like how most people don’t like whiskey, beer and coffee when they grow up, but later feel like they cannot live without it.

–ES, 16:22, July 2, 2015