Does anyone have a copy of Post-dance, the book(*1) they could lend me(*2)?(*3)(*4)
(*1) It’s necessary to say: fuck Post-dance, the book(*a). Fuck the people who organised Post-dance, the book. Fuck the act of publishing and distributing a free book – a gesture of openness and freedom of thought – by a group of people across European contemporary dance who have have developed a position of power(*b) for themselves, centred on their intelligence and intellectualisation. Not that there’s anything wrong with intellectualisation; the issue is in how they’re using it to shape an exclusive aura around themselves and their work. It’s not just the more broad question of who has the luxury of time and formal education to familiarise themselves with dense theory (or the confidence to blag it), but more precisely in this case – who can travel to and hang out at their conferences to physically pick up one of these free books(*d). So fuck this gesture of openness and exchange, of a free book, of a free book with an extremely limited run, when it would be so possible and costless to make the pdf available online. Fuck this abuse of the idea of the book – a symbol for freedom, democracy, empowerment, and traversing borders – by instead reducing it to a cliquey and smug move within a wider self-serving strategy; an abuse which leads me to suspect that a large part of the complexity of the writing and thinking associated with this group is not the exciting kind of inarticulacy that occurs at the borders of understanding (a necessary and positive (in)articulacy of philosophers and artists approaching what they do not yet understand, something to be patiently and generously attended to), but rather an obscurantism – a theatrical mysticism, in order to render oneself more elusive, more special, more knowing – with the accompanying and inverse positioning of the listener as simple, banal and unenlightened.
(*a) ‘Post-dance’ was a conference organised by André Lepecki, Danjel Andersson and Gabriel Smeets in October 2015. Post-dance the book was put together by Mette Edvardsen, Mårten Spångberg and Danjel Andersson, published and distributed in March 2016 as a limited edition.
(*b) To be clear: I’m all for artists establishing power. Each generation of artists face the challenge of articulating and contextualising their practices such that nothing becomes something; to realise the previously unimaginable, and in doing so to question existing powers, institutions and values. But the question is always about how we’re establishing this power – who is included, and who is threatened.(*c)
(*c) And let’s not pretend this piece of writing does not perform its own power-play, carries its own ambitions.
(*d) Why draw the line here, and not before? We might note that this is the point at which I get excluded.
(*2) And I mean, obviously – fuck me too! For buying into their game and validating their position by still wanting to read their fucking stupid and doubtlessly gorgeous book. This appeal (even with these footnotes) legitimises and reinforces their position.
(*3) I originally wrote this around September 2017 to post on Facebook – hence the public request format – but forgot about it. It was only in December when H, unprompted, lent me a copy of it that I remembered this at all. So without any reason to actually post this anymore, on revisiting it I still quite like it, so will put it here for the minute. I’m also enjoying the book too.
(*4) Thanks E, A and H for helping me think through this.