PRODUCTION AS CROSS-BORDER PAEDAGOGICAL PROJECT AND BRILLIANT WORK OF ART
A trap even
works when one is forewarned. It only has to follow a non-institutionalised
logic. After the presentation of "SWEAT – the movie", the result of a
"choreographer's venture" by Mårten Spångberg with Tor Lindstrand of the art
label "International Festival", the mood in the audience was a bit peevish. A
young, talented and utterly unconservative choreographer even thought that the
film was a pain in the ass.
audience which filled the Kasino at Schwarzenbergplatz to the last seat had
consisted almost entirely of dancers, choreographers and paedagogues who were
present at ImPulsTanz. And they all had been in high spirits before the film
started. For "International Festival" had pulled out all the stops in order to
promote the product as spectacularly as possible. Not only had the film been
produced in the run-up; an attention machine had been geared up too, big talk
uttered, rumours launched.
motion picture within four weeks, three minutes had to be completed every day.
It should have been ninety minutes, in the end it became a hundred and ten
minutes. The first dance film ever produced entirely during a festival,
fabricated by people who were anthing but professional filmers – and so on. The
title was painted on sidewalks and posters held high before festival
performances, there were T-shirts and stickers. Before the "SWEAT"
presentation, the danceWEB coaches DD Dorvillier and Trajal Harrell heated up
the audience's mood, and festival director Karl Regensburger in person added
more fuel to the flames. Confetti flying, pre-emptive cheering, applause,
growing impatience – and then: the film.
A work dilettantishly
created with such fervour that Fritz Ostermayer, the great Austrian exegete of
dilettantism, would have broken out in tears of emotion if he had made it to
the presentation. With trashy sound, enthusiastic lay acting, daring cutting,
fragmented suspense, minimal light, delightfully plunked down props and a
firework of pseudoistic dialogues, projected onto an undulating silver screen,
"SWEAT" swatted all expectations. As if Apple after a big campaign had put a
painted cardboard iPhone on the market and thus tried to foil the strategies of
In this way
"International Festival" implemented a provocation which among other things was
built on the following parameters: 1) a work of art in the disguise of a
paedagogical project; 2) utilisation of an extended meaning of art by defining
the process of film production as dance; 3) creation of a performance which
through the choreography of teasers included the act of public relations; 4)
implementation of the presentation system "festival" in the artistic work; 5)
generation of a spectacular dispositive and critique thereof via the
predictable disappointment of the (expert) public intoxicated by promotion.
against the invincible spectacle has long attained a level where its own
methods are thrown back in its grinning visage. Jérôme Bel has done it ("The
Show Must Go On!"), Superamas do it, even Xavier Le Roy worked on it ("Le Sacre
du printemps"), Mette Ingvartsen goes through with it, likewise Alice Chauchat – and they all are campaigning against the spectaculisation of art in
contemporary choreography. But without doubt the most consequent is Mårten
Spångberg, who as early as middle of the 1990s has repeatedly challenged the
formula of "fame" in all of his numerous activities: as choreographer, dancer,
theoretician, curator, live artist, tutor, project producer, communication
virtuoso and as "stage hog" calculating with that role.
"SWEAT – the movie" had to become a bad film – otherwise, the performance which it
actually was about would have been a failure. Besides, "International Festival"
worked sensitively and lovingly with all those who took part. None of the
participants was slated, but all of them shared the responsibility. Therefore
the whole project, although paedagogical, was in no detail "didactic". And thus
an artistic highlight on the basis of an ethics without compromise.
(August 26, 2008)