Re: STREB (also pretty long)

Robert Wechsler (
Sat, 27 Dec 1997 01:19:18 +0100

Nick, thank you for interesting comments surrounding my letter!

>>I think, it is however somewhat of a slippery slope for all of us working
>>with technology and calling it art.
>Agreed. I guess the issue here is to not get confused between the medium
>and the message. I'm probably going to make myself unpopular here, but I am
>generally suspicious of endeavours which integrate technology with live
>performance. Part of my suspicion arises from the way the funding and
>publicity machines work here in the UK: one seems to get funding, profile
>and soundbites for doing interesting things with technology - the issue of
>whether one has something to actually say with it or not seems almost
>secondary. I have seen so many press announcements and reporters' preview
>articles which wax lyrical about how such-and-such a company is using
>such-and-such a medium integrated with so-and-so, as if content follows
>form (as long as the form is fashionable in the right sort of way).

Your criticism - skepticism - about d/t is not without followers.

Two points concerning disappointment:

Could we imagine a piece where an inovative device or technique is, let us
say, used in an artistic way or context.? where the piece of art is perhaps
not the coolest part of the show, but where the show, nevertheless is
interesting, thought provoking etc. can medium usurp message?

/i mean, i actually tend to agree with you. i am just thinking aloud here./

something, i mean, between a demonstration and a performance.

Why must the line between these two always be so vigorously drawn?
the worst, i think we would agree, is the pretentious.

Second thought:
i think it must be said, some inevitable disappointment
generally awaits most of us (perhaps particularly the "lay" audience) at
dance-tech events, simply because the Expectations are so great.
To drive home the point: everyone has seen MTV. if nothing else.
one might think "Let's so see X. it must be something like those computer
multimedia effects we've seen, _only live_!"

We all only might worsen matters with press releases jumping in ... well,
you know. I have been guilty of it. Not that I lied, but I tried to bring
in more crowd by spinning the "hype" which all by itself hangs around this
You can win people that way, only in some cases to loose them. expectation
plays a lot with our enjoyment of things...

>>And the danger looms larger the larger your budget. in europe where "state"
>>dance companies are incrediby well funded, the result is easy to see.
>Let me add a footnote here - I presume you're referring to Continental
>Europe. In the UK, dance companies and projects are incredibly poorly
>funded, apart from a small number of established (and non-threatening)
>comfortable household names.

Yes, indeed. Your point is well taken.
I am referring mostly to the countries I know: Germany, Holland, Belgium,

>Another thought here: arts funding bodies in the UK are staggeringly
>unimaginative. Any success by a company leads to a situation where the
>funding bodies carve out and project them in a direction where they are
>persuaded to do more of the same, but bigger, rather than switch direction
>or take a creative oblique turn. Arts funding bodies claim to want artistic
>vision from their wards; in reality, they want artistic dependability and
>>When you see the junk flying around europe though, i mean the decent
>>choreographers swept away, lost, to their new toys, hype and tech, then you
>>know only too well whats at stake.
>There's little budget in the UK for toys and tech. But there's plenty of
>hype, since that's cheap. (Right now the British dance paperatzi are on the
>lookout for the Next Michael Clark...) But hype on its own is damaging
> Nick Rothwell, CASSIEL contemporary dance projects
> music synthesis and control
> years, passing by, VCO, VCF, and again, and again

Robert Wechsler and Helena Zwiauer Phone: (49) 911-397472
Palindrome Dance Company Fax: (49) 911-397472
Johannisstr. 42 / 90419 Nčrnberg