Re: money = ability

Nick Rothwell (
9 Jan 1998 14:50:47 -0000

> I agree that alot of people in the arts are undervalued by society.
> Low wages are just one aspect of this lack of appreciation.

Sure. On the other hand, perhaps we'd better be grateful that it's
*not* possible to rise to high-profile fame and fortune in dance;
otherwise it would become like the music industry, and we'd be
surrounded by young wannabe's keen to "get signed" and get rich,
regardless of artistic content.

(So: if and when we really push towards application of video and
communications technology for dance performance, will we get to the
stage where the thing we regard as the artwork will be easy to
duplicate, mass-distribute, and sell? And what will happen to our
culture as practitioners if/when this happens?)

> When did the appreciation of art become an exclusively upper or middle
> class activity?

I'm no historian, but I'd put it at several hundred years ago. The
arts have been regarded as things to be appreciated by the upper
classes for centuries, with upper-class patronage to match, while the
poor have always been concerned with survival. To a large extent,
promotion of the arts to the common man is a relatively recent
phenomenon, rather like promotion of education.

> Where does dance and technology fit into their lives?
> What do they care about it?

A more significant question is presumably: where *should* dance and
technology fit into their lives? Unfortunately, art has been
marginalised to a large extent in modern society (by which I'm
thinking of Britain and the US); comparisons with the former Eastern
Europe are probably quite illuminating (although my knowledge is not
first-hand so anyone with direct experience is better suited to

> Man, this must seem ridiculous to some - but what happened to the art in
> everyone's life? Why is it the select elitist few who should make and have
> all the art, and none or little for anyone else?

I wouldn't say that art is *made* by a select, elitist few in the
sense you mean (an economic or social elite) - historically, artists
have often been continuously verging on destitution. There is some
elitism in terms of who gets public support and profile these days;
it's a matter of opinion as to whether this is better now than in the
past or not.

> How unlike the group ecstasy of dithyramb has dance become.

I don't know what this means.

         Nick Rothwell, CASSIEL        contemporary dance projects        music synthesis and control

years, passing by, VCO, VCF, and again, and again