Re: Political rants [was Re: IDAT99 and no budget]

Johannes Birringer (
Fri, 18 Dec 1998 20:27:58 +0000

dear colleagues,

mmmmh, the holiday season makes us all a bit jittery.
I appreciated the political discussion on funding of art at academic
events within the context of US corporate culture (we used to call it
the military-industrial complex).

I am sad to hear that Jean Marc is upset about the insufficient funding
(Richard Povall's response is a good one, to the point), I remember
fighting similar battles not to long ago (Performance Studies conference
in Atlanta in 1996) when I was invited to show a performance but was not
given anything close to adequate logistical and technical (equipment)
support to do the performance, not even a space that could have worked.
I thereupon gave up trying to present new work at universities or
academic conferences. I got a negative response to a performance
proposal also from PSi (next year's International Performance Studies
gathering at Aberyswyth, Wales), saying that they would like to show new
performance works but may not have the facilities (funds) to actually
implement them. Aha.

I will be doing a preconference workshop at IDAT99, and accepted to do
so on the condition that I, as all independent artists should, receive
an artist's fee and travel/accommodation. I asked for a contract to be
It is very likely so that the university cannot provide such fees for
all presenters or discussants and round table participants, since it is
a convention in the US that academic/professional societies or clubs or
departments consider it a privilege for anyone to attend their elite
gatherings, so you pay for the honor of going to the event (meaning:
your home base/university pays you to go there to be be seen so you can
put the being seen on your resume).

You end up with a cluttered resume of forgettable conferences.
I tried to clean up my act as much as I can.

Some conferences (as IDAT99 promises to be) try to break the conventions
and push the boundaries a bit, and we should be grateful for a dialogue
happening at all, political or otherwise. We live in bipartisan times.

best wishes

Johannes Birringer
AlienNation Co.