‹anarchy in dance and cucumber high standing›
Dialogue between Clara Saito and Judith Milz
For the dialogue we invited two specialists to develop a special format of sharing, creating, altering, manipulating, and discussing. To initiate a conversation about the evolvement, production, and sharing processes that come along with a certain specialization, we asked to follow several tasks. We also invited to follow, change, and set rules of the communication and hence to use it as a playground: which media should be used? During which period of time and in what kind of rhythm should the dialogue take place? Can a fusion of both specializations take place?
(please scroll down for the artistic videos
‹Wurf aus dem Fenster› and ‹vega cucumba›)
Hello Judith this is Clara, also part of the dialogue project! How is it going?
Just wanted to make a first contact, see what you are up for!
sorry for the late response, should be more specialized in configuring my email account so that it does not take away all my mails from me.
I don’t know yet what I am up for, but one first question came to my mind which would be if you consider yourself being specialized in something or would you also consider yourself an expert?
And then, what does being an expert mean or being a specialist mean or how does it differ? I just thought it was interesting because it seems people are quite antagonized with experts contemporarily (but probably not with specialists).
Your question made me realize that first of all I don’t see myself at all as a specialist in anarchy in dance (which I think would be also quite arrogant to declare oneself) but rather more as a specialist in confusion, inconsistency, cheap philosophy and cheap psychology in performance. For me the difference is that the specialist doesn’t need to be connected to anyone to call themselves a specialist, it is a matter of creating, practicing and getting familiar with your own subject. The expert instead seems to have a different hierarchical status amongst people who practice the same subject. The expert seems to know ‘better’. Maybe in art it doesn’t make sense to be an expert because everybody creates for themselves a unique field of specialization? What do you think?
And you do you feel more like a specialist or an expert of cucumbers and high standing? And how do these two specializations relate, do they complement one another or are worked on separately?
and what do you think about this other cucumber specialist?
so someone else invented you being an anarchist in dance? Thinking about if it would be arrogant to declare yourself a specialist, isn’t the unique thing about being a specialist that you are able to just call yourself one instead of waiting on somebody else to call you a specialist? I’d totally agree with you on the expert being within a hierarchical status amongst others who study the same subject. As a specialist no such thing can happen to you as long as you find yourself a subject that is a) very special in itself or b) very specialized within it’s not very special field. It is a lot simpler being a specialist in something just nobody thinks he knows a lot about, so I think this kind of applies to both my specializations, cucumbers and high stands, and of course, they are combined within my person being empirically involved in both specializations. And: I couldn’t even say I work on them, it feels more as if I lived passionate for doing them and talking about them and building tools that enable the idea of high standing for example. Being an expert or a specialist is a question about how to be conceived as well and about society’s allowance, the expert comes along with quiet another background on information, which acts on a different level of reliability. The specialist relies on himself, which is in my case as you said a matter of self experience and getting familiar with something, as well as it is a matter of course to do so. Also concluding, that I consider myself as a specialist and would not dare to be an expert.
That is why though I’d underline the video you sent from the cucumba man, I would not consider myself as settled in hard facts as much as he is. I know that cucumbers are full of water as instead of drinking water sometimes I ate 5 cucumbers a day as a child. I think he kind of recompiles all the things people say about cucumbers today: They are 95% water, they can be used as beauty treatment and (ever since gin tonic had its renaissance) that you can put it in longdrinks and water quite well, because it is so refreshing. All true, but I think the cucumber lobby has done quite a bad job when it comes to all other kinds of tastes can have. The cucumber in his hand for example, I mean, it is a long distance diagnosis, but just by looking at it I could imagine the taste of it, as it was a rather thin and I could see it by the structure of the surface and its colour. If you are interested in more details about the conclusions that can be drawn from the surface to the taste of the cucumber and the second thing: The taste.
Ever since we began writing I think about how our experience of being a specialist can be transferred. I’d like to learn something or more I’m wondering about how our specialties could be combined. Therefore I need to understand more about performance and what it actually means to be performing, what is the moment when movements or actions change to performance? Or is it a whole question of setting? And then also: inconsistency – I need to know more about those things!
All the best, Judith
I have to think about this art thing. One thing I already know is that there are experts within the art market and that there are experts on art history. Could be that expertise is something that does not apply on art.
as I haven’t received an answer from you (checked all possibilities for you not answering: the mail program did not send the mail (it did), I didn’t receive your answer because it was marked spam (was not), your mail program did not send the email (don’t know), then, less technical: you had no time to answer, you did not know what to answer (rather unlikely), you find no more pleasure in writing with me (but: too early for such an restrictive decision), you broke your arm and can’t write anymore (hopefully not), you participate in another experiment, that forbids you using the internet – and then of course there is always the possibility of organ trafficking that I of course also considered, remembering youth days, honestly, those days waiting for someone to call me and imagining all kinds of broken legs, arms and organ trafficking for the sake of leaving out the possibility just not be called out of no reason.
Here’s the one thing, I wanted to get back to:
‹The expert instead seems to have a different hierarchical status amongst people who practice the same subject. The expert seems to know ‘better’. Maybe in art it doesn’t make sense to be an expert because everybody creates for themselves a unique field of specialization? What do you think?›
I think, the reason expertise doesn’t apply in art, is because, the artist should not know better. He should be good in whatever he does, he can also be quite specialized, but he can never know better, he can only know what he is doing himself. Of course, this could be wish thinking, as I just don’t quite believe in knowing better. I think vice versa, the artist does not need to be specialized, but can be: it can also be something very superficial (in the sense of not being specialized).I hope this email finds you well!
Thanks for coming back to me :) I guess it was more the inconsistent part! I love that you say the artist shouldn’t know better. I agree with you!
So yes someone else proposed this specialty for me and I accepted but then later realized that I didn’t feel I could carry it. I said it would be arrogant because for me anarchy is something very precious and complex and I don’t really know anybody who can call themselves a real anarchist. Maybe I had the chance to meet one though, a friend who rejects every kind of authority in every second of his life. But he also has been all his life in an institution. He is still the freest person I know though.In my case performance start as a question. For example, what is anarchy, what is freedom, what is instinct, what is desire, what are emotions (the cheap philosophy and psychology part…). Then I want to go to the answer without filter and I’m just gonna give myself the parameters to genuinely experienced the question. I talk about inconsistency because for me the frame doesn’t matter, I can put a frame in the beginning but if I go away from answering the question because I am attached to the frame I prefer to change the frame and stay real towards the question. So I very rarely follow my own guidelines. Maybe I’m a purist :)
But I think I could call myself an expert in confusion and inconsistency, not because I know better but because I know less I think. Or because I allow myself to keep on making mistakes. Can you tell me more about high standing? I wonder if there can be a high standing in confusion :)
I agree, that questioning is a good start and that the desire to give answers is much less interesting (except if something is a matter of course for you and you nakedly show that). I would consider high standing as a matter of course to me, beginning with confusion, as standing high is claiming distance, considering surroundings from a higher perspective. Think about your kitchen, fully crowded with people, and then you, getting up on the chair just to get out of the mist of level zero, gaining overview. And also: We understand the objects surrounding us from the perspective of our height, I think you could begin understanding your objects from chair-standing height (as a beginning). If you are standing on a high stand with 3 meter standing height, of course, confusion should not be part of it anymore. Just recently I got very involved with the work of a French artist, Abraham Poincheval, I didn’t know him before. He does all kinds of really good things, one of them was to live on a 20-meter-high platform for 5 days. I have attached a picture of that. I would not do that, and even, it’s something else in a way than what I am interested in, but I see some kind of desire in people to stand high as well, as soon as they see objects that ‘propose’ the stand high (well he is sitting on the picture but you get my point, right).
I think we should start in a way to combine our specialties I will be thinking about a question I would like to ask with the means of performance (Is this expressed right? Is that what you mean?)
So far, Judith
CS: Hey Judith! (…) Maybe it’s because I come from performance but I realized that for me it is difficult to imagine an object as specialization.
JM: but isn’t it possible to consider the object as embodiment of the specialization?
CS: I can’t stop myself linking an action to an object. If I think about the cucumber my brain immediately starts wondering: is it about looking at the cucumber, drawing the cucumber, talking to it, manipulating it in a confuse way, letting it fall, crash it, suck it etc… Now I really would like to dance with a cucumber to understand it better. I think you managed to transfer to me some of your curiosity for it :) Also every Tuesday I have to cut a lot of cucumber in the restaurant where I work. There are two types of them but I don’t remember the names. One is longer and is covered with a plastic that I need to take out first. The second one is shorter and more fat. It’s like the ugly little brother from the tall one. In the restaurant I learnt how to cut them faster. It feels good but I prefer when I manage to slice them with the same width and if I fail it is frustrating. It is also a practice that I try to consciously get better at.
JM: I want to see you dance with the cucumber! Please do it and send it to me. I think it would probably make me understand dancing more. I wholeheartedly enjoyed your cucumber experience in the restaurant. Intuitionally you understood quite a lot about the cucumber I think. What kind of restaurant is it you are working in?
The object of the cucumber of course is linked to action, it is e.g. linked to taste, detectable by certain characteristics making you search for them in the supermarket, making you enjoy the taste of a well found cucumber, making you share it with others etc.
CS: I think I am a bit scared about high standing and about looking at things from a distance. Maybe because I am very short myself. Also I learnt to appreciate my emotional and passionate moments and I fear that looking at things from a distance would cut me from being attached to the world. Maybe that is what I was meaning with this repulsion of this tendency (fashion maybe is a strong word) in art to distance oneself from objects. I feel also in the Western world it is sometimes so easy to forget about the world, to distance oneself and live in this little island. Somehow I often have the opposite tendency, to throw myself in, try to get closer, get touched.
JM: I wonder if looking at things from a distance sometimes brings you closer to what they are about. At least I consider it that way for myself. Is it possible we are talking about different ways of distancing oneself? There are cynical ways in which people can dissociate themselves from their work, but not every mechanism of distance is cynicism.
CS: I understand what you were talking about before, in the crowded kitchen to see it from further you start to understand better and confusion leaves. I see the beauty in that but I want to be fully in the crowded kitchen and deal with it :) I think I was for long time looking at things from a distance but now I want to live and taste everything if I can :) I think it’s funny to see how it is difficult in my mind to separate art and life but maybe you have the same.
JM: I consider it as impossible up from a certain point. It is not because you involve yourself more with it, but because you understand that in a way it is not distinguishable anyway. Still we can talk about it.
CS: Do you apply your work into your life? How do you deal with the crowded kitchen in real life?
JM: In real life, I get up to stand on the chair, if the kitchen is crowded. Which brings me to your question if I apply my work into art. I kind of feel, we are getting to the crucial part now: there is no difference, I do not get on the chair because it is performance time from 4 to 5 pm, I get on the chair because it is the necessary thing to do. I don’t mean that those things are the same, art and life, but I can’t even say something about how one of those things is applied into the other, they are too much interrelated with each other. This leads me to sometimes I was thinking about for a long time. I kind of quit the question, but I was wondering for long what performance should mean, because I didn’t believe in a beginning and an end, I thought, for me, the performance doesn’t start at, as I mentioned, 8 and end at 9pm, it just doesn’t end, it is consistent in every gesture, every day, like standing on the chair, the way you utter your opinion and so on. But I think I have kind of overcome that. Still I would be very interested in your opinion.
CS: I think the photo of this performance was an exercise to go from looking at a confusion at a distance and then entering it. It was maybe a transformative ritual that I put myself into (now that I look at it with a distance :)). It started with practicing anarchy in a safe space inside a theater and then putting this practice in the world and enter the street. One of the last time I did it I got arrested while entering the street while I was doing exactly the same practice than the one allowed inside the theater.
JM: What was it? It is interesting because both, it is a safe space but as well actually to comfortable for what it actually aims at. I was thinking about this framing as well, when you mentioned anarchy, because a theater is a very clear space, can anarchy happen there (and again, what is it then?)Do you have video footage of the work you send the picture of? I would like to see it.
CS: This created a will for me to practice things in real life instead of an allowed space, where I know that people expect something. I have the impression sometimes that all my practices in my art have the goal to actually makemyself become what I want in real life. That the goal is to live and create all the possibilities I dream of in the real life (real life in opposite to performance, I don’t know what is really real about real life though :)).
JM: Please refer to my last question above. If we question were reality begins or ends, I think everything is going just fine. The practice of „artificially“ (whatever that means) bringing new practices into ones life, getting used to it and finally see them seeping through into our hands and brains is indeed quite cool. And really, it opens all possibilities, meaning, that within this thing that you could call art, everything is possible, as hypothesis one could say, but then again, there is no such thing as hypothesis, there is only what we can imagine, thus we can do, thus constituting our lives. It’s a big thing, the substance of what is real and what not and the terms of practice and possibility are quite striking within it, and again, lead to my question what performance is, then.
CS: That is why I was saying that the practices I build serve myself. I don’t know the answers though but every time I put myself in a situation I choose for I understand something new most often that I didn’t expected. That is also why I was saying that it is not so consistent because it might not make sense as a theater form. I feel it is more the slow building of a personal life philosophy or something.
JM: In this sense I am totally with you, those practices serve oneself. I don’t know your age, but with me, I have the impression as the years run by I begin to feel older in this personal life philosophy thing. I mean, still I ask the same questions, but the manner in which I do is changing, and I am trying to get better every day with it.
All the best, Judith
Judith Milz: Wurf aus dem Fenster
Clara Saito: vega cucumba