Kunstenpunt vroeg de in Brussel wonende en werkende performer en performancemaker Eleanor Bauer (US) om een nieuwjaarsboodschap te brengen op de avond die het vorige dinsdag 24 februari 2017 heeft georganiseerd in het Brusselse Beurskafee.
Eleanor Bauer werkt op de raakvlakken tussen choreografie, dans, tekst, muziek en performance. Haar stukken variëren in omvang en gebruikte media en richten zich op het ter discussie stellen van categorieën, productiemethoden en manieren waarop over een voorstelling gedacht wordt.
De volledige tekst wordt hier gereproduceerd met vriendelijke toestemming van de auteur.
I have been asked to write you a letter about what I’d wish for you in 2017. Seems like a pretty broad and open task, and maybe that’s a good place to start: with an open mind.
I guess recent years have rendered art, its makers, and its keepers, a little shaky, and perhaps worried about the future. I can’t will or wish that away, because there is no guarantee that the extenuating circumstances will get any brighter, struggle we may to preserve what we care for. What is certain is that what we build from within any circumstances, as art, allows for exceptional experiences that can rupture the norm and transform the possible.
As we move forward in uncertain times, I would like to remember that uncertainty is one of our realms of expertise, and a state in which many of our skills shine. So maybe for some of us, my 2017 wish list for the arts sounds more like a reminder of what we already know how to do best, which is the good news.
In any case, dark times call for bright minds, strong hearts, and vivid dreams. Use ’em or lose ’em.
Here it goes:
I wish for art, here and everywhere, to continue to be made possible through the vigilant passion and principled commitment of people working together, especially when and where nobody asks for it.
I wish for art, here and everywhere, to continue to make sharing the world with others possible.
I wish for art, here and everywhere, to continue to be a means to practice different ways of being together.
I wish for art, here and everywhere, to continue to be a means to practice different ways of seeing, hearing, speaking, feeling, thinking, doing, understanding, of appearing and disappearing, of moving and being moved, of making sense and nonsense. Because where else than in the arts is all of that possible, and all at once?
I wish for art makers — and by art makers I mean the millions of beings, things, and relations that make art possible, and that includes all of you — I wish for art makers to continue to challenge the world we live in by being unyielding, uncensored, and unashamed critics and mirrors for reflection.
I wish for art makers, here and everywhere, to continue to assimilate knowledge from fields beyond our own and from life beyond our field in our becoming savvy, adaptive, and beguiling survivors of unusual times.
I wish for art makers, here and everywhere, to continue to set examples for other fields than our own and for life beyond our field in stubborn experimentation, radical inconsistency, sustainable vulnerability, proud heterogeneity, and habitual celebration of misfits and anomalies.
I wish for art makers, here and everywhere, to continue to hold wide open real space and time for doubt, critique, questions, and problems, not to be tidied up, quieted down, or brushed aside.
I wish for art makers, here and everywhere, to continue to demonstrate, without having anything to prove, the absolute necessity of artistic practice as crucial to progress in the world at large by continuing to question the givens, usurp the status quo, create opportunities for collective wonder and common dreaming, and by insisting day after day, project after project, piece after piece, meeting after meeting, pitch after pitch, again and again, that another world IS possible.
I wish for art makers, here and everywhere, to aggressively de-colonize our spaces, our institutions, our projects, and our pieces, by relentlessly diversifying our ideas of who is an artist, what is an audience, and where is the public.
I wish for art makers and every one else to discover for ourselves a most profound understanding of the word “solidarity,” by practicing it, bravely, consistently, and in all possible moments in all possible corners of society.
I wish for art makers and everyone else to understand that the hardest person to drop our guards against, to question our judgement of, and to challenge the preconceptions of, might be our closest friend, family member, or colleague. I wish for art makers and everyone else to understand that the hardest person to drop our guards against, to question our judgement of, and to challenge the preconceptions of, might be ourselves.
I wish for art makers and everyone else to be doggedly determined in guarding against our own assumptions, in challenging our own prejudices, and in questioning our acceptance of privileges.
I wish for art makers and everyone else to fully grasp and behave according to the concept that all of us — from the most mainstream glitter-blooded sellout to the most hardcore radical squatter of the margins, from the directors of the biggest institutions to the interns of the smallest organizations, from the preservationists to the innovators; all the practitioners, creators, educators, students, scholars, critics, curators, administrators, producers, audiences, amateurs, dilettantes, and professionals alike — all of us are part of an interdependent ecosystem in which whether we prosper or perish depends on our ability to stand together.
I wish for art makers and everyone else to fully grasp and behave according to the concept that whether the world — including but not limited to the art world — progresses, depends on each one of us individually to wilfully move each other forward.
By defending the vibrant heterogeneity of the art world, and the world at large, by supporting one another’s differences, by caring for one another’s conditions, and by making things possible for each other as persistently as we work to make things possible for ourselves, we can and will continue to make this shit survivable, and be leading agents in the creation of a world worth living in.