While I was wandering in my lederhosen across the alps of western Yunnan, Arts Victoria announced they would not be funding the performance of hell. I wasn’t particularly surprised. More importantly it marked the end of me begging for small change in Australia, and the end of me making performance as an independent choreographer and all that entails. It’s quite liberating to no longer participate in the rather cruel circus of Australian Art, it’s just a shame that the perpetrators of such an eviscerated culture still remain in existence.
I’ve made it very clear in the past what I think of government funding organisations, and strongly believe that the single worst thing to happen to the arts in Australia, far more malodorous than the self-professed anti-elitist and anti-art ultra-conservative Howard government is the spinelessness of these arts organisations to stand up to this relentless federal onslaught.
Irrespective then, of my personal aesthetic opinions of any company’s or artist’s work, the last thing I want is less art. The decision to cease funding Dance Works which has precipitated its closure after 23 years is the singular most despicable event to visit my return to Melbourne, and the most vulgar humiliation of artists in Australia since Australia Council broke New Media Arts on the wheel and began offering triage. The almost complete lack of outrage or media coverage displays a hopeless, numb resignation to the demise of art in Australia, the successful conclusion to a generation of Orwell’s boot stamping on the face.