“…and when terror strikes just take a deep breat…

“…and when terror strikes just take a deep breath and remember that life is just one long learning experience. Nothing, no mistakes, disasters or oppositions lasts forever. I am now old enough to know this. Wish I had understood it when I was a young artist.”

email to me, 18 May, 2007, Hilary

yes, i know …

I do feel remiss at not blogging. Really. Every day I think, “Oh get it together!”. But after three years of almost daily attention, it has been nice not to think about what I shall write today. My writing and intimacy with language has slumped though. From next week I think I will be slightly more settled, and so … a resumption. Perhaps.

Things happening, dancing and falling over, new friends and old ones, birthdays aplenty, possible adventures here or in China … daily missing home though (that is to say Europe). Things worth blogging about. It is after-all in no small measure a journal, an “I was here” … somewhere.

blog holiday

I’m taking a short holiday from blogging. I’ve been writing almost constantly for the last couple of weeks, and most of March even, and have a couple more funding and residency applications to do this month, and … I don’t have much to say here. It’s all a bit boring really, get up eat breakfast walk to class dance (yay!) go home write eat write eat write eat stare at wall eye pain feelings of inadequacy shower sleep repeat.

poor excuse for absence of blog

Most of this week will involve occasionally staring at the housing commission flats a couple of streets north of here. I’ve settled myself in the lounge so working doesn’t feel so much like work. The unfortunate side-effect of being manacled to my laptop in a rather overwhelming couple of weeks of grant writing is that my body gets all screwed up, so when I go to dance, it’s like I’ve been in a car crash and my coordination is all murky and alien feeling.

So amidst four big (one finished, one mostly finished, one mostly started, one toyed with) applications due this week, and another five due by the end of April, none of which I’ll mention by name out of superstitious certainty I won’t be successful if I do … actually I’m not especially hopeful either way, I’m fairly sure the honeymoon is over, I’m no longer a bright emerging artist or enfant terrible, more like a geriatric mediocre with accompanying mid-career slump … what I meant to say is blogging will be slim.

I did get quite excited today when I discovered the State Library of Victoria has an original print of Robert Hooke’s Micrographia from 1665. The collection on the period of the Age of Reason and all my current favourite philosophers is quite substantial and … ja, so I say too much already, I’d love to spend three months at the library just reading these people, the privilege to share their world is something quite profound.

Gifts of chocolate, love, massages, shoes, or underwear from Agent Provocateur all appreciated.

distracting view through the window
distracting view through the window
robert hooke – micrographia
robert hooke – micrographia

anna in space

My darling Anna, whom I first met at DanceWEB in Vienna 2003 and spent a few weeks post-inferno enjoying the stadt with her and traveling together to Salzburg to stay with her grandmother. Then in Zürich in 2005 again we both chanced to be in the same city. More afternoons in cafes and playing with dance, rehearsals in Tanzhaus, evenings around Gessnerallee.

Since then she has been on many adventures and now has started blogging. Anna is a beautiful, poetic writer, reading her words is like being with her hearing her speak. Perhaps considering how all my friends know who Anna is from me talking, and the not few mentions I have made of her here, I should wait a while. But she is a crazy beautiful genius who makes the world a better place.

anna tenta
anna tenta

i want your dance

Last year Bare Bones came to Melbourne to work with Roz Warby. What was intriguing for me was not the choreography, but who they were, where they came from (Adelaide), what possessed them to get their asses to Melbourne to do this, a whole collective coming here for weeks.

Now John Jasperse has been in town for a couple of weeks from New York working with Becky Hilton and Jodi Melnick on Becky, Jodi and John, and there’s this whole New York element to the contemporary dance scene in Melbourne – Phillip Adams, Lucy Guerin as well as Becky that doesn’t get mentioned a lot but is largely responsible for the look and style in town for the last several years.

Another recent arrival – again – is Frieder Weiss, who did the interactive lighting for Chunky Move’s Glow, and is here for another project that I don’t really know much about. And that’s the point.

All this dance never gets mentioned in the media, no reviews, interviews, paragraph fillers, and all this gets talked about in rather vague at best word-of-mouth. But this, far more than the performances that do get reviewed by virtue of budget, publicist, reviewer, magazine space, is the ecosystem of the contemporary dance scene in Melbourne. And if it goes, passes on with no real record of its presence, then, as my friend Paul the film makers likes to say, “if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen”.

I’ve been thinking for a while about having conversations with various people I know in the dance scene, just talking about their work, what they’re into, not necessarily about any impending performances that are usually necessary to acquire space in a newspaper or magazine. I was also thinking about these three different groups of artists and that I want to know what they’re doing.

So, I sent out an email today to everyone I could think of in the Melbourne dance scene, opening up supernaut to whatever they are doing. I always love raving exuberantly about my friends’ performances and shows, for me this is part of why I blog, I love art, I think my friends who make art generally are stupendous geniuses and everyone should know this and go see their work, so really it’s just more of the same.

i want your dance

As some of you know, I’ve been blogging on art and dance in Australia, China and Europe for the last three years on supernaut.info

I’d like to open up my blog to what you’re doing in Melbourne, developing new performances, researching stuff, showings, performances, installations, films, all kinds of art in all kinds of places. I especially want to see and write about stuff that isn’t getting reviewed in newspapers and magazines.

There have been some amazing people come through Melbourne in the last few months, and there are a lot of people here doing amazing stuff who I have no idea who they are, and I think they and what they are doing should be written and talked about.

Some enticements:

It’s free.

supernaut is a well-known part of blog scenes talking about arts and dance in Australia, Hong Kong and China, and bits of Europe, and has been nominated for a few blog awards.

I have around 3000 readers a day.

It’s still free.

Please spread this around

— frances d’ath – supernaut.info

… and death

Emile sent me possibly the most perfect condolences card after I told him about Jean Baudrillard dying yesterday. It made me laugh, it seems so perfect.

CTheory carried an obituary for him today also, I’d forgotten he was on their editorial board along with Paul Virilio, who I guess I’m going to have to start reading again.

I read Symbolic Exchange and Death until I wore out two copies, and I mean I was embarrassed about how poorly I treated these books, soaked in food and drink, shoved in bags and satchels until dog-eared and furry soft, my take-everywhere always-ready-for-a-good-time book, slept with and fell asleep in, I have had a love affair I feel guilty about only because it has never been boring. So here is, amongst pages I know so well I can close my eyes and see the crenelated outlines of paragraphs, a quote that was the heart of hell.

Like so many others, the mad, children and the old, have only become ‘categories’ under the sign of the successive segregations that have marked the development of culture. The poor, the under-developed, those with sub-normal IQs, perverts, transsexuals, intellectuals and women all form the basis of an increasingly racist definition of the ‘normal human’. It is not normal to be dead.

— Jean Baudrillard – Symbolic Exchange and Death

jean baudrillard – youtube memorial
jean baudrillard – youtube memorial

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jean baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard died.

I’m so utterly devastated. He has been the single most important thinker, writer, philosopher for me, in my work, in my life for almost a decade … I can’t say any more.

PARIS: Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher and social theorist known for his provocative commentaries on consumerism, excess and what he said was the disappearance of reality, died Tuesday, his publishing house said. He was 77.

Baudrillard died at his home in Paris after a long illness, said Michel Delorme, of the Galilee publishing house.

— International Herald Tribune

jean baudrillard
jean baudrillard

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an excuse

The last two weeks since I returned from Adelaide have been trying, and without wanting to spend too much time dwelling on it all, blogging has suffered majorly. I do enjoy writing every day, but between the torture of funding applications, of which there are more than the number of the beast, and some on-going shittiness that I think I’m about to write about, the silence here has been gnawing at me.

As a part of a broader problem with trying to make dance in Melbourne, I stopped applying for funding early last year as it was doing my head in and really, I thought after five years this approach obviously wasn’t working and it was time for something different. Unfortunately in Australia there is no something different. If you want to make work, you have to suckle the unclean goat, so I got back on the carnival ride.

But for Melbourne though, after so long away and not really part of whatever is going on here, coming back has always been not so celebratory. This, I used to think was just an Australian attitude, but my ignorance was exposed after spending so much time in Adelaide and – I’ve had many conversations on this with dance friends – while I may be prone to a bad attitude in Melbourne, there’s certainly something in the dance scene here that just doesn’t suit me.

This amounts to a lack of work here which is unbearable not simply because I don’t like being poor, but I have the stomach-churning sensation of career-passing-me-by/talent-wasted when I get maybe two or three months in the year to make new work if I’m lucky. Also this engenders no small amount of bitterness, and I really don’t enjoy feeling that way.

Perhaps if I didn’t have my own personal issues to deal with this would be largely more bearable, after-all if all your expenses amount to eating, subsistence and paying for dance classes, getting by on the dole is possible. But lets be under no illusions that being a transsexual, or more accurately, doing something about it is one incomprehensibly expensive chore.

Being unemployed has meant I’ve also been sucked through the Centrelink wringer, that besides being a waste of time (as in how can I get a job in my career if there are no jobs?) has been more than occasionally humiliating. All of which led me to sitting in my doctor’s office earlier this week talking about counseling, which in turn led to repeatedly having to talk about stuff I generally refer to as “stuff I don’t talk about”, and subsequently feeling completely fucked over and eating huge amounts of crappy Cadbury chocolate because no one seems to be selling Lindt anymore.

So, blogging has been scant.

More to the point though, I’ve been coerced for a number of weeks to do the unthinkable, and despite my abject terror at maybe making the wrong choice and finding myself in a months time thinking, “Weeellll, that wasn’t so smart, was it?” and wondering if peddling my ass behind the railway station was the best possible career move I could think of, I haven’t been able to find any decent reasons for not moving to Adelaide. Even Becky thinks it’s a good move.

John Jasperse is coming back to Melbourne at the end of the month and I’ll stay for a few of his classes, and then it’s back to airportland and on to Adelaide.