THE A.W.A.R.D. SHOW! Dec 14, 2009
by Tania Kupczak
By Neta Pulvermacher: A Choreographer, Founder of the A.W.A.R.D Show! Series (2006) and Dance Conversations at the Flea (2003).
Ok... People (artists and audiences), Chill out! I am reading all those comments about the A.W.A.R.D. Show! Let me put my two cents into the discussion.... and, by the way... discussion/response/action/pro-action are actually the goals of this series... So thank you... for participating. It is Neta Pulvermacher here, the very dumb, super populist choreographer (ha, ha, ha if you only knew) who started this whole thing, with the idea that it may - if handled right - put to test some of the most hypocritical, yet, sacred cows in our improvished modern dance field and if done right - I was hoping that it will in-fact create new possibilities, attract new funding for individual artists, and will put the conversation back into the work itself. That is my dream. I want people to feel excited about the work itself. No it is not the only way. No, no, no!!!! There is NEVER ONE WAY TO DO SOMETHING! Never!
I wanted people to feel fired up again – excited, about the work... about new ways to show work... about being empowered to do something for the art form in a new way. About creating new context for works to be shown and discussed. When was the last time YOU put your (yes –limited, like all of us) dance company resources (6 years and counting in my case) for the advancement of a new idea that would bring the community together around creativity and exploration, around the works of artists – regardless if they are your friends or not... When was the last time you tried to create a new structure that would/could potentially bring new audiences, new resources and new kind of viewing to dance? I was and am sick and tired of seeing friends and neighbors (only) at modern dance shows, and kind of un-charged, sleepy, self important artists and audiences with high brow and very intelligent comments and serious talk about each other’s work in small bar joints, coffee houses where we all drink green tea, in NYC, Seattle, Chicago, Philly... Etc... I thought long and hard - how to make something - grass roots for artists with artists with NO RESOURCES to change that sort of boring scene - to force people (that means both artists and audiences) to see deeper, think deeper and cut the crap out of the inherent duplicity and elitists talk which is so prevalent in our field. Art should not be a rarefied thing. It should be simple like air (Duchamp said it – before me) just breath. It should be as open as knowledge, language - open to all that want to experience it... So few people in this world know about the works that are being created in our field... how the hell can one change that? How can you shed light on works of under the radar artists and bring the media attention to it in this mass media culture? Those are some of the questions that I tried to ask with the A.W.A.R.D. Show! The competition is a very smart marketing conceit so far as I am concerned to get people into the theatre to see works that they otherwise are un-likely to see or hear about. I also insisted that each of those events is a party, a community party, complete with wine and cheese receptions and mingling and informal talk, where more talk about the work can take place. I wanted people to get out of their comfort zone... their skins and try something new. It is also a way to attract new funding for individual artists and singular visions and voices. I love dance, I love art, I love science, I love life and the vibrancy and inherent contradictions it offers, I love defiance, I love exploration, I love risk, I love waking up dead crowds to think about new possibilities, or see a rare flower where they have not noticed one before. I HATE high art talk... trust me... if there is anyone who can hold their own with noble prize winners in any field - and presidents it would be me, and I've done my share of that. So What? Who cares? I wanted to create a vital, dynamic, direct space where questions could and should be asked of life, of values, of art, of community, of how to set up a flexible presenting structure that would inspire a vibrant community to form? How to use - capitalism to attract new audiences and new MONEY to our field. If you know anything at all about me - you would know that I grew up on a kibbutz (read about it if you don't know what it is) which means - I am intimately familiar with the notion of sharing, Communism, community building, and the glorious beauty and the traps of those ideals. What committee in the world can cure stupidity, apathy or jealousy? Or split equally brains, talent and beauty amongst all the people of this world? Is there such a committee up there in the sky? We are equal because we are different. There is room in this world for the glorious diversity and multiplicity of ideas, feelings, ideals, thoughts and opinions. But remember that equality doesn’t mean sameness. I wanted to create a space where thoughts, ideas, QUESTIONS, ideals, diversity, multiplicity, contradictions and failures are celebrated and opinions could be expressed freely, unmediated - as they relate to the work that all of us so passionately care about. Lastly - Have you ever thought about the way in which grants are awarded? Have you ever thoughts about the notion of an audition? Have you ever thought about space in media and newspapers for coverage of your work and how it is divided? Have you ever tried to get a teaching/performing gig? Have you ever tried to get an apartment in NYC? Aren’t all those competitions? YES THEY ARE! So hell with the high talk!!!! It's there... anywhere you look. So get over the high line... and start talking about the work itself... Because the interest is in there and not in the futile and hypocritical argument about competition and art. Any kind of choice-involves choosing one option from two or more competing options... and so how else would you operate? How else can you determine your next action but making a choice? Is it a competition? So why do you think its different when it comes to art? A point of view is clarified by an artist who is making choices about what materials to include in the work and what to throw away and there are competing materials at hand, naturally. The artist then employs a set of values and his/her/theirs intuition to choose-that which fits and that which doesn’t. Is the outcome of the process not art because the choices of materials are in competition with each other? Give me a break! Should there be a field that is above any possibility of making choices? Well you can always choose not to play, not to see, not to act, not to speak, not to live. We make choices constantly as we live... that is what makes us intelligent human beings. This series aims to celebrate that process and those rare tumbleweeds that are sprouting in some forgotten corner of the world. Thank you and have a ball as you make your choices, in art, life and the supermarket.