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Diego Agullo Day by Day

Bringing tempestuous weather

Etymologically speaking problem comes from Greek problema, literally thing put forward: proballein: pro= forward + ballein = to throw. If we continue searching, ballein comes from ballistics, the art of throwing projectiles, which gives to the quality of ballein the intentionality of throwing in order to hit a target. Belonging to the same family of words there is the word ballizein= to dance, which following previous definition would mean to throw one´s body.

This etymological considerations regarding the meaning of dance, stimulate the potential interpretations of the practice of choreography. After having linked the body, any kind of body, with the art of ballistics, we can understand the mission of choreography as the art of problematizing, namely, throwing out there projectiles, bullets, on space and time, or, in another words, the set of practices that articulate problems on space and time. The question for choreography would be this one: How to turn any situation into a problematic situation?

To make a dance project is to project problems. The mission of articulating problems belongs intrinsically to the practice of choreography. To articulate problems implies to throw out there question marks, bodies become question marks, to throw in the distance a question, a difficulty that transform the scenario into a controversial scenario, into a more difficult scenario. Problems turn the situation into a turbulent event. To practice dance is the art of generating dilemmas, a turbulence that transform the space into a puzzle and generates perplexity and occasionally vertigo because the situation turns into a trouble, a turbid agitated confused disordered event. The choreographer brings tempestuous weather.

This is specially important since we started talking about expanded choreography: how to expand a practice implies to think in terms of strategies and tactics of occupation. In which sense choreography is different from the practice of war? I will leave the answer open for personal statements. What is clear is that to problematize implies necessarily to be ready to operate within a frame of tensions, controversy, discord and uncertainty. To be the pain in the ass is not an easy mission, specially, if the rest of the participants on this fight are not flexible enough to operate within tempestuous weather conditions. Sometimes because a matter of conformism, not really willing to spend energies on resolving problems; we all know how much patience a puzzle demands in order to be solved. In other occasions this lack of will on participation in situations of discord comes from a matter of education: we have not been educated to understand conflictuality as a situation of normality. Discord is not accepted as the standard frame of interaction.

How much do we need the stormy weather to blow up our habitual practices and provoke us to throw our bodies out there in the turbulence of an uncertain event? Welcome the storm and let the projectiles dance. Become tsunami. 

What kind of event is CUE?

CUE: between Veranstaltung and Ereignis

The German word Veranstaltung is used to refer to a temporary and scheduled event that takes place in an announced location with a defined purpose, a program based on a theme with a specific content for the participation of a group of people and organized by a person or an institution.

Following this assertion, the task of the organizer of CUE can be understood as the attempt to reduce the event (Veranstaltung) to its most basic components: space, time and participation while leaving the rest of the components undetermined. CUE should have only 3 determinations a priori: where (which location) when (date and duration) and who (social gathering). The rest of determinations will not be giving before hand, they will just happen through the course of the event without the control of the organizer. Strictly speaking, the organizer does not organize what happen in the event, the organizer should take care only that the event happens; what it has to be organized are those three conditions that make an event possible.

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If you need a CUE…

CUE has been happening in Berlin since march 2007. Now five years later, after more than 42 editions in Berlin and more than 30 editions in other cities in Europe, I am still wondering what is it about; the task of coming up with a clear definition has not been completed yet. During this 5 years I can distinguish 3 phases on my understanding of CUE. At the beginning the idea was closer to an interdisciplinary improvisation, a kind of happening that included any spontaneous expression. Later I started to put more attention on the behaviour and how people bring themselves into play through a certain attitude of abandoning the social codes and habits while dissolving themselves into something such as an anarchic party or kindergarten. Today I understand CUE through the notion of awareness and the conditions of possibility for an event to happen. 

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Yojimbo: the wave man rides the wave

Yojimbo (1961, directed by Akira Kurosawa and performed by Toshiro Mifune) talks about the inversion of values that a ronin represents towards a classical samurai. A ronin is a samurai with no lord or master.  In this sense a ronin is literally a free-lancer, a warrior that is available to anyone that can pay for his services, a mercenary. The main difference with a samurai is not having respect for the code of the samurai, turning around the classical conventions and the loyalty of the samurai into promiscuous affairs. The movie shows exactly that: how Yojimbo betrays all sides.

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The sponge and the curiosity

One of the main reasons I have writing this text is to outline a figure or archetype based on a very specific attitude, pre-disposition and pre-occupation.This is something that I have been already doing talking about the hunger of the cross-dilettante for being in a constant movement or process of self-realization. There is an urge or strong need of never getting stuck on one domain, never specializing too much on something in order to become the outsider again, the initiated. Following this characterization I want to talk about the same again but from a different perspective: how self-realization implies to be immerse in a constant learning process which is actually a process of absorption; the bigger the hunger is, the richer the learning.

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Jack of all trades

The expression jack of all trades  refers to a person competent with many skills but not necessarily outstanding in any particular one. The phrase became negative in connotation  with the addition of master of none, trying to argue that variety is not necessarily a synonym of value and that amateurism is starry-eyed.

On my characterization of the terms cross-dilettante and dromo-amateur it is needed to spend some time understanding what is the relation that both concepts have with specialization and level of proficiency in order to erase all the pejorative connotations that exist since dilettantism and amateurism stand in opposition to a specialist or connoisseur.

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This concept relates to movement and motion. Together with the idea of cross-pollination I started to talk about dromo-amateurism and cross-dilettantism. The prefixes dromo and cross trigger the notions of amateur and dilettante, they set in motion the adventure of becoming.

Dromomania incorporates into amateurism the notion of uncontrollable urgency to start moving from one discipline to another, the passion and addiction of becoming otherness while leaving suddenly the actual domain. This term has definitely connotations of insanity. I wouldn’t go that far and I prefer to relate mania with passion and uncontrollable urgency without necessarily meaning something negative, as insanity does. Actually, one of my main purposes is to understand it as a skill that could be required at any moment.

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Transnomia and critical states

On Transnomia we also compose refrains of metastable content. These can be used in order to evoke the state of inner peace in the moments of instability and critical transitionary states.

Critical states are full of questions. A question opens a whole new horizon for new landscapes to appear. There is definitely a large proportion of hesitation during establishing these coming horizons. During transitionary states things get in a muddle producing the confusion of not being able to determine yet final resolutions. During this hesitation the virtue of patience will be required.

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Cross-dilettante? Dromo-amateur?

One of the my main purposes on writing this text about freelance and dilettantism is to create an hybrid concept between two ideas. The first idea is represented by the attitudes of dilettantism and amateurism without pejorative connotations. The second idea is to incorporate the aspect of movement on it, to make the dilettante being moved by the need or urgency of traveling, cross-dilettante, a nomadic version of the amateur who has the addiction of becoming otherness, being a constant outsider, dromo-amateur.

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Click on the images to see the animated GIF

Last week we were invited to present The Humping Pact at the Spring Exhibition at Charlottenborg in Copenhagen. There are definitely a few things to mention an specially about the media coverage that we had. I must confess i was surprise to observe that our 10 minutes performance humping the facade of the main building caused such a reaction. What in other places would have been just one more performance of nacked people with sexual connotations, this time became a controversial courageous event. Now it is easier to understand why the jury of the exhibition were so much into having us performing at the opening. Their interest wasn’t so much on our work but rather on the potential that it will have in Denmark to generate attention and visibility, perfect publicity for the exhibition to put two crazy guys (the Spanish and the Russian based in Berlin). The day after we were on the header of Politiken, one of the main newspaper and our website got in 2 days 70000 views.

Preface to a text about dilettantism and freelance

I started last year to write about the notion of dilettantism and since September I haven´t written that much anymore. Time to digest and have a distance towards what I was threading. Now it´s time to throw out again and this time with a certain shape, more appropriated for others to approach. I would like to use this blog as a workshop where I can finalize the ultimate version of my notes about dilettantism.

The introduction should aim to make clear what is my attempt, since I seem to have several.  I can perfectly remember what was the starting point: my motivation to disagree with the negative connotations from the common use of the term dilettantism. I wanted my text to break with the opinion that the word is pejorative and to attempt to create a landscape of concepts that will allow another approach to dilettantism.

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