The Week to Applaud an [artist/administrator]
My second week at DYNAMO has been a rollercoaster.
Company Revue Regret is in residence, and while it is a privilege to meet, train with, and exchange with them, I have experienced it as a two-edged sword. Doing computer work in the space next to a company in creation, stabs right into the wound of being an [artist/administrator]. My circus instinct constantly shouts that I should be in the same space doing pullups and artistic research.
Yet I’ve come to realise one thing very clearly this week: the sole reason why Revue Regret can come to create, and I am experiencing this conflict, is because people have actually put in the work to create this space in the first place. The [artist/administrators] at DYNAMO chose to walk the hard path and create infrastructure to benefit the contemporary circus field in the whole region. Because of all those hours of (rarely credited) work and effort of cultural administrators and dreamers out there, I can create and perform with Acting for Climate and other companies.
Without infrastructure and leadership, very few things can develop and grow.
However, I believe the young age of contemporary circus in our region leads to a lot of the most visionary artists taking on the role of administrators, as they experience the lack of infrastructure as the obvious obstacle to further develop their art. This naturally doesn't mean that a role of [artist/administrator] always is a sacrifice, it is also a gift. Yet, it does mean that the current lack of infrastructure encourages creatives to work administratively instead of creatively, and that is a loss for us all.
Artistic co-director Gry Lambertsen at DYNAMO made a good point: as practicing artists, we experience constant and visible acknowledgement of the work we do; people laugh loudly, cry in empathy, applaud us. Yet as [artist/administrators], one rarely gets a standing ovation.
Therefore, I dedicate this post to all [artist/administrators] and visionaries out there. I see you. I applaud you - loudly. And I am incredibly grateful for the work you are doing.
And I would like to nudge all fellow performers: remember to thank a producer, a venue manager or someone organising a festival. We are all part of the same cultural ecosystem, but you are usually the one who gets the roses and applause.
I think one of the biggest strengths of DYNAMO is that they remember to have fun, and that community and meaningful relations are essential. They share lunch every day, play badminton on stage in between zoom meetings, take the time to check in with each other, train together in the mornings, even created a “corona band.” When the workload gets too heavy for anyone, the fun is often the first thing to disappear, and that will affect the whole atmosphere and drive.
“And then, of course, we would also like to change the world”,
artistic co-director Rune Vadstrøm Andersen says, smiling.
I define sustainability as having the resources (both personal and on a societal level) to make choices that will contribute to a better world. If you are exhausted, broke, lonely, or the victim of structural oppression, making sustainable choices is very likely to be more difficult.
Yet, when you can work towards your vision(s) in a sustainable way, I think happiness is the result. If you experience sustainability in your life, have good people around you, and a meaningful purpose, I believe happiness is inevitable.
When I experience stress or not being fully content, I go back to this. Is something in my life currently unsustainable, from relationships to the amount of sleep? Do I work towards something I believe in? I invite you to look at your life situation from the point of sustainability + meaningful purpose, and see where it might lead you.
During this week, I have once again been reminded that sustainability for me also includes at least three hours every day of training and artistic work. Maybe it is the curse of being a circus [artist/administrator]. But it is reality, and it is a reality I will have to make structures and infrastructure to support.
And then, when Covid is gone, I am going to hug some producers.
All images: Company Revue Regret in Residency at DYNAMO, shot by Emma Langmoen
Published on: 25. January 2021
NHLP has been made possible with the support of Nordisk Kulturfond and Nordic culture Point, Nordic Council of Ministers, and Lund Municipality