“Artists lack political education.”
– Bojana Cvejić

In the third episode of season three, on the price and value in dance, we speak with Bojana Cvejić, performance theorist and dramaturg extraordinaire. With degrees in musicology and philosophy, Bojana works with performance-makers and choreographers ranging from Jan Ritsema to Xavier Le Roy, and has been teaching at prestigious institutions, from PARTS in Brussels to SNDO in Amsterdam. She has published a number of seminal books on contemporary performance, investigating it from the perspective of practice, labour, and social organization. And that’s what we talk about today.

“There was a moment around 2000, where single authorship was contested on artistic grounds. Then it was re-valorised, politically, economically, in relation to the value of the contribution of the dancers themselves. Now we’re in a moment where it seems that spectatorship, audience, reception decides – and programming relies on the judgement of the audience.”
– Bojana Cvejić

Today’s conversation was a feat of present-day technology, recorded as a conversation in real time between Jana and Bojana in Brussels, and Angela and Beth in Melbourne, using Skype, mobile phones, online telephony, instant messaging, email, five computers, and four microphones – with the great help of our friend Carl Corcoran, who welcomed us into his stylish studio. (It is nice to find little homes for Audio Stage around the world.)

And what a conversation it is! For this season, on dance and value, Angela has put together all of our biggest brainy idols, and possibly no one more so than Bojana, whose thinking combines an easy fluency with philosophical concepts with an equally nuanced approach to ethics, together with a humbleness that is completely unwarranted. There is a glow in the conversation, a little bit of sunshine, that you might just be able to hear: we are sitting around her, Angela and Jana, and enjoying the way Bojana’s words are making the world come alive in a new way.

Discussed in this episode:
Marx, dance in museums, who authors dance?, Xavier Le Roy’s early works, creating new values, dancers associated with certain choreographers – are they ‘damaged goods’?, collaboration vs collectivity, Marcel Mauss and social choreography, “I’ve done Vietnam, I’ve done the Paris Ballet Conservatory, I’ve done Wall St.”, the high-paying executive who gives it all up to find out who he is, ‘selfie-expression’, choreography as a cottage industry, YouTube, and remember when we used to think we could decide to make a viral video?

“Today we experience the truth of ourselves through the body. Perhaps the ideology of individualism, on which capitalism relies today, needs the body, to, on the one hand, confirm the feeling of success, and on the other hand intensity, as the proof of reality.”
– Bojana Cvejić

Enjoy and stay tuned: we have more exciting and stimulating conversations to come.

Podcast bibliography:
Bojana Cvejic: Choreographing Problems: Expressive Concepts in Contemporary Dance and Performance (Performance Philosophy), 2015, Palgrave Macmillan
Bojana Cvejic: Interrupting the City: Artistic Constitutions of the Public Sphere (Antennae), Antennae
Social Choreography – a lecture by Bojana Cvejić
Bojana Cvejić: Collaborativity? You mean collaboration?, at RepublicArt
Bojana Cvejic: Six Notes on a Society of Performance

For more information about Bojana Cvejić and her work, check her website.

This series of AUDIOSTAGE has been commissioned by DANCEHOUSE as part of the 2016 Keir Choreographic Award Public Program and was generously supported by the Keir Foundation.

Photo credits: Tomislav Medak