- cheerleader of europe by daniel kok © dusan pejcic
CHEERLEADER OF EUROPEPRINT THIS PAGE
Cheerleader of Europe has become an on-going solo project through which I pin down my position as an independent Asian artist in Europe and develop a methodology of engaging my 'publics', be this an artistic research community, a working group consisting of other artists, experts from other fields (political scientists, psychologists, pole dancers, etc), and more importantly, broker a dialogic relationship with the European milieu I now call home. What do I want from it? What might it want from me? How do I give it? What rules exist to regulate our exchange?
Thanks to a series of conversations with artists, festival programmers and other cultural workers since my move to Berlin and Brussels, I am by now fully aware of the impact of the Eurozone crisis on the creation, production, distribution and circulation of the performing arts in Europe. (What an inopportune time for an Asian Artist to relocate to Europe! A little ironic too!) In a time when arts festivals and organisations experience dramatic funding cuts and take to co-productions as a coping measure, artists and audience alike have to rethink the idea of cooperation and their overall modus operandi.
Presently, I am preoccupied with the idea of a co-production. Simply put, if two festivals come together to make one production, the overall rate of artistic production is halved. Since the number of artists is not decreasing, a lower amount of available work might mean thinner slices of the pie for everyone, or pies for only a few, with many left without even a slice. One can look at this scenario in two ways: It means that on one hand, the overall productivity in the arts in Europe is falling. Great means of production but for lower outputs, even if the amount of work required to enable such co-productions actually increases. On the other hand, we can also try and see the trend of co-producing more positively as an opportunity to collaboratively rethink why, how and for whom we create.
Nevertheless, it must be said that Cheerleader of Europe is not just an emancipatory project. I do look upon the utopic notions of the work with skepticism. This charming, seductive cheerleader that I envisage is also a figure of power, a benevolent but manipulative dictator; a not-so distant relative of the neo-liberal capitalist who sells freedom as a feel-good notion and grants limited choice so that in the end, it is he who benefits the most and laughs his way to the bank. How do I resolve this duplicitous character? How do I work for all of us sincerely, devotedly while at the same time sell us out? Who better to play this role than a Singaporean?
Choreographer and Cheerleader: Daniel Kok
Dramaturge: Jorge Gonçalves
Also supported by APASS, Nadine