The Fake Survey

More stuff on the neutral theme and The 90°! This was back in 2011.

In Mexico DF, we had the bright idea to make a survey with people to see if they felt the same as us about neutral:

We called it The Fake Survey in honour of Liz Lemon.

This is some of the results we got. We might fill in more answers later: they sort of spread themselves all over social media and international harddrives and were difficult to collect. All answers that were given in Spanish and Swedish has here very neutrally been translated to English.

The conclusions drawn from this survey are mostly that neutral varies a lot and that all of our friends disapproves of neutrality – it seems almost neutral to do so. Anyway, we disapprove, too, there’s no breaking out of this flocking exercise. And we had a great time reading these answers. Thanks everyone for answering!

Random answer outside questions
– I think neutral is that which makes no fuss, leaves no prints or impressions. Guess it has to do with impersonality and non-identification somehow. Thus it feels contradictory to *identify* something, such as a single colour (that is made up of a multitude of lights and such), and then point to it as neutral. If it makes sense.

– Somewhere after the first few questions, I started thinking pretty seriously about neutrality and I sort of realized that it’s a concept that doesn’t really seem feasible when I try to situate it inside of my perception of things. I don’t see how it’s possible to not take a position, to not be demarcated and cast into a kind of “otherness”/”separateness.’

What is a neutral colour?
all other than white. if you mix every colour you see its brown.
white or light yellow (hospital neutral)
A self-well-known one.

What is neutral food?
non spicy food and poatoes
food speaks of shared memories. loose your sense of taste by smoking for several years, then swollow fast: its neutral.
Hot soup. water.
Pasta, rise
Without salt
Rice and sallad grown by farmers with the help from EU-money and state funds.
mashed potatoe and brown sauce
Some that you pick yourself after patiently been awaiting (you) to do so.
rice or tofu
an apple

Give an example of a neutral music score for contemporary dance performance (CDP)
c c c c
Brian Eno
arvo pärt.
steve reich
ambient sound
voices and noises
sounds without a melody, wind like
Accordning to question 1: (for me) Feist. Following the second question: instant music-making.
maybe one of Erik Satie’s furniture music pieces?

What is a neutral light setting in a CDP?
warms lights from the side
sort of light everywhere on stage.
Frontal lights
Yellow or white light directed from above in different directions so that it doesn’t blind the audience nor casts sharp shadows on the dancer.
white yellow
natural light from above
rehearsal lamps
blue spots and cold white anti-shadows
i can’t think of lighting that would be neutral. maybe none?

What is neutral body temperature?
37 – 38
38 c
37,5 celcius
32 C. Nor hot nor cold.
37 C
65 is the number that came into my head but it doesn’t make sense in either fahrenheit or celsius.

What is a neutral make up in a CDP?
no make up.
No make up or make up that cover bad skin/pimples.
skin colour
no make up
mascara and red lipstick
black eyeliner
No make up at all
A smile of friend.
no make up, really. maybe some chapstick and foundation.

What is a neutral country?
one that others orient around? usa?
a country not involved in a specific conflict.
San Marino
A country that no one notice (could be a closed country as well, with a opressing leader. Hm…)
Unknown country.

What is a neutral language?
a mix?
Sign language
A boring language
no such thing

What is a neutral first name?
female names ending on an A.
“My name is nobody” – Ulysses
ben anna
A european wide name without provocative hints, as Anna or Maria or Charles
no such thing

– What is a neutral use of the space in a CDP?
non appearing?
To move and relate to the space as if it is up to me to create. To play with a high social status against the room, like the room is mine, not dangerous or otherwise charged. The room feels self-evident.
Black box
flying through it
Like in Italy
open space no wings or legs
the whole space almost all the time
An empty space
oh, i must sound like such a curmudgeon, but i’m not sure i think that neutrality truly exists (partly because i don’t think of things as existing on a linear spectrum). even defining a space is, for me,the act of taking a position/a side/stance and so it can’t really be neutral in that sense.

What is a neutral way of being on stage for a contemporary dancer?
To be yourself, be neutral to yourself.
moving sort of slowly, undesignedly
to breathe
in training outfit
no movement
in parallell
walking from side to side throwing castañuelas
To have a conversation with the audience and to be open about what is happening
…a break? pause-alike turnarounds?
being on stage and having a body, for me, means creating a position in a very literal sense, but also in an interpretative sense.

What is a neutral way to use gaze in a CDP?
Gaze straight forward, about three meters ahead of yourself.
to look where one has to in order to perform the dance
a la brechtienne without any emotion
not looking at the audience
not sure if it’s what i really think, but the first thing that came to mind was a kind of blank stare where it would be difficult for the viewer to see what the dancer(s) were looking at.

What is a neutral way of standing in a CDP?
Parallell straight forward. perhaps legs a little bit bent.
feet down
just standing with arms along the sides
parallell feet
In parallell and a bit diagonally
Like a fox on it’s way to run

What is a neutral duration of a CDP?
60 minutes
a neutral risk
50 minutes
like Beckett did with theatre, “a breath”
a couple of weeks
25 minutes
20 minutes
not possible, since average durations of performances are so culturally and contextually variant that picking any length of time would either be understandable as conforming to some sort of norm (i.e. average lengths like 45 minutes, 1 hour and a half, etc.) or as deviating substantially from those norms.

What is a neutral dance technique?
shake your butt
contemporary dance
free techniques
Tai Chi
shake but whilst lifting the leg

Explain the neutral feeling of a performer in a CDP.
like being dead
focused and relaxed.
light, sexy, able to move, very aware of everything
without intention
melting and floating
Muscle relaxed in hips and face, Deep breating, body ready, mind empty
no fealing

What is a neutral shape?
always new, in motion
a square
a loose line
any form that is not mixed up with another form is neutral. A sole line. A sole circle.
a circle, i guess, since it just continues and continues, never breaking up into sides and angles. although there is an inside and an outside of a circle, so i guess it’s not really
neutral/beyond ‘positions’ either

What is a neutral venue to perform a CDP?
a venue built for a CPD
theatre black box
in a building that wasn’t build for theatre purposes. a ols factory place out garage.
any stage
a square
An empty space without history or referencies… I don’t think it exists.
at home
any place that has a big floor and space for audience

What is a neutral age?
over 80 when you’ve done the earlier ones.
there is none
From 10 to 20

Give an example of neutral costumes in a CDP.
sweatpants, t-shirts and hoodies
Pants. Like I’m a dancer but not that much.
long sleveed cotton t-shirt and loose pants
your own normal clothes
T-shirt and different kind of normal trousers

What’s a neutral font?
times new roman
this one or times new roman
times new roman
Times New Roman
times new roman

What does a neutral contemporary dancer look like?
open spirit generous on stage, soft.
slim, white, young, girl, short hair
a dance that does not resemble any dance
without sweat or muscular pain
he/she is not very tall, has short hair and a small mouth
as if she or he is not a dancer, but maybe an art student

What is a neutral fund for financing a CDP?
Parents wallets
To work for yourself, not asking money by anyone
money from a university
a european based fund that takes a lot of time an effort to gain
any state-sponsored fund. Everybody = nobody = neutrality

When do you encounter the term neutral in your life?
never before!
in board games (neutral = unpassable square/zone)
Nothing is neutral if I think of it. Things that belong to basic physical functions feel more neutral, breathing, body temperature, drinking water and so on. On stage it would be what I don’t notice. Maybe I’m mixing it up with natural? Natural is also in the food store, advocating for good health, and in school.
The seconds after orgasm
When I have a shower
when I talk about yoghurt. otherwise never.
Unfortunetly mostly in a negative way. In a positive way about artists when they seem to be able to clean their own toilet.
I think I encounter it the most in discussions of contemporary US politics, where self-ID’ed political moderates claim their views are somehow beyond the polarizing discourses of the Democrats and the Republicans. Maybe this is why I am resistant/skeptical to the concept of


Burn After Writing

Burn After Writing

I write this text as a solo study for an imagined group piece that has the same title as an imagined exhibition. I also write this text as a piece for someone else, a performer, namely my friend and colleague Josefine Larson Olin. When she accepted to take on this position in my piece of writing, she also altered my modality of writing. Although I am still the author in terms of initiative, I cannot write without her. And although we will both take the consequences for how we structure our work, I am responsible for the outcome. One likely consequence of this is that people will perceive Josefine’s occurrence in the text as a vehicle for my thoughts and desires. Both of us can try to disturb this order in different ways, but it will still be my signature under the piece of writing, and her name in it.

The reason why I put us in this tricky relation is that I had a text commissioned by the master students of choreography at the Stockholm University of Dance and Circus. They asked me to write something about their festival Ok Show Kids Return (May 22-29 2011) that took place in four different locations around Stockholm. Six out of the seven performances in this festival were made precisely with the demand that they should function as solo studies for imagined group pieces that had the same title as imagined exhibitions.

With me and Josefine joining in, seven pieces out of eight now fill this criteria. The festival also goes on for a considerably longer period than originally planned – i.e., until this text can no longer be read. This modification of the format of the festival is our way of responding to the strive for prolongation that often comes with the wish to have someone write about or document live events. Instead of trying to capture, break down or by other means make these live events accessible after their disappearance, we wanted to address the very question of the ephemeral and the continuous in different kinds of performance. As our title Burn After Writing indicates, we are primarily thinking of the performance of writing and about in what ways the activity of writing could take on a value beyond the text that it generates. Of course, text and writing are then also to be understood as an analogy to choreography and dance, i.e. what value can the performance of dance have beyond the choreography that frames it?

Even though the seven other performances in the festival clearly influenced this piece – not least in its festival-infesting format – there are also other influences that made the theme of ephemeral writing particularly interesting to me. One is an unfortunate tendency to lose my diaries and never find them again. Another is my many experiments with creating text material through actively altering the rules that frame the writing – experiments that in their turn can be traced to a long tradition of scores for writing, most commonly exemplified by dadaist and surrealist poetry practices such as cut-up techniques and cadavre exquis.

Texts such as A Room of One’s Own (1929) by Virginia Woolf or Queer Phenomenology (2006) by Sara Ahmed also play a part. From two different points in time, Woolf and Ahmed address how writers and thinkers challenge or confirm the limits for recognition by writing through and about material conditions that are not so easily altered. As both Woolf and Ahmed point out, the recognition of a text as a text is not only about the criteria of selection set up by different social or cultural institutions. The questions of readability start already before the process of writing has taken place, and questions of this character can of course also be put by, through and to choreography. Where are the social and spacial stages for the performances of writing and dancing? Where are the material resources? Where is the subject legitimized for an authorship within those fields?

Those who, for some reason, have sufficient resources to become recognized as authors can of course stretch the scope for recognition through insisting on leaving traces of material conditions that might not fit into all legitimate categories. They can also try to undo some of the readability of their authorship by willfully introducing an element of disturbance. The latter is one of the functions I imagine that Josefine could have in this text. This by no means implies that Josefine could stop me from making this text readable – I am too much of an author for that. On the other hand, not even the author in me can stop her presence in the text from embodying the idea that writers are also practitioners inscribed in a complex sociality, and that writing is an activity that always happens outside the text.

To embody the idea of the complex sociality of writing is of course also a function that the presence of Josefine fills in this piece. And yet, this is not a process diary where me and Josefine give an exact account of how we worked together with the text. Instead, I have covered all traces of my specific ways of working with Josefine, so that the circumstances of production of this piece are present mostly through their absence. The honesty of this solution is that it mirrors the power relation that we engage in as writer and performer, as well as openly admits to the fact that we are still prioritizing perfect form and clear authorship over the process of writing, even if we indicate a possibility of something else.

To speculate in what futures an ephemeral writing could have, i.e., what is to become of the imaginary group piece and the imaginary exhibition called Burn After Writing, is one such indication. To propose any exact protocol for the future is of course risky, since it must rely on the experiences of text and writing that I and Josefine already have and thus repeat the thoughts that we can already think. But even from this figuration of hierarchical power exchange and half-hidden contextual bodies that is ours, we will propose.

In this solo piece, I use Josefine’s unclear bond to the authorship of the text as a way of underlining that the idea of putting writing persons on display or making writing a part of a performative set-up is definitely not what I am after. How it looks when one writes says very little of what it does. Rather than imagining writing as a spectacular practice, I imagine it as a relational practice, whether or not the text that results from it is read by anyone else than the writer. Even to write something that is unpublishable – unsharable, unreadable, fragile in its to and from – is to simultaneously rewrite one’s position in the social. This not only because writing culturally represents a specific act of withdrawal (and this might be a point where the analogy between writing and dancing falls apart), but even more because the writing as such structures the experience of inner and outer worlds. Writing a memory note is not only about being able to look at it later. Writing a letter is not only about who receives it. The writing is a process of inventing binding notions between fragments, choosing experiences and framing realities.

Thinking writing like this gives an opportunity to imagine how it could have priority over text, for example in a group piece and exhibition named Burn After Writing. As this title suggests, immediate destruction is a possibly useful tool if one wants to isolate the practice of writing from the traces it leaves. The destruction of text is in this sense not necessarily a memory loss or a threat to shared intelligence (as in the culturally charged image of burning books), but rather a way of getting to know something about writing that the preservation of the text would not have allowed the writer to know. The written is thus in its destruction replaced by an affirmative loss, a loss that gives back meaning to an act of writing that is all to often co-opted by the text, just like dance is frequently co-opted by choreography.

Towards the end of this solo piece, Josefine and I keep insisting on the possibilities of writing and destroying the written as two nodes of desire that can overlap and constitute each other in ways that disturb the privileges of text. In this insistence, we simultaneously criticize and reestablish our positions as writer and performer. All this said, it is too late to burn this text.

By Tova Gerge with Josefine Larson Olin

The other pieces in the festival Ok Show Kids Return were:

40 minuter by Nadja Hjorton, Chrisander Brun, Cicilia Östholm, Per Sundberg, Emelie Wahlman, Erika Thalinsson Ranhagen, Anna Strand Andersen and Elvira Roos.

Burn Your Fun by Kim Hiorthøy with Ilse Ghekiere.

We Made a Piece from Thin Air by Stina Nyberg with An Kaler.

So What by Zoë Poluch & Valentina Desideri.

One on One by Juli Reinartz in collaboration with Liz Waterhouse with Linnea Martinsson.

Gear and Tactics, You Know What It Is What It Is When We Do What We Do, To Rely with Confident Expectancy, The Precious Moments Are All Lost in The Tide, Sidestep Translation, Again and Again and Again and Again, Metaphor Motion by Rebecka Stillman in collaboration with Ulrika Berg.

The Authentic Ludvig by Uri Turkenich with Ludvig Daae.

More dance and more fire:


Fill In the Blanks and Multiple Choices (Reappearance)

This is another text written before PAF 2011. It is a slightly frustrated reflection on the difficulties of finding functioning structures when you work within the realm of art. As a reader, you’re mentally filling in the blanks with whatever information you find suitable to describe a situation, choosing one of the given suggestions in every multiple choice. What you can’t do is rearranging the order of things or rewriting the whole form. And this is also pretty much what happens when you try to organize yourself officially…

You are … persons in … different cities (leave or add blanks if necessary):

, in … different countries (leave or add blanks if necessary):
…………… .

At least … of you have a valid a) passport b) green card in at least one nation state.

What you all have in common is a strong interest for the artistic field of …………… and the ideological field of ………-ism. You also have an interest for alternative organizing, and you decide to somehow formalize your social network into a platform for actions that actively promote, perform and support ………-ist  …… -ing.

You a) are a group where everyone knows everyone else in the group b) are a group were most people knows someone in the group before, but noone knows everyone c) are a group where some people know everyone, and some people only know someone.

Your initial intentions are to work according to founding principles not so different from your normal informally structured sociality. You want to define your network in terms of actions and encounters. You want to work with dissensus in the sense that noone needs an absolute majority of votes to start a project or act in the name of the network. You want the keep the borders fuzzy and fluid in the sense that noone needs a formal legitimation to invite someone to act in the name of the network, and there is no precise obligation to fulfill in order to stay in. You also want a system in which no chosen leader or official core is necessary.

The difference from just leaving things as they are consists mainly in centralizing communication and explicitly announcing an interest in acting collectively. This also implies using democratic meeting technique, transparence and systematized information sharing. You thus have open meetings … times a a) month b) week and you set up an internet platform where you can discuss how things proceed.

To be able to do certain kinds of projects, you realize that you need a formally registered association of some kind, for example a non-profit organization, a joint-stock company or a general partnership. In one meeting, you decide that you will found a …………….

Some of you have not been able to participate in the meeting, mostly for the following reasons (leave or add blanks if necessary):
…………… .

The ones of you who were absent think
a) that the chosen association form is good.
b) that the chosen association form is bad or that you don’t know enough about association forms to tell wether it is really good,
b1) but since you were absent, you accept the choice.
b2), and thus, you raise objections. You think that the association form is a decision way to important to be concluded without a consensus, since this decision will structure     many of the possible actions that the network can do in the future.
b2a) Your objections are overruled.
b2b) Your objections are heard, and the matter is more thoroughly examined before you proceed with the decision making.

…. a) days b) weeks c) months later, the research is done and the authorities in the field make a strong recommendation for founding a ……………………. However, to be able to conclude this affair, you have to agree on some association bylaws and a name.

Some minor discussions occur during the process of setting up bylaws, mostly concerning economy, membership and stated activity. Some of you don’t really care, others care a lot. However, reminding yourselves that you can rewrite most parts of this guiding document later, you settle for a solution where the possibilities of having economical support from the members of the society are quite ………………. , where it is quite …………… to exclude or include a new member and where it is fairly ………………….. what kind of activity you as a group will engage in.

When you start to speak about the name, you
a) agree completely and settle for a name. If this is the case, jump the following multiple choice section about names.
b) don’t agree. You discover that despite your common interests in …………….-ist ………………-ing, your opinions on what this means and how it should be practiced, promoted and supported vary more than you thought. No matter how much you all insist that the name could be anything and that your organization will be whatever you do together, the name activates ideological questions. Should the name for example make reference to a specific canon of …………-ing in which you would like your projects to be inscribed, and can you in that case agree on such a canon? Should the name be an acronym for all the members in the group, as so to symbolize each and everyones individual agency within a crowd, and in that case, in what order should the letters come? Should the name mirror the open platform-thought by making reference to a fictive or abstract place by which your future activity is framed? Or is the idea of a name that connotes name-ness or place-ness problematic altogether because, in the long run, it is a reaffirmation of identity, legitimacy, belonging and borders rather than actions, alliances and fluidity? And how should the name relate to different centers of power? Should it try to communicate with them, appear as reasonable? Or should it rather make itself uninteresting or even admit an aggressive approach towards other figurations of power then the ones that you imagine as your closest allies?

After these discussions,
a) you choose the name ……………………. by consensus.
b) you choose the name ……………………. by democratic voting.
c) you choose the name …………………… through a conspiracy by a fraction of the group, that send in your papers without telling the rest.
d) you don’t choose a name.

Once you are done with the name question,
a) the project of organizing yourselves is abandoned,
a1) but the cooperations that existed before this initiative took place are still functioning, and you all continue with your ………-ist ……………-ing.
a2) and the cooperations that existed before this initiative took place are abolished.
a3) and pretty much all of you abandon the field of ………-ist ……………-ing, especially in relation to each other.
b) the project of organizing yourselves through an official platform is abandoned,
b1) but the cooperations that existed before this initiative took place are still functioning.
b2) but you have discovered a lot of new friends and potential new cooperations. Over all, the initiative keeps enhancing and enriching your practice of ………-ist ……………-ing, and you are a network or platform in the sense that you keep on communicating and exchanging knowledge.
c) you proceed in organizing yourselves officially
c1) and you use the official platform in most of you activity.
c2) but you don’t really ever use the official platform for anything.
c3) and you do both activity that demand the official platform and activity that demands no such platform.