Yesterday, here in TheLab™, we published our 200th video feature on Article19, a comprehensive look at the Cloud Dance Festival in London and some of the dance makers involved.
The oldest video feature on Article19 has been online for over 11 years and this particular website (in all of its various forms) has not been offline for more than an hour since 1999.
All of this accomplished with very little money and very little external support.
We mention this because last month (October) the ACE/BBC website The Space was deleted from the internet along with all of its content. After spending millions of pounds the wretched digital experiment was put out of its misery after just over a year online.
In the spirit of mischief making we decided to follow up with the organisations that created the initial four pieces of dance content. DanceXchange with 'Spill', Dance East with 'Come Dance With Me', The Breakin' Convention with their "live" broadcast and Russell Maliphant with the slow motion soft porn movie that we can't remember the name of.
When we first wrote about The Space last year DanceEast explained that their six episode long series of videos that would "demystify" dance (created at a cost of over £80,000) would have a long lasting legacy. When The Space shut down the videos would still be available for all to see they told us.
Fast forward to late 2013 and Dance East (one of the UK's National Dance Agencies) has run into a bit of a snag on the legacy front. They can't find the videos.
It would be appear that nobody at Dance East thought to make a copy of the files. The whole series could have been copied to a 64GB thumb drive at a cost of about £50. That might have pushed the already ridiculous budget over the edge though.
The production company that created 'Come Dance With Me', Tiger Lily Films in London, did not answer the phone number listed on their website on multiple occasions and did not respond to tweets directed at their Twitter account.
After two weeks of trying Dance East had been unable to determine if the production company still exists although Tiger Lily's Twitter account was updated as recently as November 21st.
The AD of Dance East at the time, Assis Carriero, is now ensconced in Belgium pretending to be the artistic director of a dance company. She could not immediately be reached for comment.
To put this matter into perspective it's like purchasing a brand new Mercedes 'S' Class with all the trimmings and then forgetting where you parked the thing. Careless!
Spilling Your Guts
DanceXchange, another of the UK's National Dance Agencies, were given over £75,000 to produce a filmed version of a children's dance piece called 'Spill', performed in playgrounds across the land.
DanceXchange told us;
"Most of the Spill films are not available online currently, due to our original agreement with Shaun Parker (the choreographer of Spill) that the films could only be presented on The Space for a limited period of time which has now elapsed."
The perils of "licensing" writ large for all to see. It's a curious answer though given that a video of 'Spill' is available in its entirety on DanceXchange's YouTube account (you can see it below).
That version is filmed far more effectively than the horrible creation done for The Space (the production company on The Space version was Maverick Films) which was dull and grainy and unnecessarily split into ten parts.
It's also not entirely clear why so much money was spent creating a new film of a work when one, evidently, already existed.
The Breakin' Convention did not respond to questions put to them via the contact form on their website. There are several videos on that website that look like they could have come from the "live" web broadcast of their 2012 show (at a cost of over £50,000) but sans confirmation we can't be sure.
Russell Maliphant's contact information from his own website doesn't work. A message sent to Sadler's Wells (where he is an associate artists) garnered no response from the dance maker about where his film is or where people might be able to see it. There is no mention of the film on the company website.
So there you have it dear readers. Hundreds of thousands of pounds spent and there is literally nothing to show for it. It is the final humiliation for an online resource that existed for no other reason than to generate some press releases about "digital arts".
Given the complete lack of legacy and the absence of anything approaching professionalism in the choice and delivery of the content it should come as no surprise to learn that The Space will try to make a comeback next year. More evidence, as if any were needed, that the arts in UK on so many levels have completely lost their way.
Update December 13th : The Russell Maliphant film 'Eberus' is available in full on the film makers website : [ Eberus ]