Un-Hinged!

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

watch now

Update: 02/09/10 A recording of the show is online for those of you inclined enough to listen. [ Iconoclasts on Radio 4 ]

It had to happen eventually. Some crazy person has invited our ever so slightly un-hinged Editor to appear on a live radio show debating the merits or otherwise of arts subsidy with some damn fool person who would like to see all arts funding abolished! (Stop laughing at the back!)

The nutter person in question is Stephen Pollard, Editor of the Jewish Chronicle and he will be making his case with a six minute speech before being mercilessly eviscerated politely debated by our man and two other people, the names of whom escape us at the time of writing.

Presumably the irony of presenting this argument on a publicly subsidised radio station has not escaped Mr Pollard.

When TheImp heard of Mr Pollard's idea he had to be tranquillised and confined to his cage/office for several days. We really wanted him to go instead but we couldn't get the necessary permits.

If you want to join in the bun fight then the programme, 'Iconoclasts', is on BBC Radio 4, tomorrow (September 1), at 8pm. If you don't have a radio then you can listen online via the BBC website but only if you are in the UK thanks to some damn fool copyright nonsense.

The show will also be available on the iPlayer for 10 days after it goes on the air.

[ Radio 4 ]

  • Permanent Wave

    @ Article 19

    I understood Mr Pollard's position clearly without having it interpolated thanks.

    I too work in the (subsidised) arts sector and I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the not uncommon practice of paying people out of the public purse to make and perform work of doubtful quality that will be watched by people who have been raised in the expectation that they shouldn't have pay the true cost of it - although most of them could easily afford to do so.

    Of course there weren't a great deal of stats bandied about because they don't support the case for subsidy. If we've learned anything from the Taking Part survey data it is that, despite all efforts at socially engineering audiences for the arts for the best part of a generation, the regular and consistent audience for the arts is still predominantly from AB and C1, the middle to high income bracket of society. The lottery - from which most arts subsidy is derived - is played predominantly by those in C2 an D, the lower income bracket. So the poor are actively subsidising the better off.

    Please don't trot out some tired old line (as I heard Gabriella Swallow do recently in a debate on this topic) about nobody compelling people to play the Lottery. So overty and loss of hope aren't compulsions then? Please also don't claim that art can be a solution to the aforementioned.

    The arts and culture asked for (demanded?) a place at the table in government and got it in the form of the DCMS (and its precursor). Almost as soon as we got there we started whinging and whining about wanting to be treated and assessed differently to everyone else at the same table competing for a share of the same resources.

    I'm not arguing here for an end to arts subsidy, just for a better, more honest and more credible defense of it - one that is properly evidenced and that gets beyond empty rhetoric about 'texture' and 'reach' . While some might prefer to think of public funding for the arts as existing in a world apart, unfortunately it doesn't. It needs a defense that is as credible as that made for government subsidy to farming, combating the effects of climate change or medical research, with which it finds itself in direct competition. Unfortunately, the arts sector has traditionally had a massive resistance to data collection and evidence gathering, claiming that it's all much too difficult to quantify. Perhaps one positive outcome of the current crunch will be that the sector is finally compelled to get over itself and get on with it.

    Or die. Because that may well be the stark choice.

  • So one minute we were depending on stats and the next we're not, make your mind up.

    It's a little bit ridiculous trying to counter a point in this comment thread about a discussion that took place somewhere else that nobody else is familiar with but you.

    Most arts subsidy is not derived from the lottery. The lottery funds GFA which is dwarfed by ACE's central government source of funding.

    If you had been keeping up with current events then you would know the arts share of lottery funding has been eviscerated by the Olympics but please don't let facts get in the way of your anonymous rhetoric.

    While we're on the subject of the Lottery. When you play the lottery your side of the bargain is a chance to win the lottery. If someone buys an iPod from Apple their side of the bargain is an ipod, they don't get to tell Apple how to spend the money. You buy a ticket with your eyes wide open to how that money will be used.

    Please don't give us the tired old nonsense that everything needs to make money in order to justify its existence, that statistical data gathering can reveal the true benefit of everything.

    If you really do work in the subsidised arts sector and you get no personal joy, inspiration, information or empowerment, if nothing thought provoking ever passes before your eyes, then perhaps you would do better to seek employment with Mr Osbourne and his d-list economists in the Treasury.

    If you do get any of those things from the work you see then how exactly would you quantify its importance to you in a survey?

  • James

    We need art for generations to survive after they have passed. If we didn't have art and music all we would remember is the wars!
    If you take away art 2000-2010 will only be remembered for terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

  • Permanent Wave

    Having tuned in and listened to this debate with an open mind, I found myself more and more swayed to the side of the proposer of the motion. The so-called sector leaders arrayed for the defense did nothing but spout the usual tired rhetoric and make entirely unsupported statistical assertions. The arts sector response rarely rose above the usual manichean claptrap that commercial success and instrumental value are evil and market failure and intrinsic value are good.

    If this is the most robust set of arguments that the best minds of the arts establishment can come up with to justify continued public subsidy, then it's a lost cause - and maybe it should be.

  • Well, we didn't hear a lot of stats on the show, which is a god thing, because the arguments in favour of arts funding need to be about more than money or commercial viability.

    There is no "intrinsic" or "instrumental" value in the arts in so much as we can live without them but would we really want to? We could live without a lot of things but would we really want to?

    As was said on the show it all comes down to what kind of country you want to live in. Do you want a richly textured nation that offers more than just existence to its people and entertainment and art pared down to the lowest common denominator simply because it has mass appeal and may or may not make money.

    That particular format is not ideal for making nuanced arguments about a complex issue. The response from Mr Pollard to the email from the resident of the Scottish Highlands on £7K per year who stated that there would be no art/culture for him sans subsidy was a simple "Tough!"

    Speaks volumes about his position we feel.

  • James

    Thanks for fighting for us Article19.
    Honestly don't know how you managed to keep your temper with those idiots!

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