A trilogy on the sense and senselessness of looking at dance as work.
In “perform performing,” dancer Jochen Roller explores the conditions under which he practices his profession.
In the work’s first part, NO MONEY, NO LOVE , Roller, assuming that work means earning a salary, calculates how much he earns with his work and what dance actually costs. In light of insufficient state funding, he acknowledges that one must do several other professions in order to continue working as a dancer. In NO MONEY, NO LOVE, he demonstrates to the audience how one can still rehearse and produce a dance performance during work hours. In each job – whether as an H & M salesman, a call-center agent at the German railroad, or an escort-service employee – Roller draws analogies to his actual profession of dancer. From these jobs’ work conditions comes NO MONEY, NO LOVE, a performance in which a dancer performs other work to earn money.
In the second part of the trilogy, ART GIGOLO, Roller questions the relevance of dance as art and the concept of state cultural funding. What tax monies are actually danced away? Why must art be subsidized by the state? And how does a dancer justify what he does? In search of answers to the question of the value of his art, Roller focuses in ART GIGOLO on the position he takes in the labour market with his profession. He wants to know whether his work is even worth it: Using the methods of a managing consultant, he explores the economical and societal relevance of his art production. Here, he comes to the conclusion that art is never worth it when one begins to calculate. So he offers himself to his audience as an ART GIGOLO who satisfies his need for art arising from pure love.
In the third part of the trilogy, THAT’S THE WAY I LIKE IT, Roller attempts to develop a vision for the future. How does one behave as an artist when the societal demand for art seems to have declined and state cultural funding has been cut so far that it no longer exists? Unable to answer this existential question as an artist whose work foundation is retracted, he interrogates himself in the form of five German taxpayers who share his name and subsidize the work of dancer Jochen Roller with their work. In the dialogues with these doppelgänger, he develops different models of a cultural-political view of the future marked by the work-related and sociological realities in which each Jochen Roller lives. Jochen Roller asks Jochen Roller about the value of art, what role art plays in the life of Jochen Roller and what Jochen Roller would like to see onstage. In this way, he hopes to find out what other Jochen Rollers do for society in his name and investigates the function of identity-creating work, in order to finally be able to answer the question of whether looking at dance as work is senseful – or senseless.
“If you don‘t start out with canvas, you do all kinds of things, you sit in a chair and pace around. Then the question goes back to what art is. And art is what an artist does, just sitting around in his studio.”