Dogma 2005 explained for children

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1.

You’re not an artist, you’re a person.

2.

Don’t think you’re gonna make a piece about “love”. Think you’re gonna make a piece. Only. And you can believe that’s more than enough.

3.

Wait for the “idea”, whatever that is, to come to you. Don’t run after it like a little puppy runs after a stick. Instead of saying “I’ve gotta have an idea”, say “I’ve gotta stop being a little puppy running after a stick”.

4.

That is, be lazy and be proud of that. Everything that you search is in the context around you. If you’re really fair with that context, you will notice that what you search is really stitched to your nose. Relax, you don’t need to search much more…

5.

Because it’s gonna be difficult for people to believe that what you’re saying is true, document everything that happens from now on: take pictures, make films, write, create little mind games to remember things, come up with ways of keeping memories alive, thus saving them from their inevitable death.

6.

Tell always the truth. First to yourself, then to the others. More than an artist, you’re an anthropologist, an ethnologist, a historian, a scientist, an investigator. No, you’re not a politician, nor an advertising professional, and even less an art critic.

7.

Make many questions, but don’t expect any answers.

8.

Don’t think about final results. Produce “results” as you go living through the situations, without actually being really conscious that instead of being “in process”, you are actually “in result”.

9.

To separate theory and practice is the same thing as to try to separate the front and the back side of a piece of paper. That is: the impossible. You’d better give up that…

10.

The same goes for the separation between process and result.

11.

The same goes for the separation between question and answer.

12.

Forget everything that you have been told. Make a blank slate, become a white page, start everything anew, or start everything again.

13.

Don’t try to be more cool, interesting or important than your project. Let your project be and live accordingly to its own rules. It’s not just because you like very much “blue” that you go about and paint everything blue, unless a blue pot of paint falls on your head even before you start thinking of painting things blue or in any other color.

14.

That is, accept things as they are. Don’t try to make them become better, more interesting, fancier, more important. Remember that “the best is not necessarily good”, Thomas Hirschhorn would say…

15.

All the people that cross your way — potential spectators, effective spectators, specialized spectators, unexpected spectators, interested or non-interested spectators, and so on —, make part of your context. Don’t eliminate them; that is, include them and give them power to change your project. That is, give them power to change you.

16.

However, forget that useless bloody thing called “interactivity”. People who want to be entertained in such a childish way can actually go to an amusement park. Don’t give them “tasks”, give them “responsibility”. If they don’t like it, they can always leave.

17.

That is, your work is about “showing on”, not “showing out”.

18.

Ah! Don’t come with mysteries. Tell everything what there is to be told. And tell it in a way that is fast, concise and simple. Don’t come with hiding the minor details, or defragmenting the narrative, changing the chronology, creating illusions of time-space. Before being an artist, you’re a journalist, whom the task was given to communicate an event in a way that is so simple that even a child would understand. Try to answer the key-questions: who?, where?, when?, how? and why?. And your job is done.

19.

You’re not gonna make a “video”, nor a “photography”, nor a “text”, nor a “choreography”, nor a “performance”, nor an “installation”, nor a “happening”, nor a “cross-disciplinary project”. The name of your ‘thing’ is the name it already has. The means are just ‘means’; they are not ‘ends’.

20.

If you ever feel lost or in need for a “proper” methodology for your work, just stay there where you are. Don’t worry! Who has ever told you that the methodology has to be defined/chosen first? You’ve been fooled… Just breathe, count to ten, imagine that you are a big mountain, and follow your way.

21.

Rehearsal?? Forget it…

22.

Authorship?? No. Mediation! You are a mediator between those who are there to get to know something and the things you are meant to communicate. That is: you have the mission to share your scientific discovery with the world. It was you who discovered it, that’s right, but that doesn’t mean that it is to you that it “belongs”.

23.

Yes, it’s about your life that we are talking about. Don’t try to escape it…

24.

Yes, it’s about personal exposure that we are talking about. Don’t try to escape it either…

25.

Yes, it’s about the annulment of the “artistic freedom” you think you have for the sake of a new and more authentic “artistic freedom” that you didn’t ever dream you had.

26.

Yes, this project has to leave a mark on you. For real. And forever.

27.

And this is only “artistic” because you said so. The formal dimension that defines what is “artistic” is worthless and vain. What really matters is the contract that we have decided upon: what we are gonna see/experience next IS “artistic”.

28.

Oh, and that little plastic cup that you have in your hands is to drink, remember? It’s not to put on top of your head as if it was a hat, or just to be “crazy”…

29.

But what really matters the most is: either you follow these rules, or you don’t. Don’t waste your time trying to discuss them, to respond to them, to deconstruct them, to agree or to disagree with them. At the same time, there’s no point in turning these rules into a sort of “religion”, a “political party”, a post-modern “artistic movement” or a New Age sort of silly “spirituality”… It is worthless trying to convince the other people than this is ‘right’. Because it IS and it IS NOT. At the same time… Just play the game and be a professional Dogma’s “employee”.

30.

In the end you’ll realize you have done “art” without having thought beforehand it was “art” what you were doing. Isn’t that fantastic? Because most of the times, the film is more important than the making of’; some other times, rarely, is the ‘making of’ who’s more important than the film. For Dogma, that binary division is pointless: the ‘making of’ IS the film.

[2007]

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