Tango is a practice already ready for struggle. It knows about taking sides, positions, risks. It has the experience of domination/resistance from within. Tango, stretching the colonized stereotypes of the latino-macho-Catholic fatalism, is a language of decolonization. So, pick and choose. Improvise. Hide away. Run after them. Stay still. Move at an astonishing speed. Shut up. Scream a rumor. Turn around. Go back without returning. Upside down. Let your feet do the thinking. Be comfortable in your restlessness. Tango.- Marta E. SaviglianoTango and the Political Economy of Passion
On Tango Interventions, an Artist's Statement in Progress:
- The Tango Intervention (in)tends to interrupt business as usual.
- The Tango Intervention (in)tends to recreate stereotypes and then undermine them.
- The Tango Intervention (in)tends to reclaim public space with beautiful acts of intimacy.
- The Tango Intervention (in)tends to be apolitical in performance and political in evaluation.
- The Tango Intervention (in)tends to be negotiable.
- The Tango Intervention (in)tends to not yet be defined.
- The Tango Intervention (in)tends to ask what it should become.
- The Tango Intervention (in)tends to invite your comments.
In the post 9/11 political context I have been increasingly interested in forms of social interruption. Although I consider Tango Interventions to be political, I want them to seem non-political at first encounter. I want to avoid a polemic reaction of public avoidance that comes all too quickly in our current political environment when people are confronted with a public display of political intention. I want to 'intervene', gently and with humor, not with a political 'march', but rather a 'dance'. As with all my work (www.h-e-r-e.com), the seemingly 'essentialist' nature of the work on the surface is deconstructed by a website that accompanies each of my pieces in the physical world. It is imperative to me that the work exists with both a political intention and a simultaneous apolitical intention.
On a more personal note, The Tango Intervention Series comes from a combination of my own impulses toward integration and toward interruption. I want to interrupt public-space expectations, and for many years I have also wanted to integrate into my art practice a part of my life that until now has been very separate, my practice of dancing Argentine Tango.
The world of Tango is full of stereotypes and rather naïve assumptions of essentialist transcendence. However, a simplistic perception and criticism of these qualities of Tango actually mask much more interesting undercurrents. Tango, before and after the clichés, is a rich subculture that is at once rooted and migratory, tradition-bound and constantly mutable. It is a highly dynamic and complex social lens through which can be examined innumerable elements of identity in an era of globalization. It is also a damn fine dance.
In contradiction to the clichéd public image, Tango is essentially an intimate private action. Those who understand Tango consider it a 'conversation' between two people. A great number of those who dance tango seriously are rather disdainful of the 'image' of tango as the production of an image'. Unlike ballroom dancing or dance on a stage, Argentine Tango is not "performed" to be seen. It is danced only for the pleasure of the dancers. This aspect of the dance I strive to maintain even as I make the dance part of a public action. This inherent contradiction is 'content'. In a Tango Intervention the dance is never choreographed or altered to "play to the crowd". The intention in a Tango Intervention is always for two people to share a dance for each other and certainly not to perform a dance for those watching. The preservation of this essential intimacy in the context of a public and ultimately political performance is a primary principle of the Tango Intervention Series.
I invite other interpretations.
- Robert Lawrence