ABOUT "NO MONEY, NO LOVE" AND "YOUR MONEY MAKES IT HAPPEN"
“No Money, No
Love" says Jochen Roller. And this is the title of a performance which he
toured to 44 venues in 12 countries with altogether
147 evening performances in 7 years. "No money no love ... that's how it felt
like when I was making the piece", Roller says. "I was flat broke."
In the performance,
dancer and choreographer Jochen Roller explores the conditions under which he
practices his profession.[i]
He has to take on several other jobs unwillingly in order to continue creating
his dance works. Assuming that job means earning a salary, he calculates how
much he earns with his job and what his dance actually costs. He demonstrates
to the audience how he can still rehearse and produce a dance performance
beside his job. He eventually continues to create his dance piece during his
working hours in each job - whether as an H&M salesman[ii], a call-center agent at
the German railway[iii], or an
performance it often happens that the audience asks Roller if he really did do
these jobs. And his answer is "yes". Yet, as a matter of fact, it is an ironical
consequence that Roller became a full-time dancer by creating this performance.[v]
Being Christina Aguilera is a short choreography to the
music of Christina
Aguilera's What A Girl Wants, which
Roller made and danced in the performance.[vi]
And after some calculation he concludes that Being Christina Aguilera cost 60 Euros for him to make, and takes
exactly one minute to dance. Being
Christina Aguilera has a sequence in which Roller has to wait 2 seconds for
a cue in the music. "Since the whole Being
Christina Aguilera cost 60 Euros, it is 2 Euros for this moment", he
explains. "It's really a good price for this moment."[vii]
Roller tells that his
most special performing experience was in Beirut: He had a performance one
evening in January 2006 when Israeli Prime Minister Sharon fell into a coma and
rumours about a new war spread.[viii] By the time Roller
prepared for the evening performance, the streets were filled with tanks and
soldiers. People came to the theatre a few hours earlier because it was a place
where people could gather. "My rehearsal was in front of people who hung around
in the theatre, talking to each other, making phone calls or eating, as if I
had not been there." People also came because it was unique that a theatre was playing under
such circumstances. Roller remembers the quietness and concentration of the
audience that evening. And when he came out into the foyer after the show
there was a long queue with the entire audience waiting for him to shake hands
and say thank you.
After 7 years
of performing No Money, No Love,
Jochen Roller decided to end this performance with an auction-event entitled Your Money Makes It Happen. He
collaborated with the auction house Christie's[ix]:
This summer on the 13th of August, right after his last performance of No Money, No Love at the former stock
exchange house in Hamburg, Alte Börse Hamburg[x],
the auctioneers from Christie's appeared on stage and auctioned Jochen
Roller's "objects" from the performance. In the catalogue accompanying the
auction one can see titles, photos and short descriptions of ten objects. Below
are some of the "objects" at the auction.
Object No. 001
Washed over 200 times
Object No. 002
Ballpoint pen on paper
Hidden on stage in 132 performances
Object No. 003
"Being Christina Aguilera"
Length 1 minute
Object No. 005
Lost and found in Paris, Bucharest and Beirut
Object No. 007
Used from13.8 till 26.9.2002
Stolen by the artist from the German Rail
Object No. 010
the last performance (#147)
Recorded on Microcassette
Unikat, Original edition
The items carry
the history of the performance that carries the history of Roller's personal,
and kind of autobiographical, tales of making the performance. Items become
evidence of the journey that Roller took with the performance.
The description text of object no.
002 written by Roller reads: "The biggest fear at performing is the fear of having
a blackout. You stand on stage not knowing what to do or what to say. (...)
Therefore I have always hidden a note on stage, which I can have a glance at in
an emergency. On this note the order of the scenes as well as the first
sentence of each scene is listed."
As object no. 003 Roller offered a license to his choreography Being Christina Aguilera: He would
later teach the buyer how to dance Being Christina Aguilera; the buyer will own the dance once he has learned it. "But at first
no one wanted Being Christina Aguilera, although that
was my favourite item." Roller seems a little disappointed.[xi] Being Christina Aguilera was finally bought for
300 Euros by a gentleman in his mid-40ies.[xii]
suitcase was bought for 900 Euros and the auction gathered 5,600 Euros in
total. Roller goes on: the money will be given to an idea for a new dance and
performance work through open-call.[xiii] Christie's joined this auction as a charity and gave
the full profit to Roller and his idea of supporting a new work through
open-call. "Charity. This word says everything about the state of contemporary
dance", says Jochen Roller.
[i] No Money, No Love is the first piece of the three-part series Perform Performing dealing with the
working conditions of contemporary dancers. The two other pieces are titled Art Gigolo and That's The Way I Like It.
[ii] Earned about 15
German Marks, about 8 Euros per hour. If you would like to work at H&M
Germany, here is the link: https://hm.myvurv.taleo.net/main/careerportal/default.cfm?szUniqueCareerPortalID=f5453a3d-e856-4ee3-b1f2-40f6d289524f
[iii] Customers were
always mad at the telephone operators after waiting for over 5 minutes holding
their phone until they finally got through. If you are interested in working
[iv] "It was a fun job and I earned double
of what I used to earn as a dancer", says Roller. There is no link
[v] Roller started earning more than
ever in his life too.
choreography is based on the music video by Christina Aguilera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKZOj8zjmoI
[vii] After performing
this sequence so many times, Roller earned more than he spent for creating
concerning this two seconds.
[ix] It could have been
Sotheby's as well.
[xi] "In the end it seemed like any other auction, selling
the shoes of Nijinsky", Roller comments.
[xii] Names of buyers at
the auction are confidential.
[xiii] Here is the open-call text by
colleagues and art lovers,
after 7 years on tour with my solo No
Money, No Love I will present this performance for the last time in Hamburg
on the 13th of August 2009 at the International Summer Festival (www.kampnagel.de/sommerfestival).
After the last show the performance will be put up for auction. Some
choreographies, parts of the costume and set design and unpublished scenes will
be sold in order to raise money for a new performance / intervention about art,
work and love which will presented at the next Summerfestival 2010. If you are
interested in receiving the returns of this art auction, you can apply at:
Conditions are that you can describe your idea in one sentence.
One idea will be selected and will receive the complete returns of the auction.
Best wishes. Jochen Roller