The Ethical Artist’s Cosmology

Cue Positions, 2013 London symposium

This was a game structure that I proposed for Bellyflop Magazine’s 2013 London symposium Cue Positions, & was based on The Cosmos Game, which I learned from Martin Keogh, & which is great for getting an idea about where people “stand” on any given issue & place it in space. 

Everyone involved stands in a circle with an imaginary center point. A number of statements are thrown in, such as “I prefer to work with fewer people if it means I can pay them fairly” or “I take dance classes from people who are more likely to offer me a job than others.” The people in the circle then move closer or further away from the center, depending on how strongly they agree/disagree with the statement (neutral would be in the middle). Public opinion becomes spatial.

After the following prepared statements, I invited the other participants to throw in statements that they would like to see spatialized:

  • I will work with fewer people if it means i can pay them fairly.
  • A dance maker’s aesthetic & their politics are inextricably linked.
  • I’m more likely to take a dance class or workshop from someone who can potentially offer me a job.
  • I need one day a week off from work.
  • I take one day a week off from work.
  • Having children is compatible with achieving my career goals.
  • Hierarchy is always evil.
  • I am mostly friends with people who enjoy the same things in dance that i do.
  • If one of my friends gets a lot of funding, i’m happy for them.
  • If I get a job that I can’t do, I try to pass it on to someone that I trust ideologically.
  • I have never put broken glass in anybody else’s pointe shoes.
  • I work mainly with people of the same racial or ethnic background as myself.
  • I mainly collaborate with people of a similar income level to myself.
  • I work mostly with people who are between 20 & 40 years old.
  • I think it’s impossible to perform any ritualized activity in a public sphere that is politically neutral.
  • I feel in some way superior to people who do not do artistic work.
  • My work tries to provide a model for the world the way i wish it to be.
  • My work suggests the world the way i’m afraid it is.
  • Right now, we should be doing something to help typhoon victims in the Philippines instead.
  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • Money is positive energy flow.
  • I try to make work in the most ecologically sustainable way possible.
  • I party strategically.





I believe that part of working ethically as an artist involves crediting one’s sources, so here are mine for the game. They all gave valuable input, with varying degrees of consent. With love:

  • Bill T. Jones
  • Dasniya Sommer
  • Dieter Heitkamp
  • Ishmael Houston-Jones
  • Jean-Lorin Sterian
  • Joris Camelin
  • Julia Jadkowski
  • Kenta Shibasaki
  • Mårten Spångberg
  • Martin Keogh
  • Michaël d’Auzon
  • Michael Rauter
  • Nicole Berndt-Caccivio
  • Peter Pleyer
  • Rebecca Egeling
  • Tessa Wills
  • Tova Gerge