“It started with a kiss”

by Hot Chocolate.

Couldn’t help but playing along the line of yesterday’s conversation between Siegmar Zacharias and Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt; a dialogue obstructed – or generated – by the premise to initiate every input in the conversation with a song title. An exercise in the mastery of associating and a rather entertaining way to expose laws of conversing.

What I instead wanted to point out with the kiss-reference was something we discussed on the train to Malmø last Friday; the peculiar love affair between two parties in a performance duo. Well, in most cases it isn’t really a love affair in that ordinary sense, you know. But apparently some sort of love there is. One is likely to call the other one his or her duo partner. And more over, one can experience feelings of jealousy if the so-called partner engages with other performers – not to talk about the eventual break up which can be immensely hurtful, leaving the left one in deep, long-lasting sorrow.

And this is where I’ll be that one who quotes from a hopelessly non-contemporary source.
Rollo May, an old fashioned American psychologist (very  annoying reading from a non-heterosexual viewpoint), mostly active in the late 1960s and 1970s, did have a few good points about love – and will. And especially his approach to the many facets of love can be rewarding. In a way. Not so much perhaps. I’ll mention it anyway.
May specifies five sides of love:

  • Sex : Lust, tension release;
  • Eros : Procreative love, savoring, experiential;
  • Philia : Brotherly love, liking;
  • Agape : Unselfish love, devotion to the welfare of others;
  • Authentic love : Incorporates all other types of love.

I’m not going to dive into details about it, but I’d like to just add these concepts of love to the above mentioned discussion about whether to talk about love in the context of artistic duo-collaboration. One can safely speak of love – because no collaboration is likely to be successful without Eros, Philia and Agape. Okay, I guess we’re stuck on the border of Sex. My point is crumbling a bit.

But look at this then:
“Eros cannot live without philia, brotherly love and friendship. The tension of continuous attraction and continuous passion would be unbearable if it lasted forever. Philia is the relaxation in the presence of the beloved which accepts the other’s being as being; it is simply liking to be with the other, liking to rest with the other, liking the rhythm of the walk, the voice, the whole being of the other. Philia does not require that we do anything for the beloved except accept him, be with him and enjoy him. It is friendship in the simplest, most direct terms.” (May, Love and Will, 1969)

Eros, which is essential to creative production, needs the stability of a long-lasting collaboration to continue being active. What duo partners often mention is the period that follows in the wake of the first project as being a period of conflicts. Like when a roaring infatuation subsides. – But then the real cooperation begins to take shape. And This is where May’s point about will comes in. We need to decide for it too. We need to choose the our work partners. Not once. Not twice. But over and over again.

Okay okay, I know. It’s a namby-pamby post this one. But one cannot avoid sliding into the connotations of love when discussing the matter of duo work. I’ll make sure to be a little less fluffy when hitting the subjects of money and precarity.

“Ain’t gonna kiss ya” by The Searchers.

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