The context for this photo is despair and cloudiness. Throwing my bike down and going to the river. Well, the best “river” I could find. Whenever I feel at my worst I go to the river, I go to the water. And I go to my favorite trees. This is cold February, smelling the earth beneath my ass, feeling the cold ground. Grounding. This is where I am my most basic. Basic I mean elemental.
This is not a pity party and please do not respond with pep-talks. Not that I dont respect pep-talks, it’s just not what I want or feel that I need. I feel more clear now since sitting in the winter leaves. I was thinking a lot about quitting all my artistic projects. Not because I am not interested in them but because the work around art is sometimes so misguided and so easily pulls me off track. I thought about quitting my project with adrienne because we realized that so often we have pain when we work together, a kind of dullness in the passion of creating. I never wanted to get to the point where I am doing the things – all the things – to get the other thing. Posting the thing to talk about the thing. Branding the thing, thinking about how to better brand the thing. Having to do the thing but not wanting to do it in that moment. Having to do this thing because time is writing short. Doing the thing but thinking it could have been better with more time, with more planning. Feeling a lack of time, a lack of planning.
My problem is not lack of interest in conceptual ideas. I think, on the contrary, that I am so excited about talking about ideas, about expressing new ideas, about thinking together with people, about sharing an idea and bouncing it around in my body and with the bodies of others. This is physical art to me – what does it really mean to touch each other? To move each other, to be moved? But so often, lately, I feel lost. I get lost in the details of what it means to be a working artist.
There are many good reasons to put down the process of creating art. There are lots of reasons. For one thing, its not a good, easy, quick way to earn a sustainable living. Its not easy and you have to hustle all the time. You have to work more than you want to work and even then you barely survive. But that’s my choice; I am not a victim of that system entirely, as fucked as the system is, I do this consensually, I do this knowing it is hard.
But on top of knowing that the system can be unfair and difficult to navigate and not clear-cut and affected by oblique capitalist forces, on top of that, I think, I must not be good enough. My ideas must not be good enough, my work must not speak for itself enough. And the truth is, I know that this is true. All these bad feelings are correct. I am right. I am right in the sense that there are so many other people out there who could create art “just as good” as mine, and others who would like to have the opportunities to create and show work as much as I do and who “should” have the right. I do not honestly feel that I am more worthy of anything than another person in this world. I don’t have more right to life or to visibility or to audibility. I say this without, either, a sense of victimhood or guilt. I say this with a clear mind. I know there is not room for everyone at the capitalist table (the capitalist table is the one where everyone can eat and live from their art). There is not even room enough for every person who is under-represented at the capitalist table. There is so little room at the capitalist table.
There IS room in the world, however, for every person and for every person to create. But to create as a capitalist vehicle ? As a means to making money ? No. probably not, even if we all put all of the money we spend on digital devices and threw it into the arts. Even then.
What am I trying to say? I’m trying to say there is no good reason for me to make art other than the bizarre desire to make art and the belief that someone else sometimes gets something meaningful out of it, that maybe one day, one time, someone, somewhere, is moved. And that I love it. That I am moved, that I am feeling moved by others. And more, that without art and artistic experiences, the world would be want for them. And that if I didn’t make art, I would be devastated, depressed, alone, confused, half a person.
But there is no good reason to just do it for doing it, most especially if I am just doing the thing and feeling exhausted by doing the thing and still not doing the thing enough or in the right way. So, you know, thats why Im spending time today, giving breath to these thoughts. I dont expect anything back. I just thought, I have to sit with the feelings that come up and look at this squarely in the face. Even face the fact of my own demise. Face the possibility of the demise of my collaborations and think seriously about what I can do to make a change in my approach to get back to the haptic and sonic and physically embodied critical practices that brought me to wanting to experience art in my own body and with the bodies of others. So I’m sitting here today with that.