November 30, 2015

Tania Canas Quote

.



We are not a resource to feed into your next artistic project. You may be talented at your particular craft but do not assume that this automatically translates to an ethical, responsible and self-determining process. Understand community cultural development methodology but also understand that it is not a full-proof methodology. Who and what institutions are benefiting from the exchange?

- Tania Canas, from Some points to consider if you’re an artist who wants to make work about refugees 


[You can read the rest of the essay here.]



.

November 29, 2015

Patricia Boushel Facebook post concerning of the North

.



"Many of us watched the of the North controversy billow up over the course of the past week. It’s fascinating to witness something that so few people saw gain such traction, but it’s also heartening that the reaction was so strong. Though social media is a terrifying identity construction machine through which we pick and choose the values by which we wish to be known by others and an arguably imbalanced tool for popular education, it’s an easy outlet for denouncing and condemning racism. Many wish for there to be a greater share of consideration, understanding and love towards those who’ve been especially disadvantaged, dispossessed and whose well-being is still not the bottom line of our own free will. I tried to watch the film, but by the time I got around to it, the circulated link was removed. We've heard from articulate folks that it is cruel, and I've heard from very wise and loving people that it was also beautiful. I vacillate between desire to have accessed the coveted object of discussion and the discomfort of yet again being in a position of witnessing a stilted perspective enabled by a tool for self-broadcast and public institutions that intend on increasing diversity content, and crafted by a singular privileged viewpoint. Rationally, the film being seen by more people could create a better context for conversation about its controversial content, and yet intuitively, the film being seen by more people will invariably wound the people in it, as well as so many others who identify with them. This isn’t about censorship against free speech, political correctness against artistry. The time of distanced, self-profiting voyeuristic cultural practices, particularly in our post-Truth and Reconciliation nation(s) is over. And how about making humility as valuable as creativity?

-  Patricia Boushel



.

November 28, 2015

When people hear the word racist...

.



When people hear the word racist their first impulse is to become defensive, to say that they're not racist, etc. But we were all raised in a racist and sexist culture and we all have racism inside of us. It only gets worse if you disavow it.



.

November 27, 2015

In the interview...

.



In the interview he says "it's not a racist film." But for me this isn't possible. If we are both reasonable people, and you think the film is not racist, and I think that it is, than for you the film is not racist and for me it is. We have different histories, different experiences, and different ways of understanding these issues and questions. It is a debate. It cannot suddenly, objectively become one or the other. The fact that people are protesting the film opens the question and keeps it open. The next question is where do we go from there. And whose opinion gets to dominate the conversation. And is there any possibility that the discussion might actually lead somewhere productive, towards more justice and less racism in the world. All these questions are further complicated by our overwhelming - historical and current - situation of structural inequality.



.

November 25, 2015

Art and Politics

.



Every time I have an argument about art and politics it strikes me anew: how weak I am at engaging with people I disagree with. And how little experience I actually have with the task.



.

November 24, 2015

Nostalgia

.



Reading Carl Wilson on Adele started to make me incredibly nostalgic for a time "when self-consciously cool people put populist music down on principle." (But if I think about it more, I feel what we need isn't a return to cool elitism but rather more praise and attention for work that is in continuity and dialog with the rage of Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, The Mongrel Coalition Against Gringpo, current feminist waves, etc.)



.

November 19, 2015

I've started saying I'm semi-retired

.



"Beware the barrenness of a busy life." - Socrates



I've started saying I'm semi-retired. It's both a light joke and deadly serious, as if my life depended on it. So far, in what we might call reality, I'm working more or less as much as I ever have. But my attitude towards this work is hopefully, gradually starting to change. Saying I'm semi-retired is a critique of the fact that, as an artist, I feel I'm under constant pressure to over-produce. As soon as I finish one project I'm already being asked what the next project is. It seems there is a natural, unspoken assumption that what an artist does is produce a never-ending supply of works that fulfill an equally never-ending series of empty slots within various institutions, projects and structures.

I'm naturally somewhat prolific, so overproduction has never seemed like an impossible task. But I've also felt that, for me, being artistically prolific is almost like a bad habit. I think the absolutely hardest thing to do as an artist is to keep making good work, work with integrity, over an entire lifetime. (I have now been making work for twenty-five years which is perhaps why these questions are now hitting me with such peculiar force.) I've always thought that the best way to last is to produce less, to really consider each step and never unnecessarily rush into anything. At the same time, at certain moments, a sense of recklessness and spontaneity is also essential. It's not like I've got it all figured out. And I don't exactly want to figure it out. I want to remain open enough to whatever happens that I might still end up somewhere I previously didn't even have the tools to consider possible.

Nonetheless, I've started saying I'm semi-retired. It has something to do with no longer feeling I have to do everything, feeling some things are more important than others and my actions have to reflect such values and realities. One definition of capitalism is an insatiable need for growth, for more, always more, and I feel as an artist, often living hand to mouth, I am also expected to do both as much as possible and often more than I can. I am searching for ways to say, more clearly than I have before, that this is not where it's at. Time needs to be understood in other ways. We'll still have to see in the future whether saying I'm semi-retired is only wishful thinking or, to put it more bluntly, to what degree I end up a hypocrite. But more is certainly not always more.



Finally, as a critique of many of the assumptions in what I've just written, I will finish with - and very much hope you will read - this piece by Pampi Thirdeyefell: Art with Teeth because #CreativesLabor



.

November 17, 2015

Dream

.



Last night I dreamt I was an arsonist. As I headed to set one last fire, I got a text saying "it's a trap," turned around, and decided to go see art instead.



.