Everything is art/work.

another artists sharism.

Month: March, 2012

A Positive Paper.

Can the news be positive? Why do our media focus on the bad?

I did a show on empathy fatigue a while ago. It explored the overwhelming feeling you get when you feel you have no empathy to give…and the guilt and complex feelings that are associated.
This was in 2009, post tsunamis, black saturday, lots of horrific things. When the world seemed to be crumbling around us.

But now, I feel like there is more hope. And with that, the ability to empathise more. To find space for others. I think, for me, this is tied up in the Occupy Movement, the power of a critical mass and the feeling that change is coming. Somehow.

There is an excellent project that the Yes Men did in 2008. It was a replica New York Times dated six months into the future that wrote of positive outcomes. “All the news we hope to print.” You can see it here.

What would we hope in the next year to happen?
Who would be our heroes.
Our heroines.
A positive natural disaster.
Education revolution.
Compulsory gap year of volunteering for school graduates.
Ethics uprising.
Scientific developments.
Refugee Detention centres replaced with luxury hotel accommodation.
Indigenous issues addressed.
Bike paths extravaganza. Helmet laws abolished.

To be Continued.


Vulnerability. Trust. Hope. Touch.

I did a show last year that used this cycle. It was something very personal about my own journey, and struggle with trying to be optimistic:

I recently read this article by Bene Brown. She talks about the power of vulnerability:

“When we wake up every morning and armour up and say “I’m not gonna let myself be hurt. I’m not goinna let myself be seen, I’m not gonna let myself be emotionally wrung out, I’m conna protect my vulnerabiliyt.

When we lose that capacity for vulnerability joy becomes foreboding, because in those moments where we feel joy, the first thing we think is, “uh-uh. You will not blindside me, vulnerability”.”

“Is there an emotion more vulnerable than joy?”

I feel like this ties in with the above diagram. About optimism. About hope. About the circle of my own optimism.

Reading the article also made me realise that I am perhaps a little too vulnerable around people. That in fact, my own innate sense of self preservation has disappeared, and this is perhaps why I personally find myself in these situations. [please excuse the therapy session]

This brings me to trust.
Trust in friends to be vulnerable. In partners. In family. In others.
Bene Brown believes you are lucky to have only one or two people in your lifetime that you can truly trust. That you can feel vulnerable with.

How does this relate to my practice?

I saw Oraculus by Teatro de los Sentidos a couple of weeks ago. Audience members enter alone and go through about 20 small experiences. Most with a performer.

It is dark. Very dark. And maze-like as you wonder from dark and quiet space to  dark and quiet space.

KEY to this experience is the trust of the audience. There are moments at the beginning where you aren’t really sure what you’re in for…but you kind of take the risk and keep going, and are rewarded with the experience.

And a big part of this is touch. The power of gentle touch.
Holding someone’s hand.
Taking something from someone.
Someone taking something from you.
Both holding the end of a piece of string and pulling until it breaks.
An arm wrestle.
Lying beside someone in a bed of wheat.
Having your feet washed.
Having your hands washed.

Touch + Trust.
Don’t we feel the implicitness of it?
When we’re blindfolded isn’t it the sense we want to be led by the most? A firm grip?
Why words are so unsatisfactory via skype/phone to a lover.
Why all we want to do for a friend is give them a hug.

Touch is the only one of our five senses that doesn’t lose its potency with age…. There are small things that tell us this. We like to have our hair washed and combed; we like to have pedicures; we like to stroke each other and to be stroked, even in small ways.”

-Rhoda P Curtis.

At the SENS lab in 2011, I investigated trust. I tried to find a metaphor for this – and cutting hair was it.
I was amazed at how trusting the children were. In fact, they were more trusting about me cutting their hair, than I was theirs.

It’s almost as if I can set up a form of trust at the beginning through touch then maybe I can take someone quickly somewhere interesting. A little risk. A little leap.
Where I catch.
And there’s trust….

Post Pozible

Pozible is the new black.

Every creative and their paintbrush is on it. And with good reason. The success rate is high. It’s less paper work than funding applications. And quick!

I just completed one. Yes. Woop. Aren’t I lucky? Blessed, I’d even say. Grateful. Overwhelmed….but there is a little part of me that feels uncomfortable, and I’d like to explore this here.

I have an art project that I do under a different name. Anyone that bothers to read this post probably knows that. It is a project that has engaged with over 500 strangers, had over 16,000 blog hits, 30 subscribers and 80 “strangers” that have commented on the blog.

When I put together my Pozible plan, these were the people I thought would be the ones to donate. Those not in the arts. Those that worked in the city (where the project is located). Those that were already engaged in the project. Delighted by the project. Fans, even.

However. Only 6% of these people donated. I sent personal emails to the 100 subscribers & comment-ers…and…2 donated. So although these people had already invested time and written to me…only 2 spent time donating. Is anyone else surprised?

Similarly when Frankie magazine fb and tweeted the project, 200 people re-tweeted and shared, but only $6 was donated.

It soon became apparent that those that donated were those that had some connection to me, and not the project. 66% of donations were from friends of mine (facebook or other).

In the pie chart across I’ve categorised each supporter into one of four categories.

[These “strangers” were people I didn’t know. These could have been other friends of friends, those that saw posts through frankie & lipmag, or those that just trawl pozible etc..]

These statistics made me feel a little uncomfortable. Were people donating because they simply knew me and I was asking? Or was it because they supported my work?

The other trend that concerned me was of the 67% of friends who donated, 66% were practicing artists that I know are trying to fund their own work too. Their generosity particularly touches me.

While at first I felt a pang of guilt at this, I soon promised myself that I would donate time or money back to each artist. Whether it be donating to their own pozible campaign, spruiking their work or buying a ticket.

And then I thought…I wonder if actually this is how generosity works? Generosity begets generosity?

And maybe all artists have luck at different times. Sometimes you’re ok with cash, other times you’re struggling. What if we passed this wealth around one another?

“I’m short on cash now, but when I’m a little richer I’ll donate back to you.”

Maybe this is what’s going to happen? Does Pozible actually foster generosity within the arts community? I like this thought…

2c worth.
Love to hear your comments.


Note to self.

1) Do not do 3 different project showings in 1 week.

2) The Ian Potter application deadline is the date that it needs to be IN THE OFFICE. Not the postmarked date (as is with most other applications).

3) Time your publicity carefully. We had over 500 hits on our pozible page after Frankie tweeted and fb about it. This was 30 days out, and we received a total of $6.

4) Viral sharing, does not equal donations. We had 70 tweets and 150 fb likes after the Frankie shout-out. But again, only $6.

6) When failing, it’s great to be busy, as the failings don’t seem too big.
You. Just. Keep. Going.