A manifesto.

– A manifesto –

Here is a list.
For me.
To remember. To check. To hold. To guide.
Things from the past. Things for the future.
Things I know. Things that I don’t yet.

A line in the sand. I make my mark. Today: Friday 25th November 2011.

My Work:
To interact.
To share.
To play.
To stumble upon.

To create worlds.
Nooks and crannies in which to hide.
Cubbies of escapism.
This started when I was very small.
Trust this history.
Trust that there are those that want this too.

To delight.[1]
In the detail.
In the small.
In the many.
In the large.

Don’t forget there are more than five senses. Use them.
And remember:

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.

Be spontaneous and generous.
Do not be afraid to draw chalk on the footpath.
Or leave notes for strangers.
Or talk to them.

Work from your front door to the other side of the world.
Make tiny, tiny works that happen on your way to the tram stop.
And large planned works that happen over years.
Both support each other.

Text. Design. Space. Performer. Audience.
These are your tools.
Use them as appropriate to the work.
There is no need to use all of them at once, either.

Learn and use different mediums.

Use you.[2]

I am:
A theatre maker
A street artist
A play friend
A Desebrock.
A MacArthur.
A dog owner.
A Scorpio.
A person still growing up.

Circles are a recurring theme.
This might be significant.

Remember your work is for audiences.
Take them on a journey.
Be it physical, emotional or intellectual.

Make the documentation, the funding, the phone calls all part of your practice.
Write how you write.
Photograph how you photograph.
Film how you film.

My Process:

Be brave.
Trust your instinct.
Your intuition.

Be critical, but don’t question your process too much.
Remember the centipede.

There once was a centipede that was amazingly good at dancing with all hundred legs.
A jealous tortoise wrote to the centipede:
“I must know how you go about it when you dance. Is it that you lift your leg number 28 and then your right leg number 39?”
When the centipede read the letter she immediately began to think about what she actually did when she danced. Which leg did she lift first? And which leg next?”
The centipede never danced again.
And that’s the way it goes when imagination gets strangled by reasoned deliberation.
_ Jostein Gaardner,Sophie’s World.

Remember to laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Don’t forget where the work started.
When in doubt go back there.

The environment:
The space is important for a work. Make it important for where you work too.
Spend time on the space you’re working in.
Clean the floors.4
Investigate the nooks.
Paint the walls.
Make it yours.

Think about public vs private space.
Start using your own house.
Your own street.
Your own suburb.
The park bench. The old tree. The swing set.
Invest in umbrellas & ponchos.

When in doubt, take a walk.
The world is your work-space.[3]

You seem to find inspiration in children.
Don’t forget to spend time with them.

In dialogue:

Immerse yourself in work you like.
Visit their work often.
Online & off.

Dedicate time to finding inspiration.
Share it with others.
Engage in dialogue about it.
Through conversation. Writing.

Be curious about work you don’t understand.
Articulate why.
Challenge yourself.

Witness all art forms.

From video, to crocheting, to white-box art, to dance, to finger painting, to cooking, to jewellery making, to architecture, to flower arranging, to movies, to fashion, to design, to writing, to tattooing, to theatre, to art forms you’ve never even thought of.

And then take them into your workspace.
Borrow. Use.[4]
Nothing is original.

Treasure those that you are in dialogue with.
Those relationships are precious.
Find new people too.

Share your work to them when it’s ready.
Get it ready.

Begin trading in outside-eye time with other artists.

Always learn:
Keep your brain active and plastic.[5]

Take time to learn new skills.
Like how to use a drop saw.
An origami bear.

Do short-courses.
In art.
In architecture.
In Danish.

Engage in facilitated dialogue.
Keep in contact with Melbourne networks.
Be generous.

About working solo:
Work alone. But not for every project.

Work like a gardener: pottering, adding, tweaking.
But not all the time.
Change the pace.
Set challenges.
Set tasks.

Stay focused. Stay true. Stay resilient.

See “in dialogue” above. Follow it.

Have a collaborator.
Think about who and how this might function.
Another performer? A director? A designer? An assistant?
Make sure there is someway of debriefing after each performance.
And a way of receiving feedback.

Be aware it’s hard.

About working in collaboration:
Choose who you work with.
Look for those that understand your work.
Be clear about roles, the work and expectations.
Be a leader.
And sometimes, not be a leader.

Take time to create foundations.
Drink beer. Go to the park.
See work together.
Share articles, favourite works.
Take time to find the working relationship.

About the spaces in between:
Have them.
Take time to dream.
Keep up the yoga.
Eat well.
Doodle. Sketch.
Spend time walking. (With a camera sometimes)

Space is important. Try to find it. It allows things to seed.
It’s also an excellent time to make contact with the real world. Don’t forget about the real world – it’s what your work is meant to be about.
Also a good time to make money and get a non-arts job. Don’t devalue it.[6]

The Audience
Be generous to them.
Think about them.
Wonder how they will engage, but leave room for surprises.

Create work for everyone.
Or anyone.
Or someone.
Be clear.

Create in public space. Down the alley. In the tree. Through a window. Behind the postbox. In a phone booth. At the shopping centre.
Somewhere for it to be stumbled upon.

Be brave about talking to strangers.

Don’t make art for artists. It’s not your thing.

Remember Hoefner und Sachs:

Our work is not obvious that it’s an art project. It’s not only for artists but also for the common. It’s not like art in public space, where it’s only for artists. It’s also for the people who live around it and they can deal with it in different ways.”

[taken from here: http://www.gestalten.tv/motion/hoefner-und-sachs]

Make work with and for children.
Make work with and for non-artists.
Make work for the open.
For the closed.
The depressed.
The optimistic.

Be optimistic. But not naïve.
Be prepared for some to not like your work[7].
And others not to engage.
It’s ok to make the audience work for a reward.

Art vs Admin vs Life
Everything is work.
But work isn’t everything.

There will be times of intensity when work will take over your life.
Keep them in perspective.
Remember you need time to prepare.
Time to not think about work.
Time to sit in the work.
Time to still live life.

Because your work reflects life.
And if you haven’t got a life, the work will not be true and connected.

Stay sensitive, and bear the consequences.
It’s part of why you’re an artist.

Make sure you don’t spend more time doing funding applications than creating work.
Invest your own money in your practice.
Donate to other artists.
Time swap with other artists.

Don’t devalue non-arts related work. It can be a welcome break and fruitful.
Have friends that don’t work in the arts too.
Listen to them.

Take your ethics into your work.
Be environmentally sound.
Be nice.
Be politically aware.
Be critical.
Be responsible.
Be fair.

Explore Social Art.
You may be a social artist[8].

And remember 2011.
All those in the footnotes.
And more.

Remember Goat Island:

#1. Remember other people.
#2. Beware of Brilliance.
#3. Make small plans.
#4. Value the work of your hands and body.
#5. Work slowly.
#6. Learn to say no.
#7. Be thankful for your fears.
– Letter to a Young Practitioner by CJ Mitchell, Bryan Saner, Karen Christopher,
Mark Jeffery, Matthew Goulish, Lin Hixson

[2] Thank you Miranda July.

[3] Everything is work.

[4] Think of Angela Carter. Of Tim Etchells. Of Callum Morton.

[5] Learn more about the brain and the body.

[6] Everything is work.

[7] Just like Stelarc has fans and non-fans.

[8] Thank you Field Theory. Thank you We Make Us.