Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Opt in Opt Out

My show is fast approaching and the state of anxiety is rising. The anxiety is threefold… first is the debt created by the show, the second is concern about the whether people will come, and the third is worrying that people wont like it.

I participated in a project recently, South London Black Music Archive at Peckham Space. The project invites people to share memories triggered by musical experiences – it’s an attempt to map out South London according to more idiosyncratic coordinates. It’s a fabulous idea, making solitary studio practice seem boring and conservative. But in my conservative solitary state, I tried to rack my brains for some ‘moment’, and realised that most of my time with music of any kind has been alone.

During the launch night of SLBMA, I had a conversation with a painter who had stopped painting. He reckoned you should know how your art could benefit other people – its purpose. It gets me thinking about popularity too, whether it matters if one can anticipate what people will need or like. It sounds a bit like market research doesn’t it? But I’m not trying to be crass or critical about it. In terms of making a living… maybe I should give it more thought. The thing is I don’t want to anticipate, takes the fun out of it.

Projects like the black music archive are about community dynamics. In these modern times, (where capitalism can take the rap for eroding the ‘community’) any strategy to keep those dynamics healthy is positive. It suits me sometimes to articulate myself as part of a community. In reality you can’t escape sharing your existence with others. I suppose that inescapability is what makes the communitarian so stifling at times. Valves (like making stuff) are required to release the pressure. For me it’s always important to have the freedom to ‘opt out’ of things if desired – although that can become more difficult with age. I think Maurice appealed to me because of his dilemma, because he chose to opt out and had the courage to accept the consequences...

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