Saturday, 1 August 2009

The Grass is Always Greener

You learn something new every day. A platitude yes, but one of the best writer's blogs on the web is Hope Clark's, and she's full of words of wisdom that sound familiar and common sense...but you read them thinking - but how often have I acted on that principle which it is so obvious that I should act upon? But back to the point. I met up, last weekend, being in London for a brief break (!) with a good friend and his partner, a multimedia artist, producer, curator, live artist and video maker. We got talking about art/work related stuff...and only stopped when the clock chimed eleven meaning they had to catch the train home! Apart from being a really interesting artist who's into many live art and related things and artists that we have in common, from the wonderful Merce Cunningham who sadly died this last week, to various theatre companies and allsorts of experimental stuff, she also is 'living a life of art'. Earlier in the year, she and he turned their flat upside down and inside out, shifting all their own stuff out, papering chairs white, you name it, until the entire space was an installation and no longer a living space. Then it was videoed, and put on her website, and people came to view the space as one would an open studio event. She showed me the video and it looked great - one could see what a lot of work it must have been. She also finished a residency recently in Manchester, works for the Live Art Development Agency, is on a mentoring scheme which means she gets to meet folks working for the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet... I sighed, telling her of my one chance this year to do something really experimental at Richard White's Edge of Chaos (written about on the Performance Ephemera blog), and admitted it was easier to concentrate on things that brought money in like the newsletter, storytelling, and admin for the Collective... To my surprise, she agreed with me, saying she knew just what I meant. It turned out that she didn't especially want to be a producer or curator, organizing exhibits, making snowstorms, or working in set design for a theatre company - in fact, she'd made a decision to try and make a break from it, for the very simple reason that she, as an artist, had not enough time to create her own art while doing that kind of work. And of course that meant sporadic opportunities, eking out previous earnings while waiting and applying for the next thing, and all the insecurity that goes with it. So there was I thinking it must be marvellous to do all this stuff, - set design! curating! wow. But there was she wanting to do more multimedia performance installation and video work...which I understood completely. When I thought about it, it gave me an insight into why people sometimes say - an Editor! wow. Or administrating for an arts Collective! hey. To me, they are things which must be done because writing and performing just don't provide enough consistent incomings.
  But of course, one must be grateful to do something that is at least related to what one most cares about. For instance, working as a willow workshop assistant for National Play Day may not be creating live art theatre, but hey, it pays the bills and I get to work with the other members of the Collective, a really great bunch. As for the Play Day itself...that'll have to be the next blog.............

No comments:

Post a Comment