It felt time for me to honor the gift I had been given, by relinquishing myself of it, so that it might continue to breathe, thrive, become renewed.
My time at Café Church had reminded me, in a fundamental sense that music, art (cooking, gardening, breathing...) were all acts which might best be served by being considered acts of grace. After decades stumbling on through the undergrowth of arts-practice, fundamental questions remained about how best to 'monetise' my practice, however one thing was sure - my priority above all else, was really to make the best 'work' possible.
Imagining that 'work' might be valuable in its own right was precious realisation. Particularly in an an age of unprecedented automaton, considering reimagining a truly valuable 'work life for all' feels deeply important.
Prior to my tenure at Café Church, 5 years working as a designer / video editor in a rather more corporate environment had continued to lead me to new pastures - based purely on the (perhaps egotistical?) assumption that working within the realms of advertising / front end web design often meant that the work I was producing was compromised. There were only so many times I could get away with turning down jobs based on feeling they were morally compromised, or aesthetically patronising to clients.
I didn't feel like I could keep my heart tender creating army-recruitment, gambling, porn, big-pharma websites. And yet these sorts of 'jobs' were increasingly the types thrust before me.
Eventually, through natural attrition, I exited the corporate universe...and landed square in the centre of so-called 'community work', where the road rose up beyond all expectations to meet me. My income halved overnight - but suddenly this seemed largely irrelevant. I was making work I loved, relishing every hour of practice, bettering my skills, service, thesis.
This is not to say that my previous 'corporate incarnation' wasn't filled with incredible humans. Moreover, it truly was - hyper-intelligent, infinitely more skilled and visionary designers, copywriters and artisans, and some notable social visionaries. It was just that, as a 'coal face' pixel-pusher, I felt my craft couldn't grow in such an environment.
---- SNIP ----
So music became 'the thing'...and yet... I was privileged (deeply so) to have the freedom to allow it to be 'the thing' - a freedom initially afforded by being born into privilege, education and relative security. Same as it ever was.
Ironically, many aspects of the 'music industry' proved far more morally compromised than anything I had experienced in the corporate universe.
And yet.... somewhere amid the rubble, I encountered a radically different set of presuppositions, honor codes and modalities of trust, place, belonging, gift exchange and....value....
Whats more, curious, experiences like playing clubs like Berlin's Berghain, revealed to me a parallel, if rather different experience of 'music as monument', or temporary homeland for those without a sense of historical place.
Art as a modality of creating psychic (un)realestate - temporary autonomous space, a new kind of cultural common, a kind of tangible, economy of the heart...and often a refreshingly non-sentimental one, in addition.
This question of space, place, belonging, and the place of 'non-place' remains a central thesis in my work - as an expat, a migrant currently wedged between continents.
I'll stop for now. It's late, once more, and there's too much to say. I'll leave for now, with this quote from Lewis Hyde, and gather more thoughts again later.
To be continued.....