|We've been in the news!|
I guess spring is in the air because spring cleaning seems to come to mind in somewhat unorthodox forms! People with pagan belief systems would say that it's all in tune with spring equinox. I believe that de-cluttering one's physical space is necessary at regular intervals. This also goes for the computer and the internet. A thousand e-mails have been deleted, newsletters have been unubscribed to, personal photo albums have been deleted off the internet, several internet accounts have been closed down, and on it goes. One must re-centre, re-focus and re-prioritise. The internet is a kind of ghost land, and maintaining a presence there most certainly requires energy. Equally, I can sense people's presence, but I can't see their physical shape... so it's like moving in a haunted house with a lot of ghostly presence. Don't get me wrong, I am all for technological advancement. But there are obvious pitfalls in the form of the amount of time and energy it requires from you, and the way the illusory aspects of virtual reality mess with your head.
Although good things occur, I have also found that social media and forums consistently create stress and unwanted emotional ups and downs in myself. So the advantages of keeping in touch with some people and sharing aspects of my life that I want to share with others have to be weighed against the disadvantages. Martin and I have talked about it long and hard and come to the simple conclusion that the internet isn't serving us well enough to warrant all the energy we're putting into it; there is on top of everything that feeling that one should do more, and more and more... and it really is endless, and never enough. We also feel that social media is not all it's cracked up to be. One reason may be that novelty value is wearing off. We feel that people are maybe getting jaded and aren't quite so interested in responding to other people online... the responses are so inconsistent and random, and quite few and far between, that it's starting to look futile. No one likes being bombarded with so much stuff all the time... While internet developers are working on making the internet easier to use, there are more and more adverts and more general noise. This is possibly a time of great transitions, but at the moment it's really all quite strenuous and not very user friendly. Learning new technology all the time (for instance, just setting up a simple account somewhere) is very time/energy consuming too, so it's worth thinking about which bits one feels a real need to learn. Perhaps one could talk about de-scattering one's brain!
While social media gurus abound, it seems to us that there's a lot of hype but very little real substance to the claims that the social media can help you reach people's consciousness. We are fully aware that it may still work for some people who have certain advantages, for instance youth, glamour and the ability to engage with people in real life through performance. Having a really cool gadget to develop is also something that wakes people up. Through our current project and fundraising campaign we have found out quite a lot about the way it really works, or doesn't work. While some truths are painful, I feel that my own online presence has served several purposes and it has certainly not all been in vain. However, it may be time to refocus and rethink one's attitudes and strategies. Trumpeteering one's truth into the void when no one is listening is certainly pointless, and it scatters the mind. I don't intend to abandon the internet altogether, but I'm going to make my presence more restricted and focused. Feeling too dependent on the internet for solutions to one's own life issues and feeling too desperate to be heard is a bit like entertaining a co-dependent romantic relationship (in real life, of course), and it's not healthy.
It's too soon to say just what our crowdfunding campaign has taught us, as it's running for another three weeks. Real media such as newspapers and Finnish TV have shown a lot of interest, but for many lay people out there it's still a bit hard to grasp the concept. My own dad said he hoped we weren't embarrassing ourselves by begging for money from our friends. He may be excused due to his age. Of course, most people understand that it's not about that at all. It's about showing support, which you can do either by sharing the idea with your own friends, or by donating a sum of your choice. My own achilles's heel is that I wish that people were loyal and supportive in ways that most people aren't able to be. On the other hand, some people feel they want to support by giving unsolicited advice, and that's something I'm not happy about at all as it often takes the form of a patronising attitude. But dealing with my own reactions and rethinking relationships is all part and parcel of my own process of "growing up" and finding the steps I have to take in order to minimise exposure to stress in my own life. "Letting go" is that one thing that keeps creeping up in my mind...
So what happens to us middle-aged artists? Well, if one direction isn't fruitful then another one will surely appear if one keeps an open mind. It's tempting to abandon art as another pointless exercise - if it tends to be a one way communication and you feel that your whole existence depends on whether you reach other people or not, then it's not healthy. Of course, giving up is always an option if you're truly better off doing something else. But - my feeling is that Martin really wants to make art (he just needs to spend more time doing it in the real world) and that as he's evolving as an artist, he should by no means give up at this point. We are really, really struggling with the finances but on the other hand there aren't any other jobs available for him in this region either. As for myself, well I have to find ways of minimizing the impact of stress in my own life. My health is a priority. I could imagine doing lots of different arty things that demand time and energy if my reality was not restricted by health issues, but as it is, I have to live with them and organise my life around them. In discussions with Martin I have started to see some new ideas emerge about the role of art, and how some of my work fits in with these ideas... We'll just have to see where it takes me.