On my residency, business and art

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I just realised I haven’t blogged at all this year.

Happy New Year, then!

My stint as the first digital creative in residence at leading contemporary dance company, Rambert is already fading into the past. Last week I had my end-of-residency event (I gave a talk and we had a Q&A thing), it was fun, and felt like good ‘closure’, ridiculous as that sounds. But what I mean is, I was satisfied that I said everything that I felt was important to say.

I’ve collected all my media from the residency together on one site, so for the residency videos, gifs, audio interviews and links, and (most importantly) a short book I’ve written about my experiences, go here:

hackingrambert.com

I’ll miss Rambert and the dancers, but I’m really enjoying not travelling to London all the time, staying at random hotels every week on my own, etc etc. Instead, I’m doing all the things I haven’t had the time or energy to do since September, like catching up with friends, taking my dog on big walks, going to the gym, and hanging out in my new workshop.

I’m not sure what’s next. I always have some irons in the fire, as you know. Most immediately, I’m finally going on holiday for a week (Wales), tomorrow, though as I’ve had to delay the March issue of Hack Circus so excessively, I’ll probably be working on that while I’m away… Nobody else has even noticed, but it has been surprisingly stressful to me to go to press late, so I’m now thinking gleefully of making the final two issues at the same time, over a few weeks in the summer, then getting on with my life, and letting my designer and contributors get on with theirs.

Yes, I’m sad to see Hack Circus go, but the reason I started it in the first place was because I like things that sustain themselves. I wanted to make something that could sustain itself, and I wanted to create a way of sustaining MYself, while also making something that represents all the things I believe in the most. Unfortunately, and despite my best efforts, most people don’t want what Hack Circus has to offer. I signed up for 12 issues with the printing company, and much as I hoped that would be long enough to turn it into some kind of amazing business, barring a miracle it was always going to be a 12-issue run.

But it’s not over yet. We have issue #10 in progress, then the last two issues to do, then perhaps a final get-together in the real world, and with luck, by the end of the year I might have got all this out of my system and be on a different path entirely.

I was talking to a highly creative friend yesterday who is involved in creating a business for her artwork. “The trouble with business,” she said, “is that I always want to turn it into something else. I want to get creative with it.” She’s right, business has its conventions, and when you’re used to trying to genuinely innovate in your thinking – continually surprise yourself – of course you’re going to wish you could make business itself into something more fun and interesting, just so it’s not so deadly to think about.

Hack Circus has always been about people and relationships, just as my Rambert residency turned out to be about people and relationships. I love getting to know people and working with who we seem to be and what we can do for each other, but despite the fact that ultimately relationships are everything, people and business mix weirdly. There’s so much mealy-mouthed bollocks out there about “buying into company culture”, but I’d rather make something that doesn’t ask anyone to buy into anything I’ve made up in the hope it’ll be the least bad option. I’d rather people invested in themselves, to be honest. In conclusion then, let’s open a clubhouse.

 

 

 

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