[spectre] // The State of Art //

John Hopkins jhopkins at tech-no-mad.net
Mon Aug 8 17:02:16 CEST 2011

Hei Simon, et al...  a few glitched musings...

well, I don't think it's the norm, based on my experience, for people on the 
spectre list to have deep knowledge from both sides of the Atlantic,  I was 
based in Northern Europe (IS, FI, NO, DE, NL, LT, LV, SE, DK, FR, IT) for about 
18 of the last 25 years, participating in many of the events from which spectre 
arose, with the balance of that time in the US (Boston, LA, NYC, Colorado, 
Arizona, Washington DC, Alaska) and Australia (Sydney, Melb), and I was 
constantly amazed at the lack of knowledge of the US when in Europe.  Of course 
'everyone' has been to NYC and perhaps California, but neither of those places 
are typical by any stretch of the vast pseudo-cultural agglomeration that is the 
US.  And there are massive and monumental cultural stereotypes that are 
frequently invoked among Europeans when framing the US.  I have been to all 50 
states, and spent significant time in a majority of them; both rural, suburban, 
and urban, observing, photographing, writing, so I take the allowance to pass 
along observations and comparisons whenever possible.

Within Europe, I am better traveled than most Europeans as well, with time spent 
in numerous (central but also non-nexus) places across 20 countries.

With that experience, I can state that there has been, on average 'easier' money 
and easier access to cultural activities in Europe, along with greater 
participation (if only as passive consuming audience) by local populations.  One 
of the reasons I stayed mostly in Europe was the easier access to funded 
situations.  It has changed over those two decades, yes, everywhere.

As someone else remarked earlier, the absence of health care is a critical issue 
in 'autonomy' in the US ... but, anyone working in the arts here likely falls 
below the limit for paying (much if any) taxes...

Maybe it's just a difference between the path the money flows along -- through 
the state a bit more or through the corporate sector a bit more...  Does this 
really make a difference in the end?  It is the movement of abstracted social 
value, following a pathway mandated cumulatively by the social institution 
through which it passes: subsequently re-distributed to certain participants in 
the social system.

In places like Norway (admittedly unique because of petrodollars), there is 
simply no comparison to the US.  I have numerous friends who lived there and 
elsewhere in the Nordic countries and have survived by their art alone (though 
not without complaining about the meager NOK10k project stipends).  They do a 
bit of optional teaching.

But maybe it is comparing blueberries and mangos: each social system seeks 
self-survival, each individual within is motivated to the same, generally.  Each 
expends what is necessary to maintain viability, then with what is left-over, 
both life-time and life-energy, they push expression of presence outwards 
towards the Others.  Energized creative output requires an energy source.  Each 
social system has relatively different access to differing sources, qualities, 
and quantities of energy.

In this regard, Europe and the US are different.  In some sectors, there is more 
sufferation, in others, less.  There are the hungry scattered everywhere.  The 
gorged and vacantly satiated are Legion as well.  But creative flow, while 
always theoretically available, comes to where there is a pathway, 
human-to-human for it to move along.

There are those individuals who, sacrificing an extended life, use the energies 
immediately available to them to burn up, brightly Lighting their immediate 
surrounds for a short time.  Or those who speak in the still, small voice which 
eventually moves mountains.  What affect would wealth have on their trajectory? 
  I think impossible to predict or determine even in retrospect.  A faster burn? 
  A longer fade, an ensuing state of walking death?  A bigger NAME?

I ask somewhat sarcastically: Is it possible to have a creativity without cash?

I answer, channeling Blake: "Where any view of Money exists, Art cannot be 
carried on, but War only."

I have not observed elsewise over the years: this retort resonates through every 
established cultural institution, through those struggling to become established 
cultural institutions, and through a sizable fraction of the humans who populate 
those institutions.

Neither cash nor credit are energy sources, they are only proxies 

You can't eat money.


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