Today I learnt that I have all the clearances required to proceed with buy the apartment! Once my savings have been transferred from the UK I can arrange a moving date!
The estate agent rang (no solicitors involved here) while I was twisting a length feather boa that will be part of my dandy satyr out-fit. The pieces for the end of term show are slowly coming together, thankfully I do not need the costume until next week when I will lead a evening’s walk through parts of Sodermalm where Eugène Jansson lived and worked. Tomorrow I take the glitter mats to the exhibition venue – they will be there through out the show except for when they feature in my very site and time specific installation on Saturday afternoon.
It does not feel as though Following Eugène is coming to a conclusion. It feels much more as though it is only just getting going. It is somewhat ironic perhaps that I hear about my move away from Stockholm at the same time that my mind is buzzing with ways that I want to develop and extend the work. Of course it is not necessary to be in the city just because Eugène lived and worked here – I can make field visits when I need to. What I might miss though are the opportunities afforded by being a student at Mejan. The library and the possibility to request books from any academic library in Sweden has been great and enabled me to read books that are out of print and that are not readily available in public libraries. Having said that I realise that is time to take a break from all the courses – I have been on one course or another (and frequently more than one at a time) since the end of 2011.
Last week I worked out at Featherland (as I call it) on my costume, Tim was/is helping me as payment for my work on his pieces last year. One evening his partner Anders asked me how I see my life after moving. The question caught me unaware and I babbled about day-to-day things that I look forward to doing. Anders can be very direct, he fixed me with his gaze and said that he wanted to know how I intended to make a living. Before I could come up with any kind of reasonable reply he continued that he wants me to “be commercial”. He said that he likes me, that he likes how I think and he thinks that I need to be commercial. After a few minutes of me telling him about my previous (and less than successful) attempts to be commercial Tim came back in to the room and the conversation shifted. However I have been giving his question and comment a lot of thought, and I think that they were perfectly timed and intended. It occurred to me that if I take ‘commercial’ to mean economically viable rather than strictly (restrictively?) saleable in a simple ‘product’ sense then the question opens up a range of possibilities.
It could be very beneficial to consider the commercial aspect (in an expanded sense) of my practice when I embark on something new – to ask my self that terribly capitalist sounding question: who is my customer. If my customer is someone without resources, or someone who I want to give something to, then how and where do the finances work. In the past I have invested money earned elsewhere in my practice. This is perhaps not the most appropriate, or sustainable, way of working. And furthermore it is perhaps too isolated a way of working. If I want to make a site-specific temporary installation perhaps it would be better to gather a collaborative team around me in order to achieve it, and in that team should be someone (an individual or organisation) who can financially support the costs of the piece. And, of course, I would have to work with the needs of my fellow collaborators. If I want arts council funding I will have to think about what they want! Writing this down makes me realise it is exactly the kind of advise that I would give to someone else, now it is a good time to give it to myself! Now is a good time to focus on seeing my practice in its social context!!