"Lately I've been experiencing poverty. It's been sucking ass," a non-Goddard friend -- let's call him Bob -- emailed me yesterday evening. But he realized that "it's connected with poverty of energy and spirit. So I'm gonna be shifting now."
I understand where Bob's coming from. Bob and I both had middle class upbringings and good educations. We live in a land of North American plenty. We have chosen to live much of our lives as poor working artists/writers/performers over the years.
But I've come to question my assumptions about how artists, our practice, and our role in society impact us financially and how we, in turn, impact society and the world.
Is "selling out" a terrible thing? Does it mean something different not just for each person, but for every day of the week? When we stay small and insular within independent, parallel economies and communities, outside the mainstream, how does that affect our ability to change the world?
Having thought and conversed and read and written a lot about this subject; having participated in alternative/parallel economies to the mainstream one; never feeling like I can settle down with one single Theory of Selling Out; I was delighted to accept Em Delaney's invitation to co-present a workshop on Selling Out for the February 2007 MFA-IA residency session in Plainfield. (Well, I'd probably do just about anything Em asked me to.)
I'm going to post some writing, links, and other goodness that might be of use if you're wrestling with the ethical considerations of dealing with money, survival, and art...