SEEKING: CHILDLESS PEOPLE WHO...

Postby magdalen23 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:37 pm

that would be grand! thank you.

i'll be the one wearing the scarf on her face, oh and some goggles and boots. hee hee.
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Postby Absolut Jeenyus » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:23 pm

Wow. This is some fuckin intense shit. Striking some nerves I don't like touched AT ALL. Although you seem to be at peace with the things you have been through, I still must say my thoughts and feelings are with you AntiM. I have family who have gone through and are currently going through similar things.

Shit this thread seriously has me on the verge of tears right now. Angry and sad tears. I'm done here.
-AJ )'(
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Postby 303jewels » Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:58 pm

Magdalen23,
you are an extremely and genuinly open minded person, unique and fascinating also brave and optimistic from the soul.
Your wavelength I find quite unique, and your willingness to touch 'these nerves' is totally evolutionary - it makes people think!!!
Also find your lack of ego very refreshing!!
Thanks.
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Postby magdalen23 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:22 pm

jewels, i may be insecure but i sure have a big ol' ego --- but thank you from the bottom of my bleak little heart for your support and compliments, and i guess for noticing that i didn't make this entire thing *about* my ego. just *part* of it. heh.

though my ego was certainly dashed down. it's hard to feel like i, my work, my life, and my choice of subject matter are worthy of derision, hate, and worse yet, that they would offend or upset the very people that seem to be discounted by society (related to the issue at hand). that definitely makes one stop and think.

but yes, there are nerves. my nerves get touched, triggers get going... so do others'... Jerry Springer can join us if he wants ... thanks, you rock...
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Postby Boijoy » Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:49 pm

are there going to be snacks at this alter? :)
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Postby magdalen23 » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:16 pm

dude, there's almost ALWAYS food, drink, tea, or some unholy combination thereof at my art installations and performances!

i think i may hold off on the altar. there is only so much heavy bullshit i can deal with, and i've been dealing with a lot of heavy bullshit.

some nice people at another temple (not the burning temple) have gotten in touch with me offering support. i may take them up on it. i may just wait until next year.
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Postby goathead » Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:33 am

magdalen23 wrote:Jerry Springer can join us if he wants ...


Does this mean nude midget wrestling in the audience?

:shock:
:D

Hushville is getting cooler every year.
:lol:
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Postby drutter » Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:00 am

So people have to censor themselves to they don't potentially offend one of the other 50,000 burners?

I dunno, that just doesn't sound right to me.
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Postby AntiM » Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:38 am

drutter wrote:So people have to censor themselves to they don't potentially offend one of the other 50,000 burners?

I dunno, that just doesn't sound right to me.


No, I just expressed a personal aversion to the project, and that I hoped it wouldn't be in my face in my place of refuge.

But I don't want to talk about it here, I feel as though there's too much lost in this electronic medium.
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Postby dvd-r » Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:42 am

I got really turned off to the OP when they started a thread under the name of one of our users. I did not understand why the OP would press someone on this subject.

To me it sounded like the artist did not understand ALL the issues involved with the proposed alter and how others might see it.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:46 am

The issue has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties involved. Perhaps this is a good time for the rest of us to butt out.
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Postby magdalen23 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:38 pm

I got really turned off to the OP when they started a thread under the name of one of our users.


? i don't know what this means...?

i don't believe this thread is closed, actually. i didn't start it in order to have something out with "both parties involved" but to discuss a project i was interested in pursuing, and to see whether others might want to participate in such a thing.

which some did, and they emailed me, and that's all well and good.

this topic has not been about "two parties," but about an entire issue that many people were apparently interested in. or they were just interested in stirring up a fight.

dvd-r, i will never understand ALL the issues involved in my art, or in art in general... but i do understand that controversial art pisses people off, offends them, or pushes buttons sometimes. sometimes i'm very surprised by who gets pissed off or offended. i was not expecting the "radical self expression" and "radical inclusion" Burner community to want to shut me down, as some here expressed (not AntiM, incidentally), but as you said, i didn't understand all of everything, and i never will.

anti-M, i understand that you don't want this art near you or your camp, and i thank you for continuing a conversation that did help me arrive at some greater understanding.
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Postby magdalen23 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:55 pm

So people have to censor themselves to they don't potentially offend one of the other 50,000 burners?

I dunno, that just doesn't sound right to me.


doesn't sound right to me, either. i'm just too fucking tired to keep having it out and i'm also bringing the charmingly uncontroversial Burning Tarot to the playa, so i need energy for that as well. to me, it's not about censoring myself because of a discussion here with Anti M. i'm thinking about what she said, and i'm considering her point of view.

off-Playa, i've been making art & publishing writing (as well as an unpublished 300-page Masters thesis) that deals with the childlessness issue and how it is consistently silenced in our culture. this work also deals more generally with the act of creating/creation: why we do it, whether it's necessarily a smart environmental or evolutionary act, etc.

the work has been published in magazines, written about in newspapers, won an award and a residency, and toured about 7 cities in the US. i came to the e-playa aware that this subject is a MAJOR BUTTON-PUSHER. yes, i'm dismayed by just how *much* of a button-pusher it is, and surprised by some reactions here (again, AntiM herself did not say anything crappy and censorial, i don't think) but oh well.

in addition to the haters, the naysayers, and the people who legitimately don't want their own emotional issues triggered, i receive feedback from men and women all over the world who felt "all alone" and are really into discussing the issue --- often with me privately, sometimes by joining the larger cultural conversatin and "coming out of the closet" about the role that childlessness or childfree living plays in their lives. it's very intense work. the positive feedback and the community participation keep me goin' on it.

i will take others' feelings into consideration, though, and i will also keep my own health and sanity in mind. but i'm not sure i'm willing to bang my head against a wall and have a bunch of fights to represent part of this artwork on the Playa this year. i need a good long nap, a bike ride, some whiskey under the stars, covered in dust. i'll bring the project to the Playa some other year, maybe in a completely different form.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:39 pm

magdalen23 wrote:this topic has not been about "two parties," but about an entire issue that many people were apparently interested in. or they were just interested in stirring up a fight.
Okay. I was the first to attack you, and I'm sorry. I will defend AntiM, she's a good friend and good on the boards. But she was not offended or hurt and you and she worked out an understanding. Leaving me knowing that I had been unkind to you. But since the two of you, who seemed to be the only actually or potentially injured parties, were okay with it and the rest of us (in my view) had no real business stirring up shit. Hence my comment to dvd-r. I'm sorry, I seem to be very conveluded tonight. If someone could translate--well it would be good in one way, but in another way I think we've already spent too much time with this crap.

anyway, Magdalen, you're cleared from AntiM and from me. For what that's worth.

Go do your projects and have fun on playa. If you want to visit me, I'll be at the Booby Bar.
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Postby dvd-r » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:11 am

For my perspective your art is not controversial but very personal. I am not really good at expressing myself, but your experiences with this subject is yours. It is not mine and not someone elses. And the nature of YOUR art subject is not that there will be controversy, but that wounds will be opened. Remember it isn't just me and a couple others who have suggested you approace this subject differently, But the temple builders didn't like your art also as you first told us. For me this subject would best handled in a careful and thoughtful manner.

Your idea even for an Alter was a little difficult from my point of view. Have you ever been in someones house where they have an Alter to a child that has passed?

Good luck with your project and I hope that as you listen to others you will find the way.

Perhaps doing some study on the subject would be a good idea. thanks


magdalen23 wrote:.............dvd-r, i will never understand ALL the issues involved in my art, or in art in general... but i do understand that controversial art pisses people off, offends them, or pushes buttons sometimes. sometimes i'm very surprised by who gets pissed off or offended. i was not expecting the "radical self expression" and "radical inclusion" Burner community to want to shut me down, as some here expressed (not AntiM, incidentally), but as you said, i didn't understand all of everything, and i never will.
..................


I don't think anyone wants to shut you down, but from hindsite your approach needs some work, don't you think?

didn't you start a thread with the subject a users name that was moved and merged into this thread? I also thought that was a bit much.
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Postby AntiM » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:15 am

Child-free and childless are very different things, one is by choice, one by chance. The loss of a child is indeed very personal, and cannot be understood except by direct experience. Just like Burning Man eludes words, the experience of life turning into death can be described and studied over and over, but until you've been there, words fail utterly.
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Postby magdalen23 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:36 am

M, i agree that words fail utterly, for many different situations. i've also found that some people derive comfort from discovering that there is a large spectrum of experience related to this issue. none of our individual experiences is the same as the others', but there are connecting threads such as grief and/or disconnect from the norm in society. for some folks, that's an important thing to find out and to connect with.

the spectrum ranges from "intentionally childfree with no issues about it" up through "childless or childfree by situation that you could call choice but that often doesn't feel like one at all because you can't find a partner, have considerable medical issues, etc." through "infertility treatment for two years" through "infertility treatment for 10 years" and onward toward other losses i won't name. it isn't just a binary thing...
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Postby magdalen23 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:15 pm

For my perspective your art is not controversial but very personal. I am not really good at expressing myself, but your experiences with this subject is yours. It is not mine and not someone elses. And the nature of YOUR art subject is not that there will be controversy, but that wounds will be opened.


that's often the source of controversy: pain, wounds, expressing or inviting expression of things that people (for various reasons) like to keep shoved under the rug and safely out of public view. i know it is dangerous and that it can trigger people's emotions. i know that hurts.

when women first started making art about rape, a lot of folks freaked out. i'm glad those women made that art, and i'm glad that rape and incest are at least a *little bit* part of the public conversation now. it is not completely private, hidden by families, and utterly taboo to even say the word. i saw a traumatized woman try to shut down an artwork that dealt with rape, at a very liberal college i attended, where people are actively encouraged to use artwork as a healing tool. none of these are easy issues.

when things first start to change, someone is often emotionally wounded. i, like many women who grieve the children they never gave birth to, feel wounded by Mother's Day. sometimes i want to cry when i see a gigantic statue in the desert celebrating childbirth and the gigantic mom with the gigantic kid she bore. it triggers my emotions when i see infants and little children every. single. place. i. go. what're you doing to do, stop Mother's Day? tell people to stop celebrating motherhood on the Playa? shut down procreation?

my pain is my responsibility. coping with the endless stream of emotional triggers: also my responsibility.

Remember it isn't just me and a couple others who have suggested you approace this subject differently, But the temple builders didn't like your art also as you first told us. For me this subject would best handled in a careful and thoughtful manner.


my initial inquiries into altars and asking if people wanted to participate were very careful and thoughtful. i got shut the fuck down, and i got angry. note that the only snarky counter-attacks i made in this topic, for example, were to people who'd just come out and said utterly pointless, evil one-liners, such as "i would tell her to fuck off" and "magdalen23, SHUT UP." despite dealing with delicate subject matter, i reserve the right to be human. i reserve the right to snarl back at an asshole.

those of you who posted thoughtfully received thoughtful replies in return, maybe not in the exact style you prefer, but with consideration behind it, and my willingness to compromise and to say "yes, i can rethink all this."

Your idea even for an Alter was a little difficult from my point of view. Have you ever been in someones house where they have an Alter to a child that has passed?


it wasn't *inside* the house, it was in the yard, but yes.

i accept that "my idea even" might be difficult for you. like i said, a lot of ideas are difficult for me. there has to be room for difficulty in life and art, or we are all in big trouble, and all our difficult subjects are silenced.

i think a Temple, especially THE Temple, is an appropriate place for memorial altars and letting-go moments of all kinds. i'm not sure why it's OK to put photos of lost adults and lost children in the Temple, OK to write heartbreaking goodbyes to friends who died in motorcycle accidents, OK to write the names of your grandparents at the Temple... but somehow not OK to invite people to have a niche where they can memorialize the pain they've been through related to this subject.

i want to clarify, the diplomatic corps of the Temple builders eventually did say, "sure, put up whatever you want at the Temple like everybody else, and have a gathering if you like, and no, we don't want to offer you one of the niches or altar areas to do your altar." which is totally fine with me. the "fuck off" part was not fine with me. the "fuck off" was accidentally forwarded to me.

Good luck with your project and I hope that as you listen to others you will find the way.


thank you. i really do appreciate that.

Perhaps doing some study on the subject would be a good idea.


in addition to my own experience; a huge amount of anecdotal research; working on creative expressions and rituals with women and men who are in or have been in grieving processes around this subject; and being a writer/researcher for an infertility clinic; i have also read about 20 books on it and written a 300-page masters thesis with a focus on childlessness and third wave feminism.

to paraphrase Anti M, words cannot capture this experience. but they can be a means to processing it, together with other things like rituals and altars and group creativity.

i'll continue to study it, probably for a long time. i will never make everyone happy with this work, or with any of my other work. i can accept that, unless maybe i get to the point where i can't anymore. hard to say.

I don't think anyone wants to shut you down, but from hindsite your approach needs some work, don't you think?


maybe. or maybe some people will be interested in my approach and others won't. i've met a number of women (and two men) who found it very refreshing that this issue they've dealt with in silent, private pain for years can be brought up in a relatively straightforward manner. they aren't comfortable with the nicey-nicey language and hush-hush discretion usually surrounding difficult issues. they don't like the bubble of silence and shame that often accompanies that approach.

they are ready to open up in many different ways. so maybe i change my approach, but maybe i and my work are useful to one group of people, and problematic for another group of people. i don't know if it's my job to open up my own experience and provide a space for some other people to process their experiences, or if my job is to find the most generalized, universal approach that won't offend people. i suspect it's the former. some people will hate my work or hate me for that approach.

didn't you start a thread with the subject a users name that was moved and merged into this thread? I also thought that was a bit much.


no. in the Temple topic, i brought up my weird discussion with the Temple builders and how i now felt uncomfortable with the idea of doing anything in this year's Temple. this childlessness altar topic was started before that, just me asking if anyone wanted to participate in a project/altar/ritual.

whoever moved stuff around did so without my desire, consent, or knowledge.

whew! another giant post from me. i continue to be grateful for those who've participated here and not shrunk away from the hard parts of it. i've tried not to shrink away, either, and i'm still thinking about every thoughtful thing posted here.
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Postby AntiM » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:31 pm

See, if you built your own tiny temple out on the playa, I'd not have a problem with it. I could choose my action. Id' see what it is and move on if I didn't feel comfortable, or stay. Entirely possible, you don't need permission to place a piece on the playa, just don't take an area marked for other art, secure it against the wind, and light it up at night. I've done it.

What bothers me is that Hushville is my home and I'd fear having to deal with an altar without choice. No, I can't just camp elsewhere, I've been with Hushville from the beginning. Naturally, I react badly at the thought. I'm sure this is not something to be forced upon someone in their safe place, that that is not the intention.

I don't see why they don't want it in the temple, I'd love to hear that in person.
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Postby Boijoy » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:45 pm

would it offend anyone if I built a tiny shrine to Tater Tots??
I think I'd have to make a sign.. " Do NOT eat the Tater Tots" :lol:
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Postby magdalen23 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:47 pm

whoops, another reply already! hi AntiM -- i do appreciate not wanting something traumatic in one's safe/home space on the Playa, and i'm not bringing that to our camp or to Hushville.

and i will be thoroughly struggling if someone decides to have a toddler or an interactive artwork about how great birthing is, in Hushville. if we even get placed in hushville? if hushville allows babies/toddlers, who are loud in general?

i tried to clarify above: the Temple diplomacy corps eventually told me i could bring whatever i want out to the Temple, just like everybody else can. however, they accidentally forwarded to me an email from the main Temple designer in which he said "I would tell her to fuck off." the "fuck off" part is what inspired me, after a couple weeks thinking about it, to bring up this interaction on the eplaya. i felt like it was the exact opposite of what the Temple is about, and i was dismayed, and i was pissed off, too. mostly surprised, though.
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Postby SilverOrange » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:17 pm

magdalen23 wrote:i tried to clarify above: the Temple diplomacy corps eventually told me i could bring whatever i want out to the Temple, just like everybody else can. however, they accidentally forwarded to me an email from the main Temple designer in which he said "I would tell her to fuck off."


So did it ever cross your mind that this response was directed at you due to the fact that these guys are in crunch time right now. This is a major project which I'm sure is consuming much of, if not all of the peoples involved time, especially the designer. I'm pretty sure the last thing on his mind is having to repeatedly reply to email from someone who "could bring whatever he/she wanted out to the temple just like everybody else can"? Just a thought...
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Postby eyeruh » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:25 pm

dvd-r wrote: But the temple builders didn't like your art also as you first told us.



magdalen23 wrote:I feel like the Temple is this incredible community experience (and the meaning comes from all those people writing things on the Temple and sitting silently in the dust, not from whatever fancy builder gets the honorary assignment this year or next year). And I feel like I got shat in when attempting to be part of it.



I can't speak for Dave or the Temple crew in any official capacity but I've known Dave a long time & I can damn near guarantee that his reaction to Magdalen had nothing to do with her subject matter and everything to do with her approach. Going by the order of events in Magdalen's other thread on this topic, it seems pretty clear that he ran out of patience when she started asking about adding the Temple as a notch on her artist's bio.

Cuz here's the thing--what Magdalen so glibly describes as "an honorary assignment" is actually months of hard, unpaid work in the worst heat wave to hit Texas in years (100+ degrees for weeks on end). All of the actual building is done outdoors or in Dave's shop (which doesn't have A/C). Dave and Marrilee work literally 16-20 hours a day on the Temple, every god-damned day. We have an ambitious design and impossibly high goals for ourselves--believe me when I tell you the stress level is high around here at times.

Throughout all of this there has been an incredble outpouring from the community--people here in Austin, California and all over. Despite the stress and hard work, I'm incredibly proud to be a part of this project. The flipside of that is there's an awful lot of people who want to "be a part of the temple" without actually contributing to the hard work that goes into building the thing & frankly, that tends to trigger curt reactions.

Magdalen, I can't apologize for Dave--he was needlessly rude and you probably have a right to be offended. However, I also think you should take a closer look at your own role in the interaction--judging by people's reactions in this thread, you don't always seem to express yourself well in this medium. I'd also like to ask you to remember that Dave, Marrilee and the entire Temple crew are human--we make mistakes. We're not perfect but we're doing the best we can under very trying conditions.

Speaking only for myself, I think it's obvious that your project elicits strong reactions and that's generally a sign that you're doing something right. I do hope you can find a way to bring it to BM someday in a way that shows sensitivity to the participants of the event. But based on your insulting comments in this forum, I wouldn't expect a very warm welcome at this year's Temple.
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Postby eyeruh » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:32 pm

SilverOrange wrote:So did it ever cross your mind that this response was directed at you due to the fact that these guys are in crunch time right now. This is a major project which I'm sure is consuming much of, if not all of the peoples involved time, especially the designer. I'm pretty sure the last thing on his mind is having to repeatedly reply to email from someone who "could bring whatever he/she wanted out to the temple just like everybody else can"? Just a thought...



Crunch time, indeed -- we're loading the trucks in 6 days & our caravan leaves for the playa a few days later!!
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Postby magdalen23 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:05 pm

yes, i did consider that they were in crunch time and that the project they were making was huge and immense, on many levels. i expressed that in my emails w/ them, as well as my delight at the design they posted. i thought it looked beautiful. i may not have explained all of that here. but yes, i did consider crunch time and i did talk about that with Merrilee.

i may have been more cavalier and glib about it here, seeing's how i was angry, so i'm sorry if that part didn't get brought up. also, i think "honorary" was a weird and dumb word for me to choose. i meant more that it is a huge honor to be given the responsibility of building the Temple.

it is BECAUSE the Temple is so important that i brought up this whole thing on the ePlaya. if Larry Harvey had told me my art car idea was shitty, i would also bring it up on the ePlaya. these people and their creations are very important to the whole event and to the whole community. to me, that makes it more surprising and insulting if they tell ya to fuck off. i thought for a week or so about not mentioning it to anyone so everything would be peaceful and good. it didn't feel right. it felt cowardly.

i'm ready to own the fact that some people don't like how i wrote about it on the ePlaya, ready to accept that y'all think i suck, ready to examine my future posts so that i don't offend anyone or have anyone think i'm a jerk. maybe i AM just a jerk. maybe i'm in a forum where most of the vocal participants know each other and are jumping to defend each other, which makes me look like even more of a jerk. who knows? jerk or not, i'm listening to you. i'm reading and pondering. i'm compromising and considering. i'm changing my actions and my artwork directly because of feedback received here. so. i may be a jerk, but hey, i can be a thoughtful jerk.

Magdalen, I can't apologize for Dave--he was needlessly rude and you probably have a right to be offended.


thank you...

it seems pretty clear that he ran out of patience when she started asking about adding the Temple as a notch on her artist's bio.


as far as my artist's bio goes: it is fine, full, and plump. it does not need to mention Burning Man or Temples. your accusation was entirely unfounded. where i come from, art crowd people are more likely to denigrate an artist *because* they mention Burning Man work. it's not exactly a big resume booster. also, i was discussing a Statement, not a bio. if you're interested in the details of that (of why i would want to mention the altar etc) just let me known in a private message and i will be happy to explain.

i can understand getting stressed out during crunch time. (i just curated and produced an event with 24 artists and it crunch-timed me something fierce.) i also appreciate that building the Temple is a huge responsibility and i *love* the people who find the ingenuity and artistry and time to build it each year; and those who infuse it with meaning by entrusting it with their memorials and writings and energy, by sitting on the Playa floor and weeping their eyes out as it burns. i feel like the whole thing is infused with love, is about love, so the "fuck off" part was, uhhh, quite a contrast.

and now i'm going to go experience the love and stop pissing off everyone else and, undoubtedly to the great relief of some, stop attempting to defend myself.

those of you who've sent me supportive private messages or posted here with consideration that maybe i'm not a 100% jerk: thanks! that helps. goodbye.
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Postby magdalen23 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:20 pm

oh i just can't stop posting!

i wanted to say -- if you do want to continue conversation about this, i'm magdalen23 at gmail . the public thrash seems to've gone on long enough.
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Postby eyeruh » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:42 pm

magdalen23 wrote:
it seems pretty clear that he ran out of patience when she started asking about adding the Temple as a notch on her artist's bio.


as far as my artist's bio goes: it is fine, full, and plump. it does not need to mention Burning Man or Temples. your accusation was entirely unfounded.


You may be right--I may be 100% off-base, I really don't know. However, I am pretty confident that your subject matter wasn't an issue.

I'm sorry, I can't elaborate further now but I have to get back to packing. All my supplies for a month on the playa have to be on the truck Sunday . . .
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Postby fancypants » Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:54 pm

I've been reading this thread with interest. I get stuck on the part where you think your experience needs to be expressed publicly as art. this seems completely ego driven. i wanted some background so i googled your name and it led me to an article you wrote about being happily child free - here is a quote from it

"Don’t get the wrong impression: I’m not your classic single gal with a bitter, jealous heart, masking my maternal desires with a cynical attitude. I didn’t have a horrible childhood, and I avoided the physical and sexual abuse that often makes people leery of having a family. Children themselves aren’t a problem. In fact, I rather like children—as long as they belong to someone else and are kept muzzled in public spaces. I reserve the right to change my mind and squirt out brats later on, should the biological clock suddenly take hold of my usually sensible uterus, but for now I’m into letting other folks have the morning sickness, hormonal swings, stretch marks, and college-savings funds. After all, why be a mom when you can be an aunt?"

OK so now you must have had a complete turnaround. whatever, that still doesnt make it interesting, or "art". So you want to have some big attention seeking experience to express your feelings - what makes your experience worthy of such grandiose expression? is your "loss" any more valid or interesting than the loss of someone who simply writes the name of a dead child on the temple? I did that last year. Is your loss more artistically valid than mine? Where is my temple niche dammit! Oh wait, thats right. I dont need a public spectacle to validate my feelings or experience.

I dont know enough about art to hold forth but i do know that self serving grandiosity is boring, and good art should not be boring.
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