💸 MONEY FEELINGS 💸
gabrielle de la puente
say I want to do an art thing - I want to curate. I have felt the show ahead of itself, I know the artists I want to work with. I’ve found a good space for it, and tbh I want to get it out of my system as soon as possible because it is ripe, it’s readyyyyyybuuuuuuut I don’t have money to pay anybody, nothin to rent out a venue, so I’m not gonna do it. it’s going to stay shelved in my head/ dusty/ like
Money Has Me So Emotional
You know what I’ve pictured above ^ of wanting to do something but not having the funding to make it happen. There is a gross stalemate between that sad roadblock and being a payroll curator where:
You cannot readily get funding for artistic activities without previous successful experience, but you cannot get that sweet CV currency without going through a phase of asking people to work with you for free. And that’s where my money feelings are, teary and streaming out of me. The people you can start off asking to work with you for free are your nearest and dearest, your myspace top 8, all your friends. boy it’s sticky, bad bad bad
I can feel my ideas scared to make themselves known for fear of this ‘can I ask a favour’ dead end. n god i have already asked for so many favours. I have already been so many favours. We are Toy Story aliens crammed in a claw machine i stg, pyramiding to help each other breathe. ur friends come together in career solidarity to get you high enough to touch The Claw. And even as you get closer to it, you need to be selected/accepted by the people already up there before they grant you sustainability.
It is so fucked that while stabilising towards actual fair payment for creative labour, your friends have to expend their energy and time to get you there, for abso nada. Like, this doesn’t happen in other industries. The curator/art organiser begins selfish as the artists they work with are unpaid, their energy disrespected. Funding applications ask for a CV, for an account of projects you have already produced. But bbz how am i doing those? It is the free support of ur friends that gives you a CV of experience to even qualify to apply for funding... to pay those friends. n here we are going round in shitty moneyless circles.
if you won't ask for free-friend-help then you gotta give up now i suppose. i am tired
We asked for free-friend-help last August when we curated a film screening called Zayn Malik Zindabad. We got use of videos from ten artists for free, and Sophie Chapman and Kerri Jefferis helped us with access to Lewisham Art House where they have a studio together. They also sorted out tech and helped host. (These are two friends that we met on an art date. Last week they gave us their pay so we could travel to and speak at the art conference Keep It Complex. can you actually cope with that martyrdom). / and yes in this way, some transactions are meaningful. And yes we loved ZMZ. It was exiting and political in its DIYness - but there was no money, and no one got paid. We wanted to legitimise the event and we were able to do exactly that ~ because our friends were propping us up, and the claw machine took heed and was kind. After pitching the film screening to the ICA by showing them documentation of the first event, we showed Zayn Malik Zindabad at the literal I C A earlier this month, January 7th. The institution is obv better resourced than sophie kerri zarina and I, and they paid The White Pube a curator fee for the programme, paid artists for their videos, gave us money to commission a text from Nadya Agrawal, and had a projectionist in an actual projection booth who took control of the tech. They even gave us a bar tab. It felt strange because it felt like we won ? and we were supposed to be happy and able to breathe but, right, I felt so overwhelmed at ZMZ 2 with money feelings stuck in my gut that I was literally ill. I was happy the artists could be respected, proud of Zarina and myself for getting paid - but I was sick with some guilt like I didn’t quite deserve money for my creative labour (yeah I think money feelings is in part some working class shame. I feel unprofessional for not having enough money, and then sick n guilty when I am paid. Wot complex feelings I have). Another cause of the sickness was that I had backdated guilt that I’d been a selfish curator for ZMZ 1 ever going ahead without a budget. But ofc, we would never have been able to do ZMZ 2 without the proof and success of ZMZ 1. world is wild n I feel equal parts sad and glad about it.
Art support is somewhere between faith and investment; and payment for art labour is stuck feeling gratuitous rather than a normality. should you ever really thank someone for paying you? the money is their thanks to you. gratitude should go the other way.
From this perspective and recovery i want to say that I very obviously resent that you have to do it for free with comrades before you can do it for real, for money. and still, I sympathise that funders aren't going to take risks and give money to new born art babies with big ideas. Both ZMZ events were valid, though only one felt morally secure. I don’t know how anybody does it alone.
thank you to every friend that has supported us
sorry to every friend that has supported us
always let us know if we can help you in return
i wanna end on my other money feelings. relevant and optimistic and warm. So, The White Pube is just funded by Patreon where readers can pledge to donate a certain amount of money a month. We are in this weird moment where we feel like we should get paid for publishing a text each week, but public money does not feel like the right fit… maybe it’s ok for something like a film screening, but our texts feel valid on a different scale ngl. they feel like they are served to a reader, so a reader should pay for them, and Patreon matches that in a slowed down 1 to 1 way we feel comfortable with. Also it does away with CV receipts/ u can opt in and out/ decide to donate 1$/77p a month or more than that. So - another thank you, just this time to our patrons. it makes me SO emotional when we get an email saying somebody new has pledged. I want to send the new patron a handwritten thank you letter like u get after a wedding - and then I also want to hide because I cant shake away the money feelings that make me think I don’t deserve it. lol I will be okay - we are currently planning merchandise for the website so when that’s up n available we can get money for products instead of money for writing. the premise of that seems more emotionally sound. loool art is such a fantasy. x