ZM 5TH NOV 2016

PART 1: NETWORK FATIGUE FATIGUE

 

Boy’s clubs are shit. I sometimes feel like London is dying and maybe I should move to Berlin. Like in movies when the heroine says: ‘i’m gonna move to NYC/Hollywood n be a STAR!!’ and the whole film is about her #struggle (Coyote Ugly. I am thinking of Coyote Ugly). But then i remember I’m a broke ass bitch who lives with her Mum (no shade, luv u Mama) in North London, which has always been and will always be, a kind a weird culture-less/ful twilight zone. And actually, it doesn’t matter where i live bc the network is life for me and bc i have a friend in Gab, and in Seema (the fiercest person i kno), I make art & my boy is the first to see it always & i value his criticality, I have friends in all these internet ppl, and beyond them London isn’t dead yet, there are loads of ppl kicking about doing great things and I am not a skinny white performance artist, what will I bloody do in Berlin, what will I eat there are probably fewer Indian restaurants so i’ll starve. 

 

 

the night before we opened the show in Nottingham, it was a full moon. 

Aries moon. 

Channi Nicolas said:

"Aries is the sign of the individual. It is the sign of courage, independence and unending energy. Aries is a cardinal sign, whose main job is to take action, to initiate change, to strike out and take a chance on a new direction. Aries asks us to develop a sense of self because without one we are open to believing that a thief is a saint and a liar is a leader. Without a sense of self, we cannot develop the agency required to fight for the rights we deserve.

We must know ourselves to fight for ourselves.”

 

i don’t know if i like it or get it when ppl are like “i’m gonna delete my fb account goodbye forever friends”. I could never ever delete my twitter. i rely on it too much to be in ~contact~ with other brown ppl who r like me: Alone at sea, a whirling sea, of white walls white wine and white ppl. it sounds dumb, but twitter is a support system. i am unable to disconnect from THE network because it is MY network. 

In his essay, Larios talks about the difference between THE network and A network and i find it boring. there are so many ways to be within a structure. I don’t like the flattening feeling i get of old timey authenticity when he says that. Like he’s saying bluegrass & country folk music is so much better than R&B or whatever bc it’s made with proper instruments. Like when Dads get all misty-eyed about old time jazz when ur listening to Bryson Tiller and they’re superior to u and ur taste in their mind, but u know that things are different now. And it’s difficult to articulate how that anachronistic patronising squeeze is damaging and problematic af.

What first drew me into Network Fatigue as a mode or a model for working and making was the initial pull of that grabby phrasing: {universality is a type of exclusivity. Make work with and around ur friends. Be in solidarity (if that’s not what Larios is saying, at least that’s how i read it). It is ok to speak exclusively.} it felt like reinforcement of a kind of making and working that i was already familiar with. I say this in the video on the white screen by the plant: PPL OF COLOUR HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR TIME. That’s why kanye’s 2015 performance at the Brits is all over this space: e v e r y w h e r e. Bc he did it and he didn’t even read Larios’ essay, it’s just like that.

 

The idea of speaking exclusively, for artists’ of colour, is not new. it is a type of defence: protecting ur work from the gaze of white culture vultures / white middle class art bros / ppl who make no attempt to understand ur work on any kind of basis other than ur  - identity. So you see the barrier they make between them and you&urwork and u lean in and say ‘ye it’s a barrier, but don’t peek over, go away pls’ and you are happy bc you’re protected but sad bc u feel like this might be a type of isolation. Reading Network Fatigue made me feel like a type of isolation can be good for you. Productive. Or even beneficial. Ur not missing out just bc you don’t wanna hashtag art hashtag instaart hashtag artistsofinstagram every time you make something. You don’t have to talk to everyone at the party, just the people who you have fun and enjoy being with. How re-affirming! So tender! I haven’t read Audre Lourde’s text about self-care, but if i had, i would quote it. 

my bubble breathes. it filters things in and out.  

my work lives like a spider plant in a terrarium, precious and special. i must protect it to keep it alive.

it can’t die, because it’s the only thing i have any kind of agency to affect. 

My art has empowered me without isolating me. 

I am not a solitary genius, but i’m the one filtering things in and out, holding the talking stick at long long last.

 

 

 

 

 

PART 2: NETWORK FATIGUE FATIGUE FATIGUE

i wrote a whole text talking about what network fatigue, to me, was not. but double negatives bore me and i’d rather define the limits positively rather than talk about annoyance. 

 

I know purists think 808s was Kanye’s peak, a golden era. but for me it was Good Music Cruel Summers, and before that, Welcome to the Jungle. maybe. 

It was the first time i realised Kanye had friends. 

It was the first time i realised making things with your friends wasn’t tacky or amateur, but rather an beautifully tender and intimate way to work. Your friends, the people you surround yourself with, the people you confide and confess to, the people closest to ur heart and art, they are privy to a constant stream of goings-on. they are insiders with inside knowledge of u and ur art/heart.

 

Last year, while i was still at uni, my tutor said something that flipped my work on its head: 

“an audience is kinda too vague a term; do u want captive watchers or do you want passers-by. do you want people invested long-term in watching, viewing? or do u want people to be able to drop in and out?”

that was a question for my work, it’s longevity, if it was soft and liquid or all sharp edges, like a hot potato u can’t hold for too long. 

that question is kinda pertinent to Network Fatigue. Because the people around me, around all of us, are long-term viewers. not in a weird way, but that investment in u and the work that ur making, as a friend (as well as ur own investment in our friends and their practice, whether it’s as an artist or as a dentist or whatever) that emotional investment is valuable and under appreciated as a resource or mechanism for feedback and reaction. 

Network fatigue fights that imbalance and places importance on those pre-existing ties, that naturally occuring audience.

 

My mum is my audience. she watches everything i make and she nods and smiles and says she likes it. 

it’s not critical feedback in the same sense as you’d get from a group crit, but I talk her through her response, her feelings. and this instinctive gut reaction is more valuable to me than someone talking to me about the anthropocene. 

 

Me and Gab talk about our work, make work together. We are art sisters, friends. My bubble expands.

We are affected and talk about it like group therapy. we are each other’s sponsors. 

 

my boyfriend and i talk about Kanye like he’s our friend. i wish i recorded our conversations secretly. they’d be such good art. or maybe art podcasts. 

 

Seema and Jasmine, fierce art friends who don’t like art. We don’t speak about art. and i wouldn’t have it any other way bc sometimes that’s the most useful kind of feedback.

 

I’ve been speaking to Tamar over Skype since i was in first year. She’s a curator who is interested in my work, but she doesn’t know what to do with it. So we just speak about my work, and i tell her my concerns; i mumble nonsense to her through my headphones and she turns it into cogent thought. We’ve never met, but we have so many mutual friends. We’ve been speaking for so long, i’ve come to rely on her and her therapy. Her counsel.

 

Everyone that comments on the screenshots i post on instagram.

 

my bubble breathes. it filters things in and out. 

my work lives like a spider plant in a terrarium, precious and special. i must protect it to keep it alive.

it can’t die, because it’s the only thing i have any kind of agency to affect. 

My art has empowered me without isolating me. 

I am not a solitary genius, but i’m the one filtering things in and out, holding the talking stick at long long last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ the only reason The White Pube can still exist is because some of our readers choose to support us each month via Patreon. We sometimes do talks and other jobs but Patreon is how we get paid for the actual writing here - the reviews n art thoughts and so on. And it's so important to us 2 that we can stay independent critics without ties to big funders or institutions, public or private. Thank you for being our old timey patrons - we'll do our best to produce quality output; write stuff that is thoughtful and sincere. }

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