Or the Admin of Art
Every time it seems Viccy and I are approaching the finish line for Dirty Laundry it jumps out ahead of us even further. Sometimes a week, sometimes months – even a few day can force us into intense talks about where we are going and how to organize our time and resources. I really can’t believe we are approaching the 3 year mark. Sometimes I feel utterly exhausted with the project but the further we go the more amazed I am at how it has developed into something far greater than we ever imagined at the outset.
So it started with some pictures and some stories and wordpress.com and cargocollective.com. But Dirty Laundry took on more shape and two.5 began to feel like a real THING and we started to apply for residencies and grants which meant developing how we talked about ourselves and our projects and producing material to support it. This meant writing long descriptions of our concepts and goals and trading them for revision. This meant downloading more applications and buying more ip addresses. Soon it was twopoint5.co.uk and facebook.com/twopoint5 and @twopoint_5 and theperipateticstudio.com and for every one there was a masthead to be made, a font to be chosen, and a picture to represent us. All this admin is really fun at first. I love picking a picture and finding just the right position for the text overlay. When working on a long project it’s a lovely distraction to make something tiny and beautiful. It’s quick and fulfilling. But suddenly, somewhere in the middle of 2012 it felt like all we were doing was admin. I was plowing through heaps of data. Drowning in text. Overwhelmed by formatting, resizing and rearranging. It was frustrating at best. We plodded and pushed and even fought a little and we came out the other side with the design for On The Same Page.
So here I am again swirling around in a little eddy of creative admin. For the last week I’ve been editing the video for the On The Same Page indiegogo campaign. For those of you who haven’t made a video before it’s like planning, preparing and cooking a very large and elaborate dinner party. It takes a long time and you have to consider everything from many angles. It starts with planning and shooting the video, then you pick out the good bits and try to splice them together. You work out the weaknesses and figure out how to excise or mend them. Then you figure out things you can add in to make it exciting and engaging. This work can be fun and creative but it’s very labor intensive and requires sustained attention on very fine details. Being in the digital age I can do all this work in my underwear sitting at my kitchen table – AMAZING – but sharing it with Viccy or any of my other trusted critics means potentially hours of exporting and file conversion. Once I have feedback I will go back in and spend hours maybe days moving things around only to go back through the converting and exporting process for more feedback. At these times it’s hard not to wonder if you are spinning out into an endless universe of wasted time. Is this video any good? Is it worth it? I could be reading a book right now! I could be catching up on sleep! I really need to do my laundry. Why couldn’t we be happy with a book like normal people? What were we thinking?! I will feel simultaneously like I have to continue and like I’m totally wasting my time.
When Viccy and I started Dirty Laundry we were venturing out into uncharted territory together and using our friendship as a springboard to be creative and accountable. I don’t think we ever anticipated how multifaceted our projects would become. It is probably one of our greatest strengths as a team- we love to develop projects that are engaging, highly layered and often interactive. During our 10+ years as friends we’ve hosted more than a few dinner parties that were complex and participatory. It’s not at all surprising that our collaboration would carry itself away. The thing about all this admin is that it really is creative work. Every step has been into exciting and uncharted territory and the results have been beautiful. We’ve expanded our skill sets and connected with ever more artists and writers. So perhaps when we feel buried under a mountain of emails, updates, pictures to sort through, and files to convert we need to take a step back and look at facebook.com/twopoint5, twopoint5.co.uk, @twopoint_5, theperipateticstudio.com, and see where all those hours have gone. Because it’s looks damn fine out there and I’m really proud of us.
Okay, good pep talk Samantha! Now back to work!