This will be like blood letting. Squirming, pain, and frustration. It has to come out.
This might take a few sessions though.
Because on the morning after, I feel I am missing something, and at the same time
I feel like I have missed absolutely nothing at all.
Let me try to explain:
I attend conferences, festivals, conventions and the like for the face-to-face interactions. Especially conventions, where the pitch is your presence and the sale is in the handshake. I don’t go to plays very often, because the format is antiquated, and the fourth wall is something that I thought a lot about during the course of the last few days.
There is usually a moment in these congregations of like-minded and near-sighted individuals where something real occurs that reminds us all that we are humans and not only talking and listening heads. Presenters like Al Razutis, AA Bronson, and Tania Bruguera offered a spectrum of emotional honesty and asserted their own sense of integrity no matter how flawed. This was important. Others demonstrated their intellectual prowess, and that is important too, but not for me. What is important for me is the exchange that usually occurs, but increasingly I find this supposition of human vulnerability to be at odds with professional facades. Not everyone is as affable as John O’Brian, who I secretly wished was the sole host of the event like the Steve Martin of our Oscars.
I haven’t explained this very clearly, but it’s difficult to see when you’re operating within a fugue.
With my respect to the stellar organizing team, I am not entirely sure if a live audience was necessary at all. Timing trumped engagement, and I feel the lot of us could have been just as easily replaced with an automated clap track or laugh track. The advantageous viewing position is for those sitting at home, in the future when all the files are locked and loaded. There were few advantages for those who wish to be in the present.
I did not see and hear everybody, share space with everybody, because I am only one body, and the simultaneous presentations did not care about this very human factor. The convention was a package and I was definitely not their target consumer. This was most clear in the persistent issue of being outside/inside in relation to institutions and the state and market. Is life so static and institutions so impenetrable? There is always a way out, but maybe we’ve forgotten we can move through these systems, rather than dwell in their corners. Perhaps ideologically, we are trapped outside/inside these bubbles, especially when they are our livelihoods, but to bank on the ephemeral is your gamble. The impetus to build an institution is inspiring, but the leadership to let your power go is where the generative lies.