Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Questions to myself for an upcoming project that are not meant to induce anxiety, but create space.


Does it feel like it HAS to happen?

Does it at least dare to be weird?

Does it capture this moment?

Does it come from a place of love?

Does it glow or is it weighted down and heavy?


Can you hear it, even when you've left the room?

Was it a good use of 6 months?

Would someone else vouch for it? For ownership?

Is it free to leave under its own will?

Is it part of something bigger? Can you speak of it's power?


Did you do it for the right reasons?

What is actually happening? Can you use that?

Can you explain it in two sentences?

Is it framed appropriately? Does something need to be lopped off?

Can you phone a friend?


Sunday, January 3, 2016

To Hell with New Years Resolutions, how about some New Years Self-Reflections?

For some reason I'm in the mood for rethinking the concept of a 'personality test' and 'new years goals' and the whole 'goodbye 2015, hello 2016'.

What if Talk Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and a penchant for locating and attacking neoliberal policy is still as productive as even before they had such catchy names? How do we figure out how to keep moving when it seems that time passes us by?

I've always been interested in how tech savvy infographic folks would approach illustrating time based on moments of personal and societal improvements. Or maybe it's just a question about bringing to the imagination qualitative data over quantitative, which was a particular specialty of Oliver Sacks.

I wanted to get my brain moving again, so I ate breakfast, had a long conversation with Rach's mom, made plans to meet with friend later, took a walk, made a reminder to send off something to Weiwen before the end of the day and tried to finish this entry.

I don't think I'm looking for improvement, I'm looking for acceptance steeped in just as much time as I put into worrying about what I think I don't know. I'm also not going to worry for the moment, that I am going to be extremely self-centered for this mental exercise, I'd like to meander from the self and back.

New Years Self-Reflections:

What would it look like if you took broad aspects of your personality,
attributed them to a greater group (for better or worse),
and then arranged them from most relatable to least relatable ?
(that is, according to how well you fit even your own selected categories.  This could be better simplified to ranging from what one struggles with the most, to what one struggles with the least.)

This is what I came up with:
A. I have ADHD
B. I am an American
C. Male
D. My parents are wealthy 
Any surprises?

I came to this exercise starting from the back forward. Initially I felt like I had put off trying to write about all the unique kinds of thoughts that I believe I have because I am diagnosed with ADHD, for example do I feel more comfortable writing lists because I'm ADHD or is it possibly even a particularly American thing? It opened up a can of worms that now I can't stop playing with.

So now, word association. 

Starting with a gut feeling of being critical, then moving onwards to giving things an ultimate 'benefit-of-the-doubt', leading to a semi-objective stance, and doing it again with slightly more nuance each time, I wanted to see if this would go somewhere. It definitely brought up past conversation that I appreciated... but it also reminded me of some of my goals, hopes and desires.

This seems much more like an interesting way to look back on the year.

Word association:

1. With negative attributions

ADHD - Medicated

American - Prison/Military-Industrial Complex
Male - Aggressive
Wealth - Self-Protective

2. With positive attributions

ADHD - Creativity

American - Aspirations
Male - Confidence
Wealth - Travelling

3. With neutral attributions

ADHD - Symptoms

American - Post-modern
Male - Privileged
Wealth - Tools

4. With associations that others believe are essential, but do not interest me personally

ADHD - Expertise
American - An experiment in capitalism / power
Male - Athleticism & Power

Wealth - The 1%

5. With things that currently fascinate me

ADHD - Coping mechanisms

American - Counter, hybrid and sub-cultures
Male - How to get out of the way and support feminism
Wealth - Effective Altruism

6. With things that are difficult for anybody, not just myself to avoid
ADHD - All or Nothing

American - Consumption
Male - Self-importance / Not listening enough
Wealth - Conservatism

7. With what is at stake for me personally

ADHD - Depression & Anxiety
American - A livable life for me and others
Male - The desire to be heard and understood
Wealth - Relationships and Responsibility

8. With things that may have formed my core beliefs

ADHD - The Myth of Laziness
American - Not sure... maybe Adbusters?
Male - Perhaps growing up as a younger brother
Wealth - Predictably Irrational

9. With further research in general

ADHD - The lack of clear definition
American - History
Male - Feminism is for Everybody!
Wealth - Wealth inequality is everyone's problem, just like climate change.

Ok, I've spent too much time inside the house, ya gotta get out of there!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Notes on a meeting on matching funds from the Knight Foundation 11-10-2015 (still needs to be cleaned up or updated)

Notes on interesting themes that came up during introductions:
A lot of talk about publications (Is this the next step from people creating local archives for a legacy like documenting the emergence of the ‘Jit’, projects about Grace Lee BoggsA moment in time?)
  • See: Graphic Designer costs vs. material costs... Maybe I may need to keep mine to online only, Knight suggests that blogs are a fine way of providing a narrative (mandatory.)
  • Detroit Research is very focused and may know its audience, also it has the benefit of being connected to CCS.

A lot of talk about residencies and discussions amongst people (bringing in influential contemporary voices? Staying personally connected? Storytelling and bringing causes to attention?)
  • Anders Ruhwald will have a side project that may be semi-connected where artists can come over as well

We are an organization that does THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS and THIS.
  • A lot of these projects could be combined, but could the matching funds bolster each other?
    I'm considering having Glasgow people keep in contact with those they met already, Cezanne Charles, What Pipeline, ‘CAVE, Simone DeSousa, Popps Packing, Halima Cassells, Piper (formerly 5E), Steve Panton’s space, writers such as Lynn Crawford who has worked with Steve Panton etc., curators such as Laura Mott (careful, people are going to be BUSY!)
  • Consider bringing in publications for distribution in Glasgow, Good Press, Aye-Aye, CCA, similar to what Laura currently has up at Cranbrook, satellite/daisy chaining connections.

Many personal projects by artists working solo are being funded, including one from someone from Mexico to put up imagery of important Mexican figures in Southwest (notexactly by Detroit for Detroit as someone said at the reception? But shouldthat really matter? Too much insider/outsider drama, becomes parochial)

Bigger name artists will be put out in public, maybe this was partly sparked by the successful use of D.I.A.’s reproductions that aided the millage.
  • Hank Willis Thomas
  • Louise Nevelson
  • James Turrell
  • J Dilla’s actual music equipment

Programs that sound really familiar

Why do these people do what they do? Altruism? Should/can “artists” be agents of social change?
  • Denis Newhouse is a passionate lifelong educator, Akram Hossain seems similar
  • Non-profits need these to survive and keep things interesting
  • Particular neighborhood (maybe they live there) is overlooked
  • It’s part of the mission statement, all part of the plan, strategic planning
  • Setting up others for greatness, but getting out of their way, thriving on the unknown
  • How many of us are considered ‘local celebrities’? How do we work against the poisonous ego habit?
  • Public funding is gone, who else is going to bring in our values into the future?

Not organized with a 501-C3? (That’s most of us?)
  • Fiscal Sponsorship!  (A tool for arranging non-taxable donations)
  • Miami Foundation has a very good admin fee, only 4% compared to 7 or 8% and matching checks mailed weekly, invoices on your behalf, takes care of taxes, good at streamlining Kickstarter campaigns.
Allaying fears:
  • An easy way to get started is by working on receiving 10% of the funds via in-kind donations (labor?)
  • 96% match rate (see Steve Hughes who personally described their flexibility) 2 years becomes 4…
  • Flexibility (no rules, no dictating, except they do request that all press  releases must be seen first)
  • Budgets can flex with good reasons/communication (think of categories as gen. buckets) Put in place in the contract is a 5% budget leeway
  • The deadlines for raising funds/getting everything finished is flexible within reason
  • The overall idea behind what you plan to do can change
  • You have worthy ideas and a great community, you will be fine.
  • Corporate structures are always looking for ways to write something off (Is there a time of the year in particular?), ways to achieve their mission statement in interesting ways to stay relevant, can partner with your project as free advertising for their business and frankly don’t want to be left out if it gets press. 

Informal ideas that may produce the best outcomes:
  • A strong cohort
  • Some non-profits offered assistance as mentors (Who was it that suggested this?)
  • Reminds me of when the local non-profits met together to share tactics and share resources, people I remember who were there: Diane Van Buren, Ryan Hertz, Phil Cooley... so many people from that initial introduction reached out to lend so much in in-kind donations from free studio space to scissor lifts and more!
  • Possible web-inar on budgeting (General consensus: our individual needs require individual attention! But it doesn't sound like that's possible?)
  • Look out for a “Top 10 matching ideas” from Knight
  • Guide Star templates as a spring board
  • Giving Day Playbook
  • Smallest Museum in St. Paul used revenue from a seemingly unrelated cup of coffee to provide the matching funds (same organization, and a portion of proceeds go towards the match, this is definitely not the same as personal income, it’s the business’ income?)
  • Works well in tandem with Kresge fellows and others who have attended Creative Capital meetings that talk about goal-setting,  Fiscal sponsorship, grant writing and rounding out the audience who may be interested in your project
  • How People connect back to the Kresge: Adrienne Brown, Anders Ruhwald’s wife Marie is a fellow, Cezanne Charles (Director of Creative Industries), Chase Morris,  Faina Lerman, Jonathan Rajewski, Kate Daughdrill, Lynne Avadenka, Marsha Music, Scott Hocking, Steve Hughes, Tiff Massey, Thomas Bell’s wife works for Kresge

Not a priority at this stage, but good to keep in mind:
  • Part of Knight’s contract is to support your Kickstarter/Patronicity campaign etc. and put it on blast. Although they request to overview all materials (slows things down) they can also streamline the process of having funds go directly to the Fiscal sponsor for quicker
  • Apply again!
  • With Kickstarter etc. if there are well considered 'rewards' it could really double as a productive way to produce something that I hoped to do anyways?

Things to maybe watch out for (and suggested ideas?):
  • How will all resources get shared (Google Docs?) Very diverse group of winners, good friction.
  • You do not get funds right away until after they have been matched, so maybe it is not the best idea to spend lots of personal funds just to setup the structure that will allow for matching funds to trickle in over a long period of time.
  • Have a separate bank account for the project (Piper’s suggestion)
  • It might not be worth having amounts under $10 that are being sent piece-meal to be matched with a check from the Fiscal Sponsor, but do they have a suggestion for how to pace this out?
  • Try not to over think how personal income may be a conflict by being used as matching or in-kind donations. It may be best to set a good price for yourself, $35 an hour for all of your labor? Keep track of it! Do you know how you can delegate certain work? Take a step back? Take a break?
  • You still have to pay taxes on any income that you planned on receiving from the matching funds, perhaps put this aside in another bank account, or even include it as part of the budget?
  • The financial ecosystem where we ask our community to put their money where their mouth is, however are we all dipping from the same pool of friends and colleagues? What about the elephant in the room, usual disconnect between the suburbs and the city (see train that stops at 8 mile), Walter Wasacz talked about the way that music draws people in and the informal ways that people feel comfortable, example I thought of: punk scene when kids came in from the suburbs, formed their own bands etc. it wasn’t voyeuristic, but it was about getting away.
  • 2 years becoming 4 is that better or worse for the project?
  • What if I just want to be a hermit or work on someone else’s project because it’s easier to do? How do I keep focused…