Monday, March 9, 2009

Full-Time Artist, Full-Time Job

posted by Tara O'Con

The funny thing is, I thought my time at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden would be easy, breezy, and not too time consuming. A fun little extra gig on the side with my fellow Third Rail artists. It soon became clear that I was wrong. The immediate cause-and-effect nature of our performances led us into a sort of real-time art making process. Each day was full of new information from our responses, both personal and critical, to the ever-changing dynamic of the Winter Garden. This constant information feed manifested a rehearsal process like I have never engaged in before. Most often, I am involved with projects that focus on drawing out one set of ideas over a long period of time that culminates into a performance. However, for Undercurrents & Exchange, each day's experience was in some way folded in and immediately turned around for the thought process and motivations behind the creation of the next day's experience.

Thus, we entered into a delicate balance of a) of time management, planning ahead to allow adequate rehearsal time for each performance; and b) allowing the fresh sense of immediacy to infiltrate each performance in a way that energized the space with a genuinely new dance every day and yet directly derived from all of the previously accumulated experiences.
Hmm ,what does this way of working remind me of?
Ah ha! A job! How stimulating!

For the month of February, I worked as a full-time artist for one project, with a daily routine, a work schedule of performances, rehearsals, and meetings, making decisions based on both in-the moment scenarios and forecasted events. It was my full-time job, the set of responsibilities and agendas that I commuted daily into Manhattan from Brooklyn to carry out.

Why are such stable, concrete platforms for creativity and alternative routines of interpersonal exchange within society so few and far between? Even more curious, how come it took me a five weeks to figure out this was actually a new way for me to work, even though I do consider myself a full-time artist?

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