I feel so very much different from everyone else here. I have a practice that is well structured, organised and focused, and it seems like in this context that is not desirable. I get almost pressured to change that, and I can’t for the sake of me understand why. It might be, that I intentionally let pass of something by not getting involved in some interesting things, because I do not feel obligated to attend social events of almost any kind. But at the same time I feel like I gain a lot as well, I feel that I get something no one else gets. Lack of professional attitude and behaviour is something that really pisses me off here. People are not on time, they talk about each other behind their backs, they change hats and coats and faces and what not in matter of minutes.
After having a very fertile session with the second year students a while ago, I feel so reluctant to speak about anything else than photography. I think everything else is just so pretentious! I probably feel like this because I spend most of my time alone, without any kind of influence going on to one side or another. And these two things goes together, the lack of professionalism and pretentious art. If you are not really sure about who you are and what your place in this world is, you are more likely to get so influenced by others that you loose your own voice. And this combined with a practice that is not that well specified is a countdown for catastrophe. A lot of people are just hanging around, making work that can’t justify its own presence in any way. And this goes on in all disciplines, I must add, also in the one closest to my heart.
But isn’t the community a big part of art school, isn’t that why people decide to attend various courses on different levels, to get influenced by others? You talk about it like it was a bad thing. I recall that was one of the reasons you chose to do a postgraduate course as well. It was, but maybe because the reality in my case turned out to be very different, I started to think about this very differently as well. If you spend your time in art school hanging around with your friends, how does that prepare you for the life after art school? Christ how cynical you have become. Well, to start with, the critiques. You do not get critiques like the kind you get in art school anywhere else. You do not get that kind of direct, honest and immediate feedback anywhere else. That is true, if critiques in art school would actually be direct, honest and immediate. All the critiques I have attended so far, have not been. Because people want to remain friends, but still they are not good enough friends which would enable them to speak honestly to each other. They are hanging somewhere in the middle, and so the critiques tend to get stuck somewhere in the middle as well, between group tutorials, everyday small talk and, sometimes something that slightly resembles critiques. Everything is just very generic, middle grey and mainstream. I thought you weren’t a big fan of contradictions and that in the matter of fact, a quite conventional art practice is what you have in mind for yourself? I was and it is, I’m just proclaiming general attitude, you know, the kind you get of just simply keeping your eyes and ears open about what is going on around you.
So your solution would be not to make any friends in art school? Well, one of the students in the student group I was working with actually suggested that and everyone else slightly laughed awkwardly. I think there lies something in that, even though being that harsh is maybe to exaggerate. I had a lot of fun dong my undergraduate degree, and I made friends for life during those years but I also feel we spoke very honestly about each others work as well. Maybe it is a cultural thing, to speak your mind and know that you can get away with that. My point is, that being over polite takes the edge out of your studies at art school. And what is wrong with crying in a critique session? The crying in itself is only a reaction to something, and is that not what the critiques are meant to do? Provoke reaction. People who cry during crits are usually the same people and of course crying is not anything that should be the purpose of the sessions, but I think that he crying is often a bigger problem for the people that do not cry, than for the person who actually is brave enough to show genuine emotion and attitude.