“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.”
Ours is a society of stuff. We purchase to pursue a better self, a better life, a better experience in the world. We live in an age of instantaneous acquisition, a time when the click of a button can summon goods to our door in a matter of hours. No longer do we need to leave home to accumulate, it is possible to shun the outside world and covet it at the same time. The truth is, none of these items fulfills the promise of changing us or our lives in any way. We receive them and experience the rush of endorphins that comes with newness, but before long another fix is all that can maintain the facade. The cycle is endless unless we consciously choose to disrupt it and it is choking our world. We are drowning in our own stuff.
Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo Ovalles joined us in October to discuss his work. Ovalles believes we have collectively entered a new dimension as a result of the last few years and the extreme negativity they have wrought. Because of the digital world we find ourselves in, Ovalles has had the opportunity to interact with people around the world he otherwise might not have been able to, a benefit of the altered state of the world that counters some of the negativity. One such connection is a group he joins every two weeks to discuss death and dying. In addition, Ovalles recently taught a workshop on ancestors at Copper Beech Institute. These opportunities to connect simply would not have materialized if it hadn’t been for the changes the pandemic set in motion. To hear more about Ovalles experience of the last few years as well as his work, listen to the complete interview.
Amaranth Borsuk spoke to us from Seattle in late October. A writer, she explained that at the start of the pandemic she was on sabbatical working on multiple manuscripts. As she was finding a rhythm with this – while also having a one-year-old at home – the world changed profoundly. She suddenly found herself without childcare and having a difficult time setting aside the tumultuous events of the pandemic and civil unrest that marked the last few years. Borsuk decided to take back up with a collaborator. She has worked with a few collaborative partners – all also mothers, which offers an immediate connection. To hear more about how the experience of parenting has changed Borsuk’s work and life, and to hear live readings of her work, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
The most powerful thing you can purchase is nothing.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews is here.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Praxis usder Jennifer Barth recommends World Ending Fire by Wendell Berry. To explore the writing of Amaranth Borsuk, click here.
Watershed Ceramics invites applications for the Salad Days residency. Salad Days is Watershed’s annual fundraiser event, celebrating ceramics and locally-sourced food. The selected artist in residence will be commissioned to produce hundreds of plates of shallow bowls for the event. There is a $4,000 stipend for this residency. For more information, and to apply, visit the website. Deadline for applications is February 15.
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius. His book, Making it in the Art World, is available now with bonus content here.
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