Been thinking more about the idea of stupid/silly projects and why they’re important. I’ve been thinking in the new year more about what kind of projects I make and how I choose what to actually work on. Generally speaking my brain is constantly generating ideas for all sorts of projects, big, small, intellectual, silly etc. But so few of these actually ever get made by me. I often enjoy the process of starting a new project much more than I do working long term on an existing one and finishing it. For this reason I’ve lately been interested in smaller quicker projects that I can execute almost immediately.
A subset of these smaller projects are stupid art projects. Ideas that are silly and quite novel. In the past I usually log these ideas away in notes and forget about them because they seem more fun in theory than they would be in practice, but this year I want to try and create them. Whenever I have an idea for a small project thats somewhat absurd or weird I want to actually execute it.
I’ve started with an idea about elevator shafts. Greek elevators often times have no doors in between you and the elevator shaft, so while you’re riding them there’s these little patches of painted wall that are only visible while you’re riding inside of the elevator. I had the ideea of making stickesr that just say “elevator shaft” and putting them on this interior walls just as a little nod/joke to how weird it is that we have this space that everyone sees but is completely inside the interior of a building. The idea sat in my notes for maybe a month and I would mention it to people when we were in elevators. At the beggining of the year though I got this urge to actually make it. For some reason I’ve become sort of fed up with having this stash of stupid ideas sitting around. Why not just make it? So I made it with some DIY stickers and started putting them in elevator shafts (I had to use greek letters and spell it “ΕΛΕΒΕΙΤΟΡ ΣΑΦΤ” which i actually think is kind of funny because I love seeing english words written out in Greek characters).
I’m still not sure if I even like the idea so much, part of it feels like a sort of edgy adolescent act (maybe that’s fun though), and sometimes when I tell people about it or when they see me do it I can see this reaction in their eyes that maybe the project is too “art bullshity” or kind of uncomfortable or just bad art. But this is the thing I’m trying to overcome, the fear that people will think my art is bad, that I’m a bad artist, or that my ideas are uncomfortably stupid. At this point right now I think I’d like to embrace that failure, to conciously make art that I might look back on and roll my eyes at in the future. It seems the only other option is to do it the way I did before, and be very selective with what I create, which leads to me creating far less things. And what I’ve learned more and more is that you can only see the good ideas in retrospect. Whatever seems interesting or dull or pretentious or wonderful will reveal itself as something else in the future. And this perception is completely fluid, it will change every time you look back on old work throughout life. My father is an author and I remember him telling me that every couple years he goes back and reads old work and that each time he reads something he feels that it’s either amazing or terrrible, and that this changes each time he looks back on it (with the same unchanged work). So I feel that the logical conclusiion must be that it’s better to focus on creating, on making whatever is available in the mind right now and not worry about its perceptions.
Even these writings fall into this category of fear of judgement. When I look back on old stream of consciousness writings I feel that these writings here will be read as shallow waxing philosophical annoyances, a juvenille collection of faux intellectual examinations. And I see now more and more that this is ok. I must create to create and live with the knowledge that other people may love, hate, or roll their eyes at whatever I’m doing. And I myself will do the same, but it’s a necessarry truth to accept if I want to continue making work thats decent. The good work will out itself to me, and even this sense of quality is so fleetingly impermanent (both in my own judgement, and in exterior judgement) that there’s not much point in dedicating too much time to it.