A couple of months ago, I was checking out the PhD program in Cultural Studies on Claremont University’s website. Through much clicking around I stumbled on an event called LA as Lab. It sounded like it might be an innovative and inspiring conference for artists so I signed up.
Walking into the event today, I wondered for a moment if I was in the right place. Some people were dressed up in heels and business-like clothes, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it didn’t have the “artsy” vibe that I’m used to at many LA arts events. In any case, it was actually more of an arts management conference (which explained the business attire), but as I soon learned, I was definitely in the right place.
You see, I’ve recently been re-evaluating and re-thinking my career. How can my background in film better reflect my artistic values at this stage of my life–values like creating in community, cultivating healing conversations among people and people groups, and honest spirituality. And this conference was right in line with what I’ve been thinking. It was all about how we can be effective curators of art in today’s IWWIWWHIWI (I Want What I Want, When and How I Want It) world. Here are some of the highlights that I took away from today’s event, particularly from this morning’s speaker:
- We must create experiences that are bigger than our individual selves. It’s not about what I need to say to people. Rather, it’s about what do I need to know. This creates empathy, which is what we need in our artistic spaces.
- Although there has been a decline in consumption of the traditional arts, there has been a rise in collective immersive experiences (i.e. blogging, live tweeting, Coachella).
- We are also in an age of the “Professional Amateur” in which interests in film, photography, writing, web creation, etc. are no longer limited to a select group of people, and some of the ways this has manifest have been fascinating and developmental.
- We need to focus on authentic relationships, not transactions; slowing down, not speeding up; conversations, not marketing and sales; doing less, not more.
- Our art needs to be about impact and relevance.
- We need to move from i-Creativity to c-Creativity, or Co-Creativity with the community.
When I did “Sisters – The Web Series” last year, it opened up my eyes to the possibility of connection via the web, the media, and a big idea. I love the conversations that the internet is generating and I’m looking for ways to be more engaged in those conversations and to somehow make that part of my life’s work.
I also love the idea of grassroots collaboration in order to create meaningful art. For example, today I learned about a community who used storytelling and common meals to tell the history of their neighborhood. I also met a couple who transformed the sidewalks of their San Diego neighborhood to become a lab for artists to actively create in real time, accentuating the beauty of process over product.
How can this type of innovative exposition and engagement be duplicated in the film world? For me, I think part of the answer to that question is revisiting the basic technology and storytelling aspects of film and translating that into a digital space. I think what that looks like varies, and I think it’s expansive. iPhones, tablets, DSLRs can be part of the equation just as much as old school Bolex cameras. And I may not just be a filmmaker anymore. I might be a filmmaker and a writer, and a scholar, and a __________. Who knows? I would love to experiment more with film as digital art, and to use that as a catalyst for conversation. These are some of the questions and concepts I’m wrestling with as of late. Hopefully you’ll stick with me on this journey as I figure out more of what this looks like!