Creativity in a time of constructed chaos.

How does one jumpstart a stalled studio practice, or renew a discipline of creativity, or revive a blog, refresh a website, and be committed to one’s vision and remain productive in a time of astonishing, distracting political chaos?

In the face of what feels like a capitalist push toward American neo-fascism, and after a serious, personally fallow period of depressed creativity and post-academic burnout, I feel like my only answer is to actively choose to make work as my form of resistance. I feel that self-discipline and resolve is the only plentiful tonic. I feel that now is a time to innovate and adapt, to rethink how one can work and thrive creatively in our present and forthcoming economy, and to surmount the many barriers we face, ideological and political, however one can. I feel that art and small-scale creative sectors must be an antidote to mass-production and mass-consumption, must retrieve importance from the complacency of corporate commodification, and restore excitement for the unusual, the intricate, the intimate, and the sensual.

The Republic might very well fall in the near future as the American Dream becomes less of a well-worn myth and more like the fake worm on the end of a dull hook. A revolution might kill some of us before encroaching wildfires and oceans finally envelop us. The already reckless police seem militia-prepped to cause a conflagration, too. Yet in spite of those possibilities and with resolve readied, I’m pushing ahead. I am tired of languishing under the yelling of a despicable leader and his party of thieves and the ineffectual counter-attacks of their faux opponents, their partners in this pendulous bought-and-sold duopoly. I’m tired of the winds of fear kicked up by colluding corporations for profit and societal stupefaction, the very entities who polish the pendulum each election.

And I am most of all tired of suffering the thought of tomorrow.

This is the most important feature of the neo-fascist’s strategy: manufacturing fear of a fabricated future in order to stunt and manipulate us in the present. It is an encouraging of the question, “why bother?” By spotlighting grandiose threats that simultaneously stoke their occurrence, which would cause harm, unrest, and a real loss of freedom, our current leaders use that as a hedge, nonetheless hoping to reap an immediate relinquishment of freedom by relentlessly capturing our attention, manipulating our emotions, and perverting our sense of reality. On one hand, causing chaotic catastrophe would create a situation for profit through mass destruction, an organizing of a fire sale while holding the alarm; on the other hand, the prefatory emotional chaos fertilizes slow self-destruction of our selves, depressing productivity, passions, and fomenting complacency through exhaustion. In essence, one way or another, they’re sucking the spirit out of us like greed-filled parasites. And this is pure greed, as recently demonstrated by outrageous tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and the industries that enrich them — a double-dip tax break for big-time corporate directors and pendulum polishers. It is pure, reckless greed that fuels their perverse desires.

Given this dilemma, it must be made clear that resistance and protest are not only acts of awareness, vocal rebuttal, and actively organizing to defend our human and civil rights, but also acts of refusal to turn over our spirits to these bastards for nothing but fraught emotion and disgust. It is recognizing that this all didn’t just come to head this past year, but has been in motion toward this point for decades. The act of resistance and protest is the self-care one needs to steel sensual faculties so that our ability to be human, to inspire action, to cull alliance, and to sustain love in the face of hate does not fail us. It is maintaining our own personal humanity. It is culling the power within ourselves to do what we truly know we are to be doing. It is every act we perform in order to reclaim our present.

As an artist or creative producer, it is also a refusal to allow our work to be continually annexed into a realm of investment instruments. It is a denial of the institutional lines placed around our work for us, and of the commercial categorizations in which we’re expected to play. It is insisting our peers get paid and encouraging them when they create new ways to sustain themselves. It is insisting that our contribution to the economy is understood, underscored, and accepted as essential. It is demanding remuneration for our labor and materials instead of just the exposure of our potential. And it is unabashedly exposing and fighting back those who seek to extinguish our cause or sell out our industry from under us.

It is very clear that the wealthy ruling class is not going to play fair. They have no interest in sharing the future with the many — they are only interested in continually diminishing those who make up the few. While I certainly don’t have a good answer for all of the large problems we mutually face, and until it becomes painfully clear that arming ourselves or pursuing more aggressive tactics will be the only way we can further defend our human and civil rights, I believe it’s time to work our hardest, weasel what we must, and work sharply realizing that the game has been rigged against us.

It is a time to remember that you don’t reason with cancer.

You invent ways to destroy it.

¶ 2017·12·20