4 min read

Fall/Winter 2023: Loops and Stepping Back

Fall/Winter 2023: Loops and Stepping Back
We are trying to avoid this going forward.

It's been a while since my last update, but I think mostly for good reasons. I've taken on a bit more of a management/coordination role in my day-to-day work, which has been surprisingly rewarding but cut into my free time. In that free time, I've been trying to actually live what I believe, in terms of trying to, I don't know, actually enjoy my life. This has, thus far, meant spending less time trying to do things for anyone's sake but my own or my loved ones.

Especially in light of an ongoing genocide and the continued failure of our representative governments and institutions to do anything to materially improve the situation, I've been trying to focus on care, community, and the things I can control. Those things out of my control have certainly not helped my mood, but at least lately, I'm feeling okay about the micro-scale of my own life.

I am focusing on repairing myself, I think.

I started my loop studies in September, and have, as I always do with hundred days projects, found this to be the most fulfilling and sustainable way of making art. On days when I'm in the studio, or have enough time, I'll work with a pen plotter or make a more complex code sketch. On days when I don't, I make a little diagram with GraphViz.

At some point during this process, I realized I was enjoying making work in a way I hadn't in quite some time. I'm not forcing myself to make technically complex things out of some misguided sense of pride, or trying to target a specific audience, be it grant committees, galleries, performance spaces, or anything else. For the first time in a while, I'm just making things that I feel like making, and sharing them with people through social media. There's no particular goal or artifact I'm trying to produce, beyond the loop itself.

It's also been a startling reminder of the fact that all my creative endeavors started from a desire to write: I'm incorporating technology into this, but this is more like writing poetry than anything else, which feels really nice. Many days, I'm just exorcising my own negative thought loops, my own doubts, fears, and obsessions. This process of putting the unspoken onto the page often seems to rob it of its power.

I must break the cycle.

This has been shockingly well-received, and been rejuvenating to do. So a month or two ago I decided that, for the time being, this is what I want to do. Instead of hustling after the next grant or fellowship, or always trying to make sure I'm "producing" in a way that looks good on a resume, I'd just like to keep making things like this and see what comes of it. I am trying not to place all my self-worth into anything I can't control, and simply enjoy the act of making, enjoy my life, and let myself fucking relax for a while. And I'm succeeding more than I have in quite some time.

All this could be read as a big excuse for the lack of progress on the year's goals, but I'm at peace with what I have and haven't done. Still, I started this, so I might as well log the year's progress for posterity.

2023 Goal Progress

Completed/good progress: GREEN
In progress: YELLOW
Not started: RED

Previously completed goals have been removed.

Goal Notes
Further reduce big tech dependencies - get rid of Gmail/gDrive, iPhone, etc. Gave up on this one.
Give at least one talk Gave up on this one.
Complete at least 2 big personal projects Loop studies & bed game.
Apply to 10 grants/fellowships/etc. On track for 8 this year, unless I suddenly feel moved to apply to a bunch over my winter break. Still, as mentioned above, I'm trying to prioritize this type of grind less, so feeling good about it.
KEEP MOVING FORWARD Still happening!
(Stretch) find and kill god. Maybe next year.

Maybe I'll do an end-of-year reflection, maybe I won't. But for now, I feel more okay with how things are going than I have in a while, and that's enough for me.

Screenshot Dump