I haven't blogged yet this year. As always, not having a consistent schedule I feel obligated to fulfill tends to lead to me not doing things. But I figured I'd follow up on my end-of-year post, check in on what's been going on and where I'm at on the goals I set at the end of 2022, and maybe set myself up for a few follow-ups.
So Far This Year
It's been a wild few months! I forced myself not to start any new projects or another hundred days during January, despite getting bored out of my skull, because I figured a little time to leave the fields fallow would be good for me. I also knew things would pick up for me work-wise by the middle of February. This ended up being a pretty good call.
I applied to a few fellowships and grants, kept my head down at work, and spent a lot of time playing video games and taking care of our sick cat - he developed stage 3 renal failure late last year and I spend an inordinate amount of time every week doing various unpleasant medical things for him and trying to convince him to eat more.
Oh, and I did the global game jam! I built the game in collaboration with Ben Tidswell, Schuyler DeVos, and Matt Ross. I'm pretty proud of what we accomplished in 48 hours, using a very janky ThreeJS framework that I built. It's a first pass at a game I've been meaning to build for a while, and I'd like to build out further now that it's done. You can play it here: The Tower. It's based on a little visual poem (the link is broken right now, I need to fix some three dependencies on some of my sketches, I'll get to it eventually) I made last year.
More broadly, it's about something I've been thinking about for a long time: what does a post-human world where stochastic parrots are still talking to each other look like? What would it mean for something like GPT-3 to still be running, still composing fake emails back and forth between autoresponders, after all the people it's supposed to benefit are dead? There's something really haunting to me about this idea of servers still whirring at the end of the world, and I'm glad I got to explore it a bit.
I was back to relaxing for the first week or two of February - got pretty into Pathologic 2 somewhere around here, but I haven't beaten it yet due to the shitstorm of Things Happening after that second week.
On February 15th, I signed a lease on a new studio space that I'm sharing with my friend August. It's in a super cool shared art space in a big warehouse, with a community that shares a lot of both of our values. It's exactly the type of space we've both always dreamed of being a part of. This rules, and I'm very excited about it!
Unfortunately, within a couple days of signing the lease, several things happened (both good and bad) that ended up meaning I haven't spent much time there yet. Our roommate found an incredible deal on a single apartment, with the catch that he had to sign the lease pretty much immediately. He was very cool about the whole thing, and offered to pay an extra month's rent, but it was still a fair bit of financial stress, especially after just dropping a deposit and first month's rent on the studio.
I also had to deal with some high-stress personal stuff that all went down the same day as finding out I needed a new roommate. Suffice it to say I had a very bad couple of days. We ultimately found a subletter and have til the end of April to figure out our next move, but there were a rough couple of weeks of hustling to either find a new apartment or a new roommate.
This situation led me to take on some freelance work (that I can't talk about) to pick up extra cash, which has been a great experience but requires me to be on-site at a space pretty far away from my house, so a lot of my usual house management and self-care habits have been hard to keep up, and I haven't been able to spend much time at the studio.
Finally, while all of this was going on, I got the surprise news that a friend and I had gotten a grant that he hadn't even told me he'd applied for. I got a "call me" text at 10am, right after finding out I needed to find a new roommate and dealing with some messy personal stuff, and assumed my friend had been hit by a car or arrested, since that was how my luck was going. Turned out it was actually some of the best news I've gotten this year! Can't talk publicly about this yet, either, but more to come.
I did manage to make a quick trip upstate last weekend to do a little brain reset, where I reminded myself of the importance of silence, laughter, and spending time with friends. Sometimes you need a physical remove to remind yourself: all your stresses and fixations are things you can let go of, if you give yourself room to.
I also got to play in the snow for the first time this winter and spent a lot of time in a hot tub, which helped.
TL;DR: I had a very calm first six weeks of the year, with the exception of Global Game Jam weekend, but have had an insane last 3 weeks.
Things are just about looking up after a few weeks of hell, and I'm excited to get back into the studio and focus a bit on my own work and practice.
Progress On The Year's Goals
In progress: YELLOW
Not started: RED
I am working on figuring out the best markdown template for stuff like this, so bear with me.
|Show work in a gallery, digital or physical
|Give at least one talk
|Have discussed plans for a workshop - need to follow up more on this.
|Complete at least 2 big personal projects
|Game jam was a start, but need to keep building out The Tower.
|Do at least one big collaborative project.
|Grant received to do this!
|Apply to 10 grants/fellowships/etc.
|3 so far, one of them successful! Even though this is one I didn't, technically, know I had applied to because my friend didn't tell me, I did help write the original grant application he reused, so I'm counting it.
|Further reduce big tech dependencies - get rid of Gmail/gDrive, iPhone, etc.
|Find a studio/art collective to work with in person.
|Got it done within a month!
|Focus on building community on & offline.
|Haven't been abe to do as much as I'd like due to all of the above, but getting the studio is a big start.
|KEEP MOVING FORWARD
|Feel like it's happening!
|(Stretch) find and kill god.
|One of these days I'm gonna get him.
Feels like progress is happening, even if it's never quite at the pace, or in the way, I expect.
That's everything, so here's some screenshots! This is just from my Windows boot, and may be updated more once I've browsed my Linux folder. The idea of a screenshot dump as a semi-regular blog post is stolen from my old teacher Sam Lavigne - it seems like a low-effort way to maintain some posting momentum. I'm not making any commitments 'til my schedule has cooled a bit, but I think doing a monthly screenshot dump, at the very least, would be a nice cadence to keep up.
Cheers. Hope you're well.