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In the past year I've been transitioning from being a person who teaches kids how to make things with code and more of a weird/generative experimental artist in my own right.
Part of what took so long for me to get here is that I didn't think I really even had any right to make things for myself. It's hard to explain the feeling I mean. I've talked before about the kind of strange life I've had and one of the things I was raised with is the deep belief that I am not a person who can do anything myself but I can find use in helping others instead. That's one of the reasons why I found myself drawn to teaching. I might be dumb, uncreative, and inherently flawed: but perhaps I can enable to goodness and creativity in others.
Another block was overcoming the sense of pointlessness to the things I do. As an American, I'd been surrounded by this growing nihilism for the past few years. I understand that things were hard and scary but also so many people just kind of, well, gave up after Trump was President. Between him and continuing bad news on climate change, it was like a secular version of the end times. I even once collected a bunch of interviews with people for a zine about this. People giving up on their careers, on grad school, just deciding that if the world was going to burn and they couldn't do anything about it maybe they should just completely stop.
It's hard to make yourself focus on creating things when you feel like you're surrounded by that kind of fatalism. It was only in the past year, from the direction of philosophy, that I finally started to come to the conclusion that art has a fundamental function in terms of imagining possible worlds. And the first counter to fatalistic thinking always has to be even conceiving that things could be different. That's why art still matters and will continue to matter, no matter how many people want to make it feel superfluous in times of crisis.
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