Since a very young age a dreadful fear of Death makes me anticipate the passing of each year.
In 2019, after years of sad birthdays, I vowed to do each year a small art exhibition right at the junction between August and September for a few days as an experiment to replace my birthday with a different type of celebration that would move the light away from the anticipated increment. The idea stems from my rather modest side art practice and the bustling new media creative scene that attracted me to the city of Berlin. The initial emphasis was laid on art made with the assistance of technology which coincides with the bulk of my practice. In doing so I explored the positive sides and the negative sides of such an endeavour which I will try to subsequently highlight.
Replace a “mostly” meaningless event by something more personal and savory
I hate birthdays, birthdays are always stressful to me and subjectively rather pointless. To me age increments seem like the most shallow reason to gather your friends because I see no added value or even personalization to it. With no clear enthusiasm about the process I have always struggled to enjoy those moments. On the other hand sharing your yearly creative produce with close friends is much more satisfying and creates a more interesting dialogue, the focus shifts away from Time to Space : the place, the venue becomes a second home for a few days, a secluded island of weirdness.
By showcasing some of my art each year it also creates the feeling of having a deadline to have something to show which has proven great to overcome creator’s block.
Connect with the local scene and exchange ideas
So as to not exhibit alone and seem even more vain than I am each year I try to invite and showcase one or two artists in the creative scene that I really admire. It is for me the opportunity to connect and interact with great minds and understand a bit better how they work and maybe even become friends. I also really want to showcase people that I think deserve more attention and more appreciation for their work.
Increase odds to meet up with the people you like and people you don’t even know yet
When a person offers to meet up for a birthday it usually involves one ponctual timeslot. On the contrary if you organize a week long exhibition you offer your friends the opportunity to pick a time that suits them best which dramatically increases the odds of actually catching up with them. Friends can just come and go whenever they want and whenever they are available: some friends will hang out there the entire time and some will just pass by 5 minutes and I love it, no constraints, no pressure, liberty of format.
Furthermore by making the event public you add a tiny drop of serendipity because the event can attract random people from different backgrounds. This can turn into great opportunities to make acquaintances. Overall it’s probably the most amount of fun I get throughout the year, a week of absolute pure productive bliss.
Serendipity is at the core of my art practice: I try to leverage mass productions methods (“creative” bots) and randomness to increase odds to find gems. This also works with people and for life in general : the more people you meet the higher chances to meet interesting people.
Rather obvious but non-neglectable downsides
There are, of course, numerous downsides to such an undertaking.
- Firstly it is a financial burden: organizing an event will most likely result in a loss of money so I have to budget the event very tightly to not go overboard.
- It’s a complete timesink. Organizing the whole event takes an incredible amount of time and requires help and planning from all sides.
- Lastly it is sometimes hard to stay focused on enjoying the event and have quality conversations with attendees because you always have to take care or anticipate some detail of organization.
If you are interested in participating in those events or just want to send me feedback shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.