Friday, September 27, 2013

speaking words at dare conference 2013

(tl;dr: video is here)

I think I did a good thing™ at the dare conference in London this month. I was asked to do a 5 minute lightning talk on overcoming a fear. I chose to speak on the fear of becoming an artist which is really the fear of calling yourself an artist without adding 'a bit of a wanker' in the same sentence.

I was very happy to do this. I like lightning talks. I like the format, the excitement, the tension, the clarity, the medium, the message, the constraint, the openness, the execution, the delivery, the focus, the rigour, the directness, the fear. the wit. the mischief.

I had a particular vision for how this talk could be delivered. I'd harboured a fantasy for the last year or so about curating a event about design delivered entirely in spoken word format. like, you know, poetry. words. with structure and meaning and context and life and narrative and darkness and cadence and rhyme and passion and space and pace and pathos and pain and light and heat. and wit. and mischief.

I knew the dare conference would be the right place to try this out. and it very much was. taking a risk was all part of the deal. so many thanks to the dare conference team and particularly to jonathan kahn for his efforts in making the thing happen.

most of these words came together in about 90 minutes on a train to somewhere in a haze of impulse I'll never forget. if you're interested in playing along, lightning style, they don't actually start until slide 2. you'll get the idea.

in addition, the event was recorded, which means you have the dubious pleasure of witnessing me reading the words out loud on a stage and everything. I included dramatic pauses, because I know you like those. many thanks to the folks at dare for the recording, and to Michael Adcock for extracting and hosting the 5 minutes that you can find here (note, the official version now included - thanks Dare Conf).

if you feel like taking part in a spoken word event with a focus on design, let me know. it would be awesome. find me at tim at timcaynes dot com. or on the twitter. or here. or anywhere.






I said it's art, it don't look like much, but it's the way that I see and I think about stuff
I said it's art, and it don't look like much, but it's the way that I see and I think about stuff

and you said, I don't get it, what's that meant to be? what's that thing right there? it that supposed to be trees? if this is your art then I ain't buying. it's just a bit shit mate, you're not even trying.

I said that's not the point. it's a manifestation. not some allegory on deforestation. just a representation. an approximation. the way that I deal with life's complications. it's the way that I see things, life through my lens. I put it on paper to see how it ends.

and you said all I'm saying is don't give up the day job. I said I'm 8 years old. I don't have a day job. but the words they cut through me, I took them to heart. and I put away childish things I called art.

and this is music, it don't sound like much, but it's the way that I wish I could speak about stuff.
and this is music, and it don't sound like much, but it's the way that I wish I could speak about stuff.

just listen a minute, I wish I could say, cos these notes and these lyrics I arranged in this way are the sounds of my fears slowly drifting away, if only today I could make you press play. if only today I could make you press play.

but I'm being a idiot. who'd want to listen? who'd want to put themselves through the embarrassment? it's just miserable teenage artistic pretensions when narcissism is the mother of all your inventions. don't worry, it's nothing, I'll put it away. I'll keep to myself the things I want to say.

and what is an artist anyway? cos I think I might be one, but I just couldn't say. could I take this one line, just six seconds of time, to define in a rhyme my perception of artist as somebody who, just believes what they do. would that work for you?

and the thing I feel most, much stronger than fear, is the desire to confront it, the very idea, that being an artist will somehow expose the things about me that nobody knows. there's things about me that nobody knows.

and since I've started, the artist: creative catharsis, the role that we play to frame what we say art is, the channel, the filter, the lightning conductor, the creator, the canvas, the wilful disruptor. protagonist, lover.

the artist. it's just a label. don't worry. it doesn't matter.

I said it's me. I don't look like much, but let's start with that and move on a touch.
I said it's me. I don't look like much, but let's start with that and move on a touch.

and wait, before you say, yes it is supposed to look that way. you don't like it? that's fine, I'm learning to deal with the things you might say and the way that I feel, because taking the risk is all part of the deal. taking the risk is all part of the deal.

and thanks for coming, this exhibition was hard. three hundred and sixty-five days have gone past but of this thing I've created, I'm immensely proud. it's lifted a burden. it's lifted a cloud.

see the thing that I've learned, the one thing that's true, is noone can tell you what might get you through because art is in everything, the words that you say, the pictures you make or the music you play, the simple and beautiful you do every day

in the pieces of you in the trail that you leave as you touch and you see and you feel and believe, as you pass through this world seeking meaning and wonder, at times you'll feel desperate, at times you'll go under, but fuck it if this isn't why we try harder, fuck it if this isn't why we try harder

an apology. no, not for the language, but for using this book like some kind of appendage.
but I'm not really reading, it could just be blank. it's an act, it's my art, since we're on the south bank.

see, art is expression, it just needs some arrangement. it needs curation as a personal statement and when I thought to do that, I was over the fear. when I thought to do that, it all became clear.

art is in all of the things that you do. and being an artist is just knowing that's true.
art is in all of the things that you do. and being an artist is just knowing that's true.


3 comments:

  1. Beautiful and hit me right to my core. I am an artist struggling with being an artist. Hence I'm not reaching my full potential as an artist and therefore as a human being. Thank you this has bought a tear to my eye and feeling of connection. Emily Burrowes

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  2. Tim, your talk was the best thing I've witnessed unfolding in front of my eyes all year.

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  3. I'm a bit late in seeing this Tim but it really was something special. Deeply felt and beautifully rendered.

    Stuart

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