on embargoes

Some of you lovely folk have asked what “The Plan” is. I feel like I’ve done nothing but repeat myself on this as I’ve seen people facetoface but I haven’t published anything official here… for a very good reason.

I can’t.

It’s life, Jimbut not as we know it.”

reallybigroadtrip is an experiment in sustainable creative digital culture; emphasis on EXPERIMENT. As such it’s important to not wrap it up in a box with a pretty pink ribbon like it’s a finished product. It’s the fluid nature of digital culture that I love the most, and I have a LOT to learn through this journey. So expect the unexpected; I do.

There might not be an official, published, “Plan” yet, but there are ‘stakes in the ground’. The outline for this (that I have been giving in general discussion) is as follows:

The basic ‘plan’ is to get a bus and drive around Australia making and sharing digital art with everyone we meet along the way. There are a few key ‘stakes in the ground’ in terms of destination which will be announced here and discussed (a lot) via my social feeds. Namely these are twitterfacebook, instagram, G+, the agenda page on here and the newsletter. If you ever wonder what I’m up to and you haven’t seen a post here then go find me on one of those feeds.

We shall also be stopping off at random places along that route, especially if people have invited us to pop in for a cuppa! (seriously, I have the most amazing google map to remind me where we have been invited).

I thought that had been clear in everything I’ve been saying and doing online, but I have been told that you guys might want more of an “Official Plan”. The problem there is twofold:

a) Given that this is my life as much as it is an art project, etc etc, I would prefer to not try to think of things in such a structured, closed, way. I can work anywhere and have an unusual freedom that I want to exploit, not lock down like it was any other type of desk job.

b) I can’t actually share the full dates and locations of the current ‘stakes in the ground’ yet because I’m still in discussion with some things and at ‘signing contracts’ stage with others… in other words, I’m “under embargo”.

Things go on behind the scenes that just can’t be shared until partners and dates are locked in and contracts have been signed. This is both clearly frustrating (for you) and I think a shame (for me). I would much prefer to talk about all the early discussions, because they’re the most interesting part for me. How these things come together is fascinating, and FUN.

What my embargoed “plan” currently looks like

So much of my life right now is under embargo I just can’t begin to explain – so I haven’t even tried. I figured you all knew the deal and knew I’d post as soon as I could when I had some news to share. But it seems I was wrong.

After being told off for not sharing more [*] I was talking to a (visual, designer type) friend who said “you should make one of those documents with big black streaks over the embargoed parts, just to show that things are in motion even if you can’t talk about them”. Genius, I thought. So, here :)

[*Ok, ‘told off’ might be a bit harsh – I had asked for feedback on how my project was communicating and it turns out ‘not very well’ in some cases… I’m grateful for that being pointed out, even if it kinda upset me at the time.]

embargoed plan

embargoed plan

As you can see, the first few months are largely in/around Adelaide and SA (OK so you can’t see the SA bits, but trust me).

The one public booking (Floating Land residency) means hot-footing it up to Queensland from SA which isn’t ideal on the old fuel perspective. I’m doing it because it’s a cool event that I’m delighted to participate in, and they were the first people to book me – even while the crowdfunding campaign was far from guaranteed. That kind of external belief is incredibly helpful for an artist; there’s no way I’d pull out just because a silly old thing like ‘logic’ might get in the way!

Cultural Economics

Other than the phenomenal support that has come through the crowdfunding (which all goes on the purchase and modification of the bus) I am entirely unfunded. This means I also have to work for a living to sustain myself and the trip. Raising the $27k (less fees) toward the bus is a MASSIVE help in getting this going, but it’s only just the start.

I’m not complaining about that; far from it, this is the life I chose. I’ve been freelance more of my life than I’ve been an employee, I prefer it this way. I know I can make a living from my skills and this gives me an incredible amount of freedom. Grants and sponsorship can be incredibly helpful, obviously, but they also come with their own demands.

It surprised me, though, to hear that apparently some of the gigs I’ve been doing (and writing about here) have been seen as ‘confusing’.

I thought I’d set the record straight.

I am just getting myself set back up to be a digital artist; media arts is what mosts interests me creatively. Having said that, reallybigroadtrip will also explore analogue arts and crafts (like knitting) and a broad range of digital culture spaces (like games, broadcast and academia). It should come as no surprise that my independent earnings (which will subsidise my life and this project) will come from a broad range of these spaces.

I hope that explains why I will sometimes run off and do talks, curations, workshops, residencies, mentoring, consulting and frankly anything that sounds interesting and (mostly) contributes towards a sustainable life…. so that I can DO MORE AWESOME ROADTRIPPING WITH MORE AWESOME PEOPLE IN MORE AWESOME PLACES! It might look ramshackle, it might look reactive, but life is not neat and tidy and I’m OK with that.

But what about NOW?

Now I have found the bus all the discussions surrounding the next year or are starting to be formalised; it’s exciting. I promise that I’ll tell you as much as I can as soon as I can. Until then, just know that there’s more scheming and plotting going on right now than you can shake a lolcat at.