1. I Got a Job, or: Are You Fucking Kidding Me? by Marnie Slater
  2. Things I’ve Learned Before 30 by Laura Deschepper
  3. Upcoming & Tips

This autumn SPIN drops you two long-reads to be chewed with attention…

Both ask what it means to be “young” in the arts field, and the anger, gratitude and lineage that energise it.

First up, artist Marnie Slater’s “I Got a Job, or: Are You Fucking Kidding Me?” witnesses the powerful feminist gaze of Allie Eagle’s Self Portrait, and meditates on how some artists’ stories demand change, as a matter of survival - and inform the lives of future (younger) art makers.

Second, SPIN’s KeyMaster and co-director Laura Deschepper turns her gaze on her work in the arts, and considers who she can truly credit for supporting the development of her practice (and the destruction of her illusions) as she prepares to exit her 20’s.

….. and scroll down for SPIN’s hot tips, including Diederik Peeters at Kaaitheater this week, and Mothers & Daughters’“Me and White Supremacy” sessions over the autumn.

1. I Got a Job, or: Are You Fucking Kidding Me?
by Marnie Slater

“I Got a Job” was first published in Dutch by HART (number 212, 31 March 2021), commissioned as part of their series “De nieuwe lichting” [The new batch] in which HART gives a (young) curator carte blanche to present the work of a(n) (young) artist of their choice. “I Got a Job” is published for the first time in its original English here.

Allie Eagle, Self Portrait (1974), graphite on paper, 785 x 545mm. Collection Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
Allie Eagle, Self Portrait (1974), graphite on paper, 785 x 545mm. Collection Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

"I don’t tell you this… so you think of me as a victim. I am not a victim. I tell you this because my story has value. My story has value. I tell you this ’cause I want you to know, I need you to know, what I know." – Hannah Gadsby, Nanette (2018)

I’m going to break the rules a little bit for this instalment of “De nieuwe lichting”. I would like to share with you a work by a not-so-young and not-so-new artist (Allie Eagle), from the perspective of being a not-so-young and not-so-curator artist (me). This work is a drawing titled Self Portrait and was made in Ōtautahi Christchurch in Aotearoa New Zealand in 1974.

Allie Eagle is an artist I did not know a lot about until quite recently. I had heard about but not seen Allie Eagle and Me (2004), a documentary film made from the perspective of a younger film-maker, Briar March, that looks back at Eagle’s earlier work as an artist, feminist and radical lesbian, and documents how her political perspectives and life as an artist have changed over the years. This is just to say that I am not ‘discovering’ an ‘undiscovered’ female artist, I was until quite recently simply ignorant of Eagle’s work. Eagle is a figure in my “nieuwe lichting”. I want to share this drawing with you, today, in 2021, because I think it has an important story to tell about being an artist that resonates with me and hopefully with you, too.

Eagle’s Self Portrait is kind of scruffy, smudged, the artist is slightly off-centre. It’s early summer in Aotearoa, and her sleeves are short. The top she is wearing looks like it could have many pockets, which indicates a level of functionality that is unusual for female-gendered clothing as much in 1974 when the drawing was made as now in 2021 when this text is being written. There is no discernible background, but for some reason I imagine she’s in front of a bathroom mirror. The artist looks directly at me out of the drawing; she’s busy and pissed off, fed up, over it, her head tilted slightly forward while her gaze stays direct, as if to say, “Are you fucking kidding me?” Eagle made Self Portrait when she was in her mid-twenties, and living in Ōtautahi. The work was purchased for the collection of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū in Ōtautahi in 2012.

I have been thinking a lot about storytelling recently. I have been thinking about the stories we tell as artists, how we tell them and who we tell them to. I tell stories all the time: in artist’s talks, in grant applications, when I teach, when I see friends and colleagues, when I sit down to write texts for publications. And I listen to them too, a lot. The stories we tell matter; they can carve out a space for us to exist, challenge what can be said, build solidarity and understanding and help us get what we desire, but they can also reproduce conditions that maintain lives as impossible, unsayable and fucked up. And we are such professional editors of our stories, right? What we edit out when we tell our stories as artists says a lot, and so often it is not about what the person who is doing the telling actually wants or needs to communicate. Editing our stories can be a matter of survival.

Read more…

2. Things I've Learned Before 30 by Laura Deschepper

Inspired by project credits, I’d like to credit those in my surroundings who’ve been paramount to the development of my own work as administrator, producer, initiator.

When I was 24, I started out with a lot of principles that reflected the self-made practitioner’s dream, where all successes are thanks to your own skills and motivation. Now, looking back 6 years at the chain of people vouching for me, helping, supporting and teaching me, I’ve come to terms with my outdated principles. Time for some good old reflection, before I turn 30.

Be aware, there’ll be lots of namedropping and cheesiness in this text. It’s been on my mind for quite some time, so here we are, starting with a stream of gratitude. I’ll take a trip down memory lane, in a chronological fashion, and reminisce on the situations and people who shared their energy, experience and genuine support with me.

Let’s take a dive back to 2016 when I was ‘almost graduated’, starting to volunteer and ‘make a name for myself.’

These were the principles and beliefs I held:

The more you work, the more people will appreciate you
If you don’t (over)work, you’re lazy. Laziness is to be scorned
A burn-out, (and continuing to work through it) is a qualification of a hard worker

while at the same time

Mental health issues are a danger to your career and the perception of your abilities
Everything you achieve, you’ve earned and worked for yourself
The quality of work determines the value of you as an individual
Failure is your own flaw, overcompensation is always the answer

Don’t ask me how precisely I built these principles. Probably a combination of the golden nature/nurture mix, including background, peers and institutions. Maybe ‘Samson en Gertje’ have secretly brainwashed me with these silly notions of individualism.

With this awesome and confident set of beliefs I entered a varied series of collaborations as volunteer and KVR (without a kunstenaarskaart, I had no idea what that was) in the Antwerp music and stage-arts field.

Read more…

3. Upcoming & Tips

Apparitions, Diederik Peeters
Kaaitheater, Brussels (BE)

24.10.2021 (Brussels)
7.11.2021 (Ghent)
21.11.2021 (Brussels)
Me and White Supremacy Circle, facilitated by Mothers & Daughters

To Speak Light Pours Out, Kate McIntosh
SPRING, Utrecht (NL)

NETWERK PODIUM, a podcast production by Laura Deschepper / SPIN

Apparition of an Afterlife, Diederik Peeters
Théâtre de Poche, Hédé-Bazouges (FR)

Schizophonic Apparitions, Diederik Peeters
Théâtre de Poche, Hédé-Bazouges (FR)

Red Herring, Diederik Peeters
Théâtre de Poche, Hédé-Bazouges (FR)

Apparitions, Diederik Peeters
Nona, Mechelen (BE)

Apparitions, Diederik Peeters
De Spil, Roeselaere (BE)