situation: place and identity

despite some good times seeing exhibitions, discovering cool things about berlin and catching up with friends, this week has actually been really hard. i’ve re-discovered how anxious a bunny i am and how much i do like being attached to my things and my set ways, including my sense of place. i found myself doubting, again, whether i really had what it took to move to a country where i only understand half of wtf is going on and if it’s really worth it. turns out i rather like my assumptions and preconceptions.

i remember this happened to me when i moved to london for 6 months – i had to lose a lot of preconceptions about the world, and in some weird metaphysical referred process lost a stack of material possessions. well, same thing is happening this time around. [maybe i should have read my own blog before i came, hey.]

i’ve thought a lot about place this week, what a ‘nation’ really means – how different another country is, even with this new homogenous global identity crap that we go on about. i’ve realised how much a citizens identity is actually connected to the public realm: bureaucracy, social norms, weather, what side of the street you drive on, etc. and that the concept of ‘freedom’ in a democratic state is really only afforded those who ‘understand’. 
being an outsider is fucking hard.  in fact, the two areas which i feel the least like an outsider in is when i go to a gallery and when i go to the supermarket. turns out capitalism is a great leveller. i think i feel ill about that.

i could quite easily go home and feel comfortable and safe, knowing my place in the world. i could make work pretty easily and not have to think too hard about how to express myself. i would be comfortable.

then i thought about my friends back home. i miss them dearly. i thought about a few friends who have never lived outside of australia, who have a comfortable life and who, at times, can get stuck in a conservative view of things. i also remembered my dear friend age, who had a similar time in another country and went home early. i imagined what he would say to me.

i also realised that, actually, maybe you do have to suffer for your art. not for the sake of melodrama, but so that you regularly have your eyes peeled. that you make sure you really do take stock of your viewpoint, that what you have to say is not just from a tiny little black dot in the middle of the pacific ocean. that you come to art from a place which has reduced assumptions and preconceptions.

today, at some stage, i realised that i don’t want to always be comfortable. i do want to be challenged and changed – to become the kind of person that is teachable. i want to have to work hard for what i do, but to do great things. and it’s hard to do great things when you like staying in your own living room with the curtains drawn.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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