Year Zero

Advanced 2014 Round-up Super Special

Earlier today, I received the contact sheet from yesterday’s shoot for an exhibition catalog I’m working on with the curators of Forces at Work (ongoing at the Vargas Museum ’til January 20, 2015). After replying to the photographer (the lovely Sandra Dans) and forwarding it to the curators with her notes, I realized this is the project I’m ending the year with.

I was so sure I’d be unemployed upon returning from the post-burnout-Roller Derby junket I went on in the middle of the year. Having done the required reading on taking jobs in the arts as a measure of committing to a life of precarity and perpetually being broke, I think I got off easy by returning to a life where I always have something to work on–besides my thesis. It should be a sign of a good year when it begins and ends with work you actually enjoy or jobs you’re willing to commit to memory with people you admire. The letters we send each other in the process are no exception, with that last letter beginning with “Happy baby time!” or something like that, addressed to Mayumi Hirano, who’s headed back to Japan to give birth. Maira Kalman’s on The Great Discontent and, like many things in this life, more things than I’m willing to give it credit for, I love her!

I have no job, but I work, and this year, I worked on things I like, with people I like, and this has been a great year.

I tried to transcribe the comments my panel made at my thesis proposal defense, but I couldn’t hear most of what they were saying over all the giggling. There are a few clear points, bright spots amid the noise, but the best part came at the end where Patrick (Flores, former boss and former professor), was getting up to leave, saying “This isn’t the last thing you’re going to do in your academic career.”–which of course I interrupted with, “OR IS IT!” And giggling. There will always be giggling.

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