Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Do you feel lucky?

One hopeful thing for artists looking for funding is that - so far - recessionary times have been good for lottery funding, as people are buying more lottery tickets, and we know the Coalition of the Independently Wealthy want to increase the share of lottery funds going to the arts. Unfortunately, that requires legislation so is not going to kick in for a year or so. So the search for alternative sources of income picks up pace. (Everyday I look for philanthropists on Stockton High Street, whilst out for a sandwich, but have yet to locate one.)

One group of artists, led by Ellie Harrison, have decided to take an alternative approach to lottery funding, with the Artists Lottery Syndicate. Whilst on the surface like any other lottery syndicate, this also has the hallmarks of Harrison's other online projects, mixing playfulness with seriousness: 'By utilising the element of 'luck', which plays such a central role in an artist's career, the Syndicate aims to explore the prevalent 'winner-takes-all' market of the arts, described by Hans Abbing in his book Why Are Artists Poor?'

The roots of Harrison's wit in a very serious consideration of the artist's role in a struggling world can be seen in her recent thesis Trajectories: How to Reconcile the Careerist Mentality with Our Impending Doom. This explores how artists might respond to the collapse of the careerist mentality as a result of economic and climate chaos. It's a challenging read, but puts a lot of things really clearly. Which funnily enough is a relatively rare thing for someone defining themselves,albeit perhaps reluctantly, as a visual artist. It deserves more time than I've got right now, but I will perhaps return to it.

Anyway, fingers crossed for the Syndicate - now full, by the way.

3 comments:

  1. but puts a lot of things really clearly. Which funnily enough is a relatively rare thing for someone defining themselves,albeit perhaps reluctantly, as a visual artist.

    A fair point. But it can't be a great help when heads of regional visual arts departments at ACE are notably stupid, petulant and evasive.

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  2. There's still room in the office World Cup sweepstake if you're interested.

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  3. What - more teams than people? I got ALL the teams in my office sweepstake...

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