#003 : POSTGRADUATE DEPRESSION IS REAL
Image : ‘Witness?’, 2016 (CL-Q)
SoundTrack : ? (Unknown) – Mark Pritchard
Let me say this now I am a hypocrite… but for a good reason.
I was warned about it, and told it would last about a year…
To be honest I don’t have that amount of time to not be operating at optimum level. The crippling financial debt courtesy of Post-Graduate education looms with interest (arriving November 2016).
Granted I didn’t take my own advice, in recuperating, resting and resetting. Let’s be frank, it’s impossible to do when an institution charges you £18k(EU) for a Masters and your required to start paying it back via a PCDL (Professional Career Development Loan) in 3 months.
Let me paint the picture:
An £18k masters, reduced income due to MA workload, five projects in the final year (because a three month project life span doesn’t equal £18k), home burgled three times in the past 18 months, a car accident, becoming a partner (Director of Film) in a startup social network, taking an organisation to small claims court over late fees, legally suing an institution for mismanagement, being part of a small team to hold together our MA course after the departure of four out of five teachers. Not including the expense of funding the production of my projects.
That takes care of the stress, anxiety and withering physique, but this is where the depression kicks in.
I spent my final year trying to make it worth it. How? By finding a way to keep momentum going after graduation. I took that to mean more work, a better context to situate my work (AUH & The Adversary) and a specific audience to target. In principle that’s smart, the crucial mistake is not formulating a way of marketing the roll out of each project.
So now things have snowballed, you’ve got an identity crisis, ‘Are you a designer, artist, director of writer ?’ The opportunist in me answers ‘whatever gets me opportunities and gets me paid!’ Better yet what’s the difference ?
Here’s my current answer based on what I’ve been taught in the difference between an artist and designer, which is bound to stir up complaints.
Art is open to interpretation, it can have a specific communicative goal but it’s not a failure if its not completely clear.
Design is functional, everything is there for a reason. Similar to film it’s on screen because it adds to the narrative otherwise it serves no purpose get rid of it. There is an intended message and if the audience don’t get it…it’s a failure.
I’m somewhere in between depending on the project.
The questions continue; What kind of designer am I? What work do I want to keep making? How can I make my work profitable? All the while you’re too exhausted to even contemplate answering them…
// Sorry …I’m tired physically, mentally and spiritually but it makes sense. There’s a reason why creatives always dress casual and look worn (unless they are showing out at a special event). They’re constantly in an existential crises fed by narcissism. Their work is more important than who they are. In a realm where you ask someone what they do before you ask how they are feeling who can blame them? //
It all circles back to the one question I wish I spent more time strategising about ‘How can I make this worth it?’
Lesson : Think like a smart independent music artist
Learned : The rollout strategy is just as, if not more important than the work. Think impact not quantity, compound significance leads to diversified interest.
Example : ‘Witness?’
Before ‘Witness?’, there was “20 and odd”, a sound installation (around the time when it felt like American police were using black people as target practice) the project created a future history when politics and law was truly equal to all. Suggesting the division in American society was lingering in the DNA of individuals, inherited generationally. So the only way to cure a nation is to genetically forget the traumatic black experience.
However ‘Witness?’ focused on case studies, expanding the discussion to individual themes of trauma to engage with a broader audience. At the heart of it, the reality of inherited trauma and the threat of genetic forgetfulness as a real upcoming procedure is intact, with a flexibility of context .