Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gauging success...

Prior to any work going up on walls or a series coming to some form of apex, both of us find ourselves inevitably trying to quantify what would make an event successful. You can't help but want some tangible outcomes, even if only to justify the event itself.

Inevitably you come away disappointed if you are in anyway specific. ie. we've had shows that have been well visited but we haven't managed to get the 'right' people to look at the work.

Worse still is when you make an exceptional, often expensive effort - books, microsites, mailouts, etc - and all you hear is a deadly silence. The later is so often the case in Perth that I wonder if it is worth catering to the mysterious 'Them' at all if even a simple 'thanks but no thanks' is beyond them.

Sales are, for the most part, irrelevant and if they should happen they almost always only partially cover costs. If you were to quantify what the work costs to produce and looked at it as a traditional business model most would get the packing boxes out very quickly.

I was thinking this morning about long-term success and what form that might take. ie. what would make us feel like we'd 'made it' ... for want of a better term.

I discarded 'digital' success ('Likes', 'Friends' and hits) fairly quickly as this is extremely temporal in this day and age.

I also discarded awards as whilst peer acknowledgment is appealing, I find the politics and ridiculous nature of such things disquieting. We often enter awards because it's a chance to show work rather than any expectation of ever winning anything.

Elisa has often mentioned 'formal acknowledgment' in the form of inclusion in curated shows or institutional collectors ... collecting. I tend to agree with that although I'm a bit foggy about whether it should be valued higher than someone buying or following work because they are passionate about it.

I'm not sure what I personally 'want'. I think 'respect' is a good term - if a bit loaded - as I'm aware that I react quite strongly when the antithesis manifests.

I've had more than a few occasions over the last two years when I come away thinking that this or that person must value my work poorly due to their (in)actions.

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