Stargarderstrasse 9

‘Life, to start with, is not just about your professional life. There is so much more to it than just work. The trouble is that, when you get into art, that ‘so much more‘ is precisely what you want your work to be about. Life is what you want to immerse yourself in through your work . The freedom of the artist and intellectual. Theodor Adorno wrote, lies in the possibility of not having to separate work from pleasure as all those caught up in the system of division of labour do.* This is our chance for a good life. But this is also why things tend to get messy. Today it’s more difficult then ever to draw a line between our professional and private lives when new communication technologies make it possible for the call of duty to reach you even in the most remote places or intimate moments. For writers, the writing pad used to provide a complete retreat. Now the pad is a laptop, and people Skype you on it.

Not that it ever was easy to draw that line. To be part of an art scene was probably always as emotionally confusing as it is today. With who, and in what guise, do you want to get involved and recognized? As a professional or as a person? How do you mark the difference? How do you draw the line between colleagues and friends? Why even categorize? You may wish to be open to whatever someone who enters your life might become for you. Still, recognizing a real friend seems crucial when everyone around you is professionaly friendly. And love is a mess anyway when you happen to be in the same field, in the arts, with all of us being – how shall I put it? – a bit special (beautiful and difficult, grandiose and needy, generous and selfish, seeking and giving intense pleasure). So, rather than draw lines, we may want to invent a new language to commune with the strange phenomena that the people who get under our skin inevitably are and will continue to be.’

by Jan Verwoert

* Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia, Verso, London and New York, 2005, pp.130f.