#014 : Reality Cheque

  • Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo
  • Charisse Chikwiri

“…always take a favour over money.” (Irving Rosenfeld, American Hustle, 2013)

Image — $100,000, 2010 (Hans-Peter Feldmann) Soundtrack — Solo, Frank Ocean -
Now that the new year elation has passed, the majority of New Year resolutions have been broken, and bank account balances have settled (most likely in the red) reality begins to settle in. For many, the return to work signifies a return to reality, in which Donald Trump, Theresa May, and Nigel Farage exist, slowly removing the remnants of hope (Also known as the Elixir of the powerless) in western society.
Excuse my cynicism, but recent discussions with Larry Achiampong, David Blandy & Ted Hunt about exhibiting in world-renowned cultural institutions and the necessity of gallery representation for artists and designers sprouted a myriad of thoughts concerning the role and art & design education and markers of success. To be frank, I left each encounter with a dismal picture of the circumstance in which creatives exist, primarily at the grace of a select few and what’s worse, many creatives tolerate this dynamic and proceed following the same model.
Article ‘#013 : Doubt / Faith’ quite sombrely ushered me and many others into the new year with a cloud of doubt over our heads, ready to make a new beginning in an archaic system designed to exploit the workhorses that power the industry. So I ask once again, this time with anticipation with well thought out explanations, is it exploitation if you are unaware you are being exploited
Rewatching the film ‘Moneyball’ only reaffirms the reality in which we exist.
“…What’s the problem?… The problem we’re trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there’s 50 feet of crap, and then there’s us. It’s an unfair game. And now we’ve been gutted. We’re like organ donors for the rich…We got to think differently. We are the last dog at the bowl. You see what happens to the runt of the litter? He dies.” - (Billy Beane, Moneyball, 2011)
The bottom line is, how do you expect to win, survive in a system that is designed against you? there are creatives across the spectrum of the creative industry being showcased in multi-million pound/dollar institutions and/companies offering their best ideas for 1% of its value. In return, they’re being told that they have been validated just by being present. they have succeeded just by having their names placed under the institution’s insignia.
So when people read my previous post and my CV pointing out the prestige of some of these organisations and ask me ‘Why aren’t you happy or satisfied?’ I simply reply ’None of those associations, commissions have brought me closer to becoming autonomous. They’ve made me short sighted, by making me focus on the present reality cheque.’ So let’s face the facts, the further you can see the longer it takes to repeat that cycle. At the moment, I’m thinking 30 days awaiting validation of my fieldwork.
Question : What’s the common thread between a plantation, corporations such as ALEC, a record label, a cultural organisation, an educational institution and Andy Warhol
Answer : Law 7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit — (48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene)
An unexpected phone call from an old school friend, professing his realisation that he will never get rich working for someone else was comforting to hear. Upon reflection, I questioned why is there such a high expectation from creatives to be well paid by cultural organisations and institutions?
I conclude with this quote, “…always take a favour over money.” (Irving Rosenfeld, American Hustle, 2013)
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