Most proponents of universal basic income attach their idea to an inevitable loss of employment from the general robotization of service jobs. With an entire working-class unemployable, providing a reliable source of income prevents more from falling into poverty, and ideally, frees these people to be creative. This concept of ‘free to create’ is so pernicious, as if being free of responsibility means one may contribute more to the world; as if the stress of any work prevents one from making art. It’s also funny too, considering many people see themselves as lacking any creative bone in their body.
Two years of Covid lockdown, coupled with its initial financial cushion provided us a micro example of this UBI idealism. People did manage to not only create art, but reassess their entire working lives and living arrangements. But basically, people watched a lot of Netflix and ordered-in food. More people were lazy than contributors to capitalism. One could argue we were too busy avoiding a virus and mitigating the trauma it induced, so the environment wasn’t ripe for a fair template.
I’m of the argument that condoning unproductive behavior only leads to more complacency and dependency; it is certainly not the momentum any society should want to build.
I’m also of the mind that art does not need to be solicited. It shows up when no one ask. It shows up when one is inspired. It shows up to ward away demons, internal and external. Most creatives do it entirely for the craft, such as why they’re starving. It was never about the money.
Ask not for permission, it is its own form of communication
to be seen – to be watched – to be heard
To be understood without having to come right out and say it
We all want a little bit of that; to be understood
No one has to like it
It does not have to transcend
But to be overwrought is to ask too much
of the viewer – of the watcher – of the listener
We are asked to step outside of ourselves on behalf of another
This is good for us all
To step outside of ourselves
Unless it’s ghastly or depraved, like crosses in mason jars of piss or bananas stuck to a bare wall with masking tape
Exceptions to everything
There is the artist who runs from passion to passive, rushing to express something out of their system; to find a sense of relief. There are those whom seek a moment of calm in the meditative task of creating; to lose track of time in the flow. Then there is the truest artist. It is their entire identity: they wake-breathe-dream-live it daily.
The artist needs neither permission nor validation nor a timeframe. It simply must be more important than not doing it at all.