Dumped By My Future
In Lisa Le Feavres intro essay titled Strive To Fail: Documents of Contemporary Art, she argues that in art, failure has an altogether different currency. For Le Feavres, “Failure, by definition, takes us beyond assumptions and what we think we know.”1 In this regard it is possible to strive to fail, or “to be against the socially normalized drive towards ever increasing success.”2
For Le Feavres, and a plurality of other cultural workers who have addressed this theme, Failure ultimately becomes the subject when the subject ceases to be about success. It is then possible to categorize whole decades with a tendency to favor one over the other, for instance the careerism of the 80’s gives way to the slacker cult of the 90’s.
However, succeeding at being a slacker is its own kind of success – the anti hero. What happens if you just fail? What happens if you are not a hero, and not an anti hero? In the piece Dumped By My Future I embrace this very idea, that the future is full of possibilities including failing to succeeded, and failing to fail, ultimately existing someplace in the middle. As an emerging artist my central question often lies not in what art project I should make, but rather weather or not I should try to be an artist at all.
Dumped By My Future is a performance piece in which I consulted a contemporary oracle (psychic) for the answer to my question. The following is a recording and transcript of the recording of the conversation in which I probe the psychic to answer the question, “Should I try to be a an artist?”
In some regards the psychic largely determines the content of the art piece. If the conversation dwells on my potential as an artist in a positive way this will add ‘supernatural’ validity to my art project, increasing both the status of myself and my artwork. However, if the conversation shifts towards the unsuitable fit for me as an artist Dumped By My Future will slowly attest to my incapability, dooming both the project and me. In either case, the structure allows the content and success of the project to be a positive or negative feedback loop - like failing (or succeeding) often is.
1 Lisa Feuvre, Failure: documents of contemporary art (Cambridge, AM: MIT Press, 2010). 12.
Alannah Clamp is an artist living in Vancouver. She attended Emily Carr University and later Concordia University in Montréal to study fine art and art history. She has exhibited across Canada and most recently participated in the Calgary Biennale. Currently Alannah is working towards her M.F.A at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland.