New Year, New Blogging Plan! / by Heather Kapplow

A community conversation at   Sweat it Out   (photo by  Lani Asuncion .)

A community conversation at Sweat it Out (photo by Lani Asuncion.)

Folks, I’ve been incredibly lazy about blogging. I have a pile of draft blog posts I’ve started in the last year or so, one focused on each of the small and large projects I did in 2017-2018, but I never finished/published any of them. It looks like they were each waiting for links or images (or in one case that I feel especially guilty about, an entire PDF catalog for a great project that I still haven’t made, but which it is now my New Year’s resolution to make before the year is through.)

So here’s the new plan:

At the end or beginning of each year, I’ll do the obligatory annual lookback or lookforward or both (spoiler alert: this is that) if appropriate. I’ll try to give you a snapshot of where I am, what I’m thinking about or working on on that date, tell you what I’m reading, post some links to art I’ve seen/written about recently, and catch you up on any news of importance about my art career. I’ll try to do a mid-year (Summer) check in as well that’s pretty similar, but no promises.

Also, whenever I’m in a residency (which I am right now,) I’ll keep some kind of residency diary. In this case, I’m about to take over the residency’s Instagram account, so I’ll probably just feed that through here, but maybe there will be a little more than that. We’ll see.

So, late-2017 through 2018 had a bunch of small projects (PDF catalog of one of them coming really, really soon, I promise!) and one larger scale, collaborative public art project. Other highlights include working with the amazing amorphous, shamanistic, border-erasers and culture hackers, La Pocha Nostra, twice—in the US and in Mexico City. I’ve learned so much from being absorbed into this collective, and can’t wait to learn more. I also got to work closely with the New England Foundation for the Arts for the first time, after receiving funding from their Creative City program. Their staff are incredibly thoughtful and hardworking, and the community building they do is not just “out in the community” but cohort-wise: I’ve already started plotting new art with people I met through NEFA’s gatherings…

The beginning of 2019 finds me in Zürich, at Index's Freiraum, one of two (!!!) international residencies I’ve been awarded this year, studying one of the things the city is most known for: LUXURY. It will be awhile before there is a hard outcome from this work, but the project I’m developing is called “Pure Luxury”, and I’ll keep this blog populated with snippets of work in progress, as it progresses during this residency. I’m loving this city in Winter and the Index community is great—very supportive as I bumble through the trial and error of my process.

Other (good) news is that I am here with the help of a grant from the Boston Cultural Council’s Opportunity Fund, and that when I return to Boston in March, I’ll be working with MASS MOCA’s Assets for Artists professional development team to build some (much needed) better business skills and resources for getting higher quality documentation of my projects: I’m (gratefully) one of their 2019 Matched Savings Program awardees.

At this very moment I’m working (almost done!) on an inventory of my own personal luxuries, modeled on what I imagine the 4th step in 12-step programs is like: I’m taking an honest look at my varied indulgences, how I developed them, and why I “need” them. Then I’ll be making and circulating 3 surveys about luxury to Index’s network and other Zürich-ers (Zürich-ians?) and doing some audio recording in luxury boutiques/interviewing people. Oh, I’m also writing a letter to Oprah Winfrey.

I’ll link to some of these things here when they’re ready/and or post them in the blog via Instagram. I’m also working on some grant applications so that I can afford to attend the next residency, but that’s boring.

Currently I’m reading:

  • Tom Stoppard’s 1974 play Travesties (because it’s set in Zürich when Stalin, James Joyce and all of the Dadaists were here.)

  • Mark Manson’s self-help book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (because it was one of very few English language books in my room here when I arrived.)

  • Jean-Noël Kapferer’s On Luxury (for obvious reasons.)

  • Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class.

  • The (as yet unpublished) dissertation of one of several amazing advisors to my luxury research, Nabanita Talukdar, “Tweets, Retweets and Luxury Connoisseurs: An Empirical Study of the Relationship Between Tweet Volume and Stock Prices for Luxury Brands."

  • And I’m re-reading Solomon Northup’s 12 Years a Slave. Bought it in a train station for a long train ride, and then realized immediately how much I needed to keep a vivid image of slave labor in mind while otherwise lost in the textures and heady commerce of high lux…

And here are the last few things I wrote (about art) though I have several articles in progress right now too, so it doesn’t represent exactly what I’ve seen most recently. But I’m still absorbing this stuff too: