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robertogreco : evasion   2

How do you start to live your life at (nearly) 40? — Medium
"It was the accretion of a thousand small choices made out of fear that led me here, not some cataclysmic mistake. That’s the thing about avoiding life: each tiny evasion builds upon the last, gradually calcifying into a kind of defensive crust so that, from the outside, you appear to have the same patina of wear and tear as everyone else, but underneath, you are hollow, brittle, incomplete. What I am primarily left with now is regret, which comes in waves of self-reproach, each missed opportunity or refusal playing out in my memory in excruciating detail.

Still, I haven’t yet abandoned hope. Undoing a lifetime of evasion will be no easy task, but I’m not resigning myself to this misery and nothing more. (Therapy is helping.) It is a strange thing, though, to start thinking about what you actually want from life at an age when, inevitably, it dawns on you it has an end, too. Though I lived for far too long in an extended adolescence, with it came the persistently hopeful idea that it wasn’t too late to change. Now, the time I have left to become the kind of person I want to be is, in a way that feels strangely sudden, running out."


My dissertation was on something I called The Holographic Self. In it, the eponymous hologram is an expression of a desire to exceed the limitations of subject position, and I located that yearning in the logics of digitality. As a piece of writing, it is plodding and too earnest by half, but as is the case with much academic work, it is also surreptitiously autobiographical. There I was, spending years in front of a laptop, letting my life slip by, while writing about how we project the desire for our idealized selves into the digital.

So in this particular, rather long-winded narrative, this is where I think I’m supposed to tell you that I’ve made peace with my wasted life, and I’m ready to become that new person — to actualize my holographic longing. But I can’t. There is, unfortunately, always a naively optimistic dimension to writing about How One Is Going To Make One’s Life Better™. It often ends up being a performance of the way you want things to go, and in reality, they never quite work out in so neat a manner. (I still haven’t had that coffee.) [ ]

One thing I am clear on, though? I don’t regret finishing that godforsaken PhD. I still don’t know about starting it, mind you; you’ll have to check with me on my deathbed. But I stuck to it, and at the end I had a glass of something sparkling and I felt like I deserved it. I felt great, in fact. I think that’s an equation I’m actually pretty happy about: write 400 pages over five years and at the end, you get a single flute of Crémant d’Alsace, and for once, a feeling like you actually fucking did something.

I don’t quite know how to start living at 40. I mean, obviously I have some rough ideas, and not all of them succumb to the aggressively “normal” version of life I’ve laid out thus far; I don’t really care that much about brunch. I do know, however, that the next step is not as simple as merely accepting that I have lived the life I have lived. That isn’t enough. My regrets are still too large, yet too numerous for me to simply lay them to rest.

But when you’ve spent a lifetime hiding from everything, beginning and then finishing something hard — and then enjoying the rewards — is at the very least, a step in the right direction. And the PhD took the form of one of the few things that gives me comfort and (fine, I’ll say it) that I’m good at: taking ideas, and shaping them into sentences and paragraphs that, sometimes, other people find interesting to read.

At the very least, one can take that life, those aimless, spent years, and put an aesthetic frame around both them and the ideas and perspective they have produced — and hopefully, occasionally say something pretty or profound. It’s not much. And in truth, it may not be enough. I guess I just like the self-reflexivity of it all: write out how you’re trying to make things better, and you end up making things better by writing it out. So, with few other options, I will put one word in front of the other, and see what happens.
And here at the end, after choosing for so long to barely live at all, isn’t that, if nothing else, a start?"
navneetalang  2016  writing  regret  life  living  accretion  hope  avoidance  evasion 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Insights: K-HOLE, New York — Insights: K-HOLE, New York — Channel — Walker Art Center
"K-HOLE exists in multiple states at once: it is both a publication and a collective; it is both an artistic practice and a consulting firm; it is both critical and unapologetically earnest. Its five members come from backgrounds as varied as brand strategy, fine art, web development, and fashion, and together they have released a series of fascinating PDF publications modeled upon corporate trend forecasting reports. These documents appropriate the visuals of PowerPoint, stock photography, and advertising and exploit the inherent poetry in the purposefully vague aphorisms of corporate brand-speak. Ultimately, K-HOLE aspires to utilize the language of trend forecasting to discuss sociopolitical topics in depth, exploring the capitalist landscape of advertising and marketing in a critical but un-ironic way.

In the process, the group frequently coins new terms to articulate their ideas, such as “Youth Mode”: a term used to describe the prevalent attitude of youth culture that has been emancipated from any particular generation; the “Brand Anxiety Matrix”: a tool designed to help readers understand their conflicted relationships with the numerous brands that clutter their mental space on a daily basis; and “Normcore”: a term originally used to describe the desire not to differentiate oneself, which has since been mispopularized (by New York magazine) to describe the more specific act of dressing neutrally to avoid standing out. (In 2014, “Normcore” was named a runner-up by Oxford University Press for “Neologism of the Year.”)

Since publishing K-HOLE, the collective has taken on a number of unique projects that reflect the manifold nature of their practice, from a consulting gig with a private equity firm to a collaboration with a fashion label resulting in their own line of deodorant. K-HOLE has been covered by a wide range of publications, including the New York Times, Fast Company, Wired UK, and Mousse.

Part of Insights 2015 Design Lecture Series."

[direct link to video: ]
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march 2015 by robertogreco

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