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robertogreco : perrychen   1

In Conversation | Perry Chen and Theaster Gates on Community-Driven Creativity - NYTimes.com
"The Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen understands how communities can fuel creativity. The artist Theaster Gates knows how creativity can invigorate a community. What happens when they put their heads together?"



"Perry Chen: But everything comes from somewhere. I didn’t even know this till later on, but we found out that Mozart and Beethoven and Whitman and a lot of 19th-century authors used pre-Internet models like Kickstarter — you know, not just going to rich patrons or the Medici or the Church to get the big check, but people going to dozens or even hundreds of people to fund a creative work, a book where their names might be inscribed in the first edition or a concerto. And the Internet, as it can do, can scale things up and make this same model accessible to millions and billions of people."



"Gates: Your point about purposeful infrastructure is right, but I’m not the community do-gooder. I rehabbed my building, and the building across the street was jacked up, so I cleaned it up, because I didn’t want to look at it. I was really just being a good neighbor. I wasn’t trying to be like Mr. Community Builder Man."



"Gates: People try to create the box that defines the work that we do. I know a bunch of capitalists who put a spin on their hunger for a particular kind of capitalist end: they call it “social do-gooding.” But in fact, I want to kind of resist that and say, “Look, if there’s anything that ends up looking like an activist notion, it’s secondary to just doing the thing that I wanted to do.” The reality in the neighborhood that I live in is: if I don’t constantly reconcile what I have against what other people don’t, either I need to leave and be around other people who have what I have, or I’m constantly engaged in this kind of dynamic flow of opportunity and sharing. And that just feels like smart living. Like if my mom made too much food, she’d send a plate down the street. She doesn’t know how to cook greens for two people. She knew how to cook a pot."



"Gates: But happiness is funny. There are days that are really heavy and complicated and dark. And I think that if I were to look at the trajectory of life, what has been consistent is that there are highs and lows. I mean at the moment I found out that I was accepted into Documenta, my mom died. In a way I felt like, in late 2010, my mom’s death was the thing that somehow actually activated these other future opportunities. But there was tremendous sadness. So, there was a way in which these valences live next to each other all the time."
perrychen  teastergates  2013  creativity  art  socialpracticeart  purpose  neighbors  community  urbanplanning  janejacobs  urban  urbanism  neighborhoods  platforms  funding  crowdfunding  kickstarter  infrastructure  socialgood 
june 2013 by robertogreco

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