Ten days ago I launched a fundraising initiative through the crowdfunding platform WeDidThis. I am aiming to raise £2,000 towards the production costs of Strange Loop. Last year I received some funding to carry out the research for this project. The work just needs a little extra money to take it up to production level. I am aiming to show the work at different venues around the UK over the course of 2012, but I need your help to get it out there!
Please take a moment to watch the pitch video on the WeDidThis website:
Crowdfunding allows members of the public to make small donations directly to artists to help them develop a new work. Contributions can be as little as £10 and result in a reward that is linked to the project outcome.
Now I know how annoying it is to be hassled for money. I can assure you that having to ask for money is just as frustrating. My heart sank at the prospect of having to turn into a sales person for my own work. But this is not just about raising the money.
Like many artists out there I spend around 80% of my time filling out applications for funding, opportunities to carry out research, opportunities to perform work…. After spending the better part of three months writing endless applications, all of which were unsuccessful, I realised that crowdfunding was, perhaps, the only way forwards. The reason for this is that so many selection processes boil down to personal taste, perception and who you are up against, all factors that are beyond anyone’s control. If you’ve read Leonard Mlodinov’s The Drunkards Walk, how randomness rules our lives, you’ll understand how so many of the decisions being made about what book gets published, which film is produced or which actor gets the job are rarely based on good judgement alone. More than that, their success is not always down to a trained eye, or good decisions, but are more often the result of statistical processes. I won’t go as far as to say that our whole lives boil down to where we figure in a sequence of numbers, but well, that is almost very much the case.
So how do you escape your own statistical destiny? Luckily, there is such a thing as personal agency: our ability to stand up against the bad numbers and tell them where to go. Crowdfunding is about just that. It’s about cutting out the middle men and institutions (bound by their own selection criteria, politics and institutional aims*), and supporting work just because it ticks your box. Watch the video, read the pitch. If you like the work then help it get off the screen. You can be a part of a project that reaches more people around the UK and Europe and have a chance to say that You Did This.
* This is not to say that institutions are wrong to have these limitations, or that they are not effective as a result of them. On the contrary, many arts organisations aim to help as many artists as they possibly can. They’re simply oversubscribed, so they can’t be expected to produce absolutely everything 🙂