I have been pondering my connections to DDI (Dance Dance Immolation
) and to Interpretive Arson
My ponderings began with discussion on the ddi06 mailing list about whether next year's camp should be Camp DDI, Camp Interpretive Arson, or something else. There's talk of how people will recognize the project, how all IA projects should be linked together, etc.
Things I've realized in just the past few minutes of pondering:
- I strongly identify myself with DDI because it was largely my idea. I got it going (with the help of many key folks, mainly including raindrift, Jonathan, Matt, Reed and nicoletbn). It feels like my baby. Yet....
- DDI is not mine anymore. In fact, I think it ceased to really be mine after Burning Man last year. Perhaps even earlier. I had such horrible associations with the project, and I was so hurt by the drama, that I voluntarily walked away. At this year's burn I ran it for 2 nights (gate Wednesday, drunken MC Sunday) but really, it wasn't my baby. I wasn't camped with DDI, I didn't work on getting it ready for the playa, I didn't even pay dues. I got my rockstar points, but it's long since stopped being mine.
- I feel a sense of hurt and frustration when people talk about IA moving forward to encompass all of the CampDDI people. I know that many (most?) of the people who camped with DDI this year put in a lot of effort. But to me, IA was more than just DDI, more than just people who built fire art. IA was our crew, our tight circle, our group that began from the lake merritt fire jams and moved on to create such amazing art. I remember the night at bigsockgrl's house when Ian came up with the name - we were trying to find the name for a fire poi group. That poi group never materialized, but we used Interpretive Arson for our artistic collective behind DDI. It stuck.
- Now, I think of IA as basically the people who work out of the Beaver at NIMBY. To me, if you just show up and camp with DDI you're not really IA. You're DDI, sure, but to be IA you have to really *create* and *build* something. But I'm not about to tell this to the people on the ddi06 list. After all, who am I? Some girl with old skool cred who developed the idea, but who doesn't care enough to keep being involved. Someone who's running off to Pittsburgh to get married and be normal and boring.
- Interpretive Arson is dead to me personally. It's not mine anymore. I wish it was - I remember developing the logo with Colin, I remember working SO hard and putting in so much HEART to the first projects and the fundraiser. But it's not my life anymore. And I think attempting to carry forward as part of IA is unhealthy. It just aligns me with people I'm better off without. Or rather, one PERSON whom I'm better off without, namely raindrift.
So... I guess I need to come up with a name for my own design studio out in Pittsburgh.
One of the hardest parts is to take the success
and the joy from DDI and move forward. I want to feel like I can claim those projects as my own. But due to all of my drama with raindrift
I wind up violently, painfully, throwing it all out the window together. Baby, bathwater. It hurts too much to keep the good bits and throw out the bad. So I am left with a shell, a vague knowledge of my skills and successes and inclinations, but nothing to show for it. I am left feeling like a failure, because I still transfer my feelings of failure in my relationship with Ian to feelings of failure with DDI. Even though I had pure fun with DDI on the playa this year, even though it went off well, I still feel guilty. I still feel like I let my baby down, I gave up, I am a failure.
When I arrive in Pittsburgh, I will begin to grow my own studio, from the ground up. I will have my own work. I will make things - candle holders, patio furniture, sculpture, art. I know it will come, in time, and I know that if I apply myself I will be able to craft things that bring joy and light into the world. I know that my artistic vision and drive is broader than DDI and IA.
But there sure are days when it feels like all or nothing. When it feels like I'll never do anything as cool as DDI ever again. And there are days when I realize that no matter how cool DDI is, no matter the fact that it's going to be in WIRED and Rolling Stone in November, no matter the fact that it's been invited to trade shows in Florida and arts festivals in Europe, no matter the fact that the playa has now seen my crazy idea come to fruition, it's all so much smoke and mirrors. I can't claim that, I can't rightly take pride in that. I lost the privelige to take pride in DDI a year ago when I walked away.
In the end, there are days when the emotional and personal loss of DDI overshadows any technical and artistic gain, and it still feels empty and worthless.
And how do you build something more amazing and satisfying than DDI, than IA? How do you counteract DDI and IA with a creation built out of love and a *small* community in Pittsburgh? How can I possibly compete, in my own competitive and have-to-prove-something heart, with an article in Rolling Stone? I hate it, but I am starry-eyed in the face of popularity and recognition and fame. I feel cheap and tawdry saying this, but I will never be as rockstar as DDI has been. And I worry that the fame of DDI will always have a sour, biting edge to it. It will always cut me while it buoys me up.
How do I counteract DDI? How do I outrank it in my own heart and mind? I don't know the answer to that. I like to think that working hard at a job I hope I'll love, being with an amazing partner, traveling to the seven continents of the world, creating community in Pittsburgh, raising amazing children, and eventually doing my own small personally satisfying art projects will add up to even the bill. Letters to a Young Poet
was a start.
But there are nights, like tonight, when the task seems so monumental that I worry I'll never complete it. I worry that DDI and IA will always loom over my shoulder, dark unbidden monsters of emotional failure to leer at me in the dark, poking my soft sensitive emotional spots and reminding me of just how fragile and helpless I really am. Reminding me that I am nothing, nothing without four proximity suits, custom-programmed open source software, 1450 pounds of propane and a team of stupidly gifted artists to execute my hair-brained schemes.