+billion- journal [2010—2017]
[Letter to the readers—February 2017]
We all end up monogamous in the end; with our sense of regret for the things we didn't embrace in the moment, or with the things we embraced for too long.
+billion- has been both for me — a moment I embraced for 7 years.
Resources have been tight over the years. I'm still using the same shitty camcorder for the video reviews, and the outdated website software is going to break one day soon. But not depending on or being controlled by funding was perhaps a blessing – I never got to go full Atelier on it.
Writing criticism 'in the moment' is a drug. But +billion- was never about dumb things like truth, contrariness or mean-spiritedness.
I could say so much here about the present conditions of writing on art in this country but I won’t.
I won’t spell out what is being uniformly fostered by art institutions, educators and little art-writing cliques. You can spell.
When I think about it, this has been a long goodbye.
I wrote a piece back in October 2016 that expressed a lot of what I felt towards the local art scene: ‘Towards a Subculture of Art’ [read the introductory text to the digital volume of +billion journal 2010—2017 at the bottom of this page or see website, review #115: billionjournal.com/]
So, for now, from +billion-, thank you so much readers! Especially artists for supplying the thoughts and feelings and words. After all, I am just an empty receptacle.
Also, thank you for the supportive emails and comments – especially the unsupportive emails and comments, which revealed to me so much more about the state of play.
As I have said before, being an art critic in a world of such fragile resources and hearts is perverse, but leaving a readership that averaged 600 is harder.
Next up... I don’t know. But words will be involved, and art too. Maybe I’ll do something safe and validating like curating;)
Safe Passage through the Art World...
Towards a Subculture of Art !
James Merrigan, February 2017***