Sunday, August 10, 2008

Name-Dropping: Totally Different or Exactly The Same?

I continue to read Rita Angus's biography in dribs and drabs; it's not the kind of book I want to race through, so I might read half a chapter and put it down and walk away. It's lovely reading a book slowly this way; it's something new to me. It's nice to come away and Google Kiwi artists or places mentioned in the book so I have a slightly better understanding of her time and place.

I've also been thinking about name-dropping, and/or name-checking, (I'm not sure if the two are the same, but I hear the latter term more often in New Zealand) and living in a small town.

I try to be accurate when I write here, and try to include names and links just in case someone or some place rings a bell in your memory. I also try to promote other Nelson and Kiwi artists and art establishments. Something I can't or won't purge is the fact I read James Joyce for my BA, and the details of Dublin in his stories impressed me deeply, and I do try to convey a feel of Nelson here from time to time.

Nelson is a small place, of about 50,000, and even though I hear there are higher proportion of people practicing art, as a hobby, part time, or seriously, there aren't many of us. So I think we often end up name-dropping, not so much to impress the other party, but to map out each other's circles of influence and position each other; for a newbie and an outsider, it's also a mechanism to validate what I'm doing and justify my being here.

Now that I find myself on the periphery of Nelson's art community, in a small way, (by which I mean I go to floor talks, workshops and meetings and I may recognize , or go to an exhibition and may recognize names, not because I've read/heard about him/her, but because I had a natter at such places previously,) I am also expected to know certain things, and finally, I'm starting to learning about them.

Ooops, my mind is wandering...

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