Warm weather marks the beginning of rooftop season in New York City, and while there are many spots to enjoy the weather, the Met Cantor Rooftop is still the destination both locals and visitors flock to. We were happy to fall in line, so we headed to the Met to check out the latest installation by Pakistani artist Huma Bhabha. We Come In Peace is timely and thought-provoking, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I found it a little anticlimactic. Last year’s installation by Adrian Villar Rojas filled the space beautifully, and the prior year’s installation involved a 30-foot recreation of the facade of the Psycho House. As I wandered onto the relatively empty rooftop on that brisk day, I couldn’t help but think, “Is that it?”
There’s a sense of guilt that comes with that reaction. Does art have to be jaw-dropping to be impactful? Huma Bhabha said that the barrenness of the installation was essential. And yet, I was expecting more. Would I have felt the same way if I didn’t have the prior years’ installations to compare it to?
The age of information brings with it unlimited access, but it’s a double-edged sword. Well-known photographers can now have their craft replicated using a simple photo app filter. Copycat artists pop up in a flash. Audiences are becoming more and more difficult to please, and artists are forced to push boundaries further and further. As with everything else, finding a truly fresh and unique voice is becoming more and more challenging.
Perhaps on a smaller scale, we face a similar conundrum as bloggers. Blogging is a crowded field and has been declared dead many times over. In order to differentiate oneself, bloggers have to speak louder and act faster. We need to have provocative headlines and stunning photos. We have to offer variable media like podcasts and vlogs. (See our last Mad Chatter post on TL;DR and the death of reading.) Will it ever be enough?
We have a nasty habit of trying to measure all our endeavors, and sometimes we do that against benchmarks set by others and sometimes we do that against benchmarks we set for ourselves. In a TED Talk about success, failure and the drive to keep creating, Elizabeth Gilbert sees success and failure as equally jarring and states the following:
“I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live”.
The phrase “random hurricanes of outcome” particularly resonated with me. I want to get to a space where that’s all success or failure is: a random outcome of doing what I love.
The idea behind our Mad Chatter posts is to start a conversation, so here’s what I’d like to know:
They say comparison is the thief of joy, and I wonder if that rings true for you. How does comparing yourself to others affect you? Does it cripple you or motivate you? How do you keep yourself inspired?