Sunday, November 1, 2015
Entering the Sandpit, building the archive, feeding the cats.
Although I have done some blogs, a friend in Minnesota challenged me to write about life in the UAE. I've been doing a journal for the past couple months that actually sloughed off a little the last month because of working on a paper/book chapter, and that's about to be done.
The title describes the point in time that I inhabit and where I live. Although I think it's much nicer than this, a colleague calls my university, the American University of Sharjah, "The Sandpit", because of Sharjah being filled with nearly nothing but... I guess you're right.
Building the Archive, refers to a couple things. Tomorrow I go to Montreal to talk about an archive on an obscure form of video art from the 1970's that I am creating an archive of here. Also, I am creating a body of work that I call "The Archive", which means simply that there are works as a critical artist that I cannot talk about due to the laws or traditions under which I'm living. So, you may or may not hear about these things, but you'll surely hear about the things I can talk about.
Lastly, feeding the cats. As a single person, being an expat is challenging. As a professor, you're responsible for creating a good experience in the classroom. As a person, waking up alone every day means you throw your own party every day, and if you're having a bad time, it's your own fault.
What does that have to do with feeding the cats? Simply put, life isn't so much about what it gives you but how you shape it and how you make it better for others as you move through it as you build a corridor of light for others.
Part of that is my playful obsession with cats. We have lots of feral cats here, and there's a real culture about that - I'll talk about that later. But feeding cats is a metaphor for life. Since I decided not to bring my girl Haley for 9 months because of my being all over the world this year, I feed the cats here. Sure, ..., but now they are fed and played with. Again, throw your own party, be generous, be good to others. That's the gist.
I hope I can give you a little insight as to what it is to live here in the UAE, share work, and share fun cat links. I'll categorize pretty tightly, so if you're interested in one thing or another, just click.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the ride.
Welcome to the Sandpit.