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Novel

Alun Rowlands

Anyways, while writing ”the non-productive attitude“ I felt quite productive in fact and it seemed to be such a long time away when I was doing what I understood as non-productive experiments. Experiments, because instead of doing so, I had on the contrary an almost theological belief in the redeeming qualities of productivity. But as someone, maybe someone like a nature scientist, who is trying to prove the existence of some hidden quality, I believed that in order to prove its central quality, I would first have to exclude this quality of productivity from its context and see what happens without it. It is stupid to ask what is an artist and even more so, what is art, I thought kind of naïvely, but it could be interesting to ask, if one or I would be an artist even without making any work or any object. Could one still call this existence an artist? Or, as I learned later, isn’t the artist who does not provide any productivity not slowly becoming the disparate person who is left by all his virtues, slowly falling apart and corrupting slowly all of his self soon as well? And isn’t the one artist, even not so talented, but never leaving the ways of productivity the one who will stay strong and alive until his last days? It is no pleasure to meet these artists who aren’t able any more to talk about their interests or about their production, fall instead into the traps of gossiping, the traps of obsessive control behavior or even into deadly envy? Still I questioned the old mechanism, that the only way to prove or even to detect the existence of an artist is his evidence of productivity. So the question was how to detect an artist in the millions of other people even if he or she is not showing the evidence of productivity. I was interested in this experiment too seriously, probably because of being a bit too young too late, particularly in the idea of being the scientist who uses himself for his experiment, as I thought that was what art is about, proving something by putting your one self into danger and exposing yourself badly with it. If you focus a few years on this situation of course you stop worrying about productivity, but you sacrifice your credibility for the rest of your life.

Josef Strau, What Should One Do, 2011, Novel S.C Issue p. 10-14