Monday, December 4, 2023
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Floating Alone


“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.” -John Donne

From time to time, feelings of isolation envelop us all. Whether for a day or two or many years, we can sometimes feel entirely disconnected from the world. You may find yourself living in a time that does not resonate with who you perceive yourself to be, surrounded by a community that seems at odds with all that you hold dear. Rather than allow times like this to drive you further inward, reach out into the unfamiliar waters and see what you might take hold of. Walk among the shadows until you see the light. Use these disconnected times to build on your unique perspective of the world.

Anastasia Patsey is director of The Museum of Nonconformist Art in St. Petersburg, Russia. The museum focuses on work by so-called illegal artists whose work was banned by the Russian government and spans the time from the 1950s to today. Patsey enjoys curating and does so outside her role as director both at the museum and privately. Patsey discusses the word Nonconformist in the context of the wider art community. “For this particular that we work with, there are different names. We really like the word nonconformist art but it is also sometimes called The Art of the Soviet Dissidents or it can be called The Second Culture or The Art of the Underground Leningrad.” Residencies play an important role in contemporary art, Patsey says. The concept of home has been upended in the lives of many artists who travel permanently as part of their work whether to residencies or biennials.

Edgar Oliver is a writer, performer, and poet based in New York. Presently he is working on a trilogy of autobiographical shows for Axis Theatre. Oliver is no stranger to autobiographical plays having produced many between 1988 and 2001. Known for his distinctive style of speaking, Oliver says his style of speaking and particularly how he delivers his writing when read aloud have developed over the years. Oliver grew up with his mother and sister, Helen following the death of his father two months before he was born. He learned speech from his sister as much as he did from his mother and says he and his sister developed their own way of speaking. Oliver had an isolated childhood during which time he was very shy. Performing was never something he considered though he always knew he wanted to be a writer which meant he would have to give readings. His first reading ever was at the Pyramid Night Club on Avenue A.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket

Even the most powerful among us experience feelings of isolation. It is how we choose to approach these moments that define how we will move through life.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. User Audrey Ephland is investigating A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink and Kathleen Trestka delves into The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

Opportunities / Open Calls

College Art Association offers bridge grants for artists receiving their MFA or Ph.D. Grants are designed to support MFA and Ph.D recipients as they move from school to the professional sphere. Deadline for 2018 Ph.D recipients is October 2, 2017, and for MFA recipients November 10, 2017.


Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.







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