Routine

A sampling of publications from Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA or Impractical Labor for short). Established in 2008 as a collaboration between Emily Larned and Bridget Elmer, ILSSA is a union for reflective creative practice. As a union for artists, makers, and creative practitioners of all kinds, ILSSA focuses on improving the immaterial working conditions of members. ILSSA publishes contemplative tools and resources; organizes participatory projects, exhibitions, and events; facilitates an annual group residency; and observes an annual holiday, the Festival to Plead for Skills. ILSSA seeks to restore the relationship between makers and their tools, makers and their time, and makers and what they make. Basic membership is free and open to all who which to join.

“The domestic joys, the daily housework or business, the
building of houses, are not phantasms, they have
weight, form, location…”

-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Life is ordinary. But in that ordinariness, it is no less wonderful, no less filled with moments of sheer pleasure, tremendous pain, wonder, wisdom, strife. We share with our ancestors the same path tread across time, from birth to death, working to survive in between. Ours is a vastly different reality than theirs of many generations ago, and yet each moment of each day is filled with nothing more than time, same as ever. Our days amount to no more or less than what we make of them. It is up to us to embrace the ordinary, to nurture from it a life well-lived.

Emily Larned spoke to us from a room in her home in Stratford, Connecticut where she never used to spend much time before the pandemic. Now she does much of her work from this space. Before the pandemic, she had plans in place to travel for research purposes but as it became more clear that her travel plans would need to be put on hold she began to pivot. Over the summer, she learned about the Who Governs? open call at Artspace in New Haven. This led her to research whether there were any feminists who either demonstrated against or worked within the police force in the area. She learned of a woman who not only ran a feminist theater company in New Haven but went on to be the director of the New Haven Police Academy from 1992-2008. Under her direction, the academy became what Larned describes as a socially engaged art school and recruitment practices changed significantly. To hear more about this and Larned’s other work including her role as co-founder of Impractical Labor in the Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA) and more, listen to the complete interview.

Ellen Hackl Fagan spoke to us from Greenwich, Connecticut. Previously, she had a gallery in Bushwick which she moved along with her studio space in 2019. She adapted her garage into a studio space and, as soon as the weather warmed up, began painting for a show in Torrington, Connecticut. In addition to her own work, she was doing a great deal of collaborative work for various kinds of mail art projects. Over the summer, she closed an exhibition called London Calling Collective which had run since November 2019 as the inaugural show at Ursa Gallery in Bridgeport with a group of women she had previously traveled with. Aside from her own art practice, she runs ODETTA Gallery. To hear more about the gallery, her mail art project and more, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Yes, life is ordinary. And all we have.

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. Emily Larned is listening to the audiobook Cassandra Speaks: When Women are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes by Elizabeth Lesser. Praxis user Doreen Connors recommends Life? Or Theater? by Charlotte Salomon.

Deadlines:

NYFA Fiscal Sponsorships are a no-fee funding opportunity for individual artists and emerging arts organizations. This is a quarterly application with four deadlines throughout the year. The first of these is fast approaching, so check out the website and decide if a NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship might be right for you. Deadline for the first quarter is March 31.

Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius.

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