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The coming year


Announcements of a serious economic crisis for 2023 are coming from everywhere. Some warnings are based on common sense and circumstances, but many others are derived from an exacerbated distrust that has found its best pretext in the election of Gustavo Petro as president of Colombia. Undoubtedly, 2023 will be a different year for everyone. Several realities will finally settle down, as is the case of the pandemic or the imminent world recession. And in short, the social, political and information crisis, which is so distressing and paralyzing, will continue to worsen (the enormous benefits it brings to some discourses and positions are becoming increasingly clear). In any case, and as an antidote to so much fatalism, I have preferred to avoid filling myself with other people's forecasts and predictions. Experience has shown me their uselessness. For almost 15 years now I have been working in a medium and a context subjected to a constant crisis that seems, in many ways, irremediable. Living from art and creativity has made me, over time, understand anguish as an intermittent engine and instability as a geographical context. However, this does not mean, much less prevent me from being able to suggest an alternative to face new adversities. When the train stops there is no better time to observe.

Wild Read, Mural by Vertigo Graffiti // @wordbta @ecksuno

In this space I have reiterated and proposed, several times, the need to generate a third economic option to finance artistic interventions in public space; and by effect, the careers of the artists involved An alternative that complements the two sources of income that currently stand out: advertising and design and public calls and grants. On these occasions I have argued, and I repeat, that making communication and creation in the streets depend on the trends and desires of advertising and design presents an aberrant war of prices and likes that add very little to the constitution and strengthening of cultural expression On the other hand, I have said and proved that the system of scholarships and public calls, so necessary and profitable, entail a certain (self-imposed) loss of independence and sovereignty for artists, not to mention the always latent cuts to public budgets. It is not a matter of despising one sector or another, but rather of accepting and understanding their offers and limitations.

These days I was talking about these issues with Ricardo Vasquez and Santiago Castro, friends and colleagues of Vertigo Graffiti. Beyond reviewing the realities and anecdotes of the last few months, a potential horizon for the coming year emerged from the conversation. Indeed, after exchanging a couple of ideas, we understood the need to focus the team's resources and creativity on the design of consistent and coherent projects in the long and medium term. Public space is a resource (and a market) that allows and requires this planning extended over time. On the other hand, coherence and consistency in the profession are attributes that everyone will know how to define from their own place and urgencies. It is likely that part of the connatural crisis of the sector arises from a wrong use of the calendar: people work for Monday and ignore the inevitable arrival of the rest of the days. Although it is obvious that certain occasional and pilgrim jobs serve to pay the debts that accumulate each month, it is mandatory (and even more so in the face of so much uncertainty) to reflect on the months and years to come.

In that sense, the impact and relevance of an artistic career seems to be the sum of the projects (in a broad sense of the word) that are thought, organized and executed throughout life. For this reason, and after a couple of hours, we decided that in 2023 we will embark, almost exclusively, on this type of process. For the time being, the huge task of creating a local market for artistic projects in public space is in the pipeline. A semi-decentralized market to be presented as the third alternative of management and financing to which I referred above ... .

Without the intention of pontificating, and making use of the oldest intellectual resource of mankind: obviousness, I recommend to our dear artists and managers that next year we change our strategy and focus on the design of projects with a vocation of permanence. Of course, this work implies an additional effort, surely uncertain, but it could be useful to set some directions and abandon some insecurities. I apologize to all those who conclude that this writing is full of common and obvious places, but when we do not think with order and determination about the future, it is possible that the water stops wetting and the obvious becomes a sharp knife that points us to the center of the belly.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a 2023 that lasts a century.

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