Points Of Departure Roundtable

Jon Raskin was recently a panelist in Bill Shoemaker's Points Of Departure Roundtable discussion. An excerpt:

Bill Shoemaker: One of Wallace Stevens’ main themes was the ongoing struggle between the imagination and what he called “the pressure of reality.”  That pressure is currently intensifying by the day. Not only is there a global economic train wreck in process, which exacerbates stresses of producing performances and touring, but we’re also at a crossroads in terms of the medium(s) for recorded music going forward, and its distribution. How are these extraordinary times informing your work?

Jon Raskin: You have three questions going on there and each of them are worthy on their own merit. I would comment the first part of the your question by pointing to William Carlos Williams who was a poet and a physician and was an inspiration for me showing that you can be creative, productive and be engage in other productive work. Consequently, I don’t rely on music for a living. Interestingly, he was also writing in a time up economic upheaval and a restructuring of the world economy and felt that artists be engaged with that process. The “pressure of reality” Wallace Stevens explained: “by the pressure of reality, I mean the pressure of an external event or events on the consciousness to the exclusion of any power of contemplation”. Good advice, keeping thinking.

The economic realities of global train wreck will be laid bare as the year progresses and arts funding, as always, will be a target for the chopping block. The funding for performance series, commissions, travel money, general administration funds for arts groups, venues and the like which is always in short supply will be further eroded. Art is necessary work and I’m for a new New Deal. Let’s invest in the Gross National Happiness indicator.