Urgency is an important matter. It is in fact overwhelmingly important – so important, that it provokes fear. At least it used to do so to me, but that was before I started using urgency differently. Now urgency has become a tool used to grab life by its balls, hang on, and eventually – hopefully – succeed.
I have been reading a lot of Hans Ulrich Obrist lately. He is a very good contender for the title of being one of my favourite curators. Not because he really is a rock star within the field, but because he values conversation so dearly. I admire that and I try to mirror his example. He is nomadic, he never sleeps, he does interviews, and he does a lot of them. Obrist talks to people to learn and to share knowledge and perspectives. He basically talked his way to the top. I hope to do the same one of these days. Obrist does a lot of things, because – in his own words – it is urgent. In my opinion, and in my life, not enough things have been urgent in the past – because urgency used to scare the shit out of me.
This past June I graduated from the design school. I now hold a master degree in communication design, and I am, trust me, still pretty exited about that. I was always very good at going to school. Any school really – primary school, boarding school, and high school – I aced them all. Literally. Design school too, even though it took me a few identity crises, a few kicks in the balls and eventually having to admit that I have anxiety issues. Those obstacles were all just the pains of being creative. At least that was what I always told myself during that time, and I still believe so. Work hard, party hard. However, in the end I aced design school too, and then my life ended. Of course not literally, but as I – up until that point – had always known it. Being really good at school was over; the time had simply run out. Time was up, and time had come to figure out, what I really want to be, when I grow up – and then I had to go be that. The excitement about the pretty degree suddenly faded to some kind grey. I was clueless. Urgency kicked in.
Taking care of and restoring the environment is urgent. Political and legal justice for all is urgent. Human rights for all are urgent. Stopping world hunger is urgent. Achieving world peace is urgent. Saving the world is urgent. I am serious, and almost out of breathe. Downscaling. ASAP.
I like to think of myself as a very creative person, so why was it that I could not seem to find some very creative way to deal with this future-panic? Hans Ulrich Obrist’s “philosophy of urgency” deals with determining what is necessary – or urgent – to initiate or do right now, and then he does just that. I imagine that he does it a lot – all the time. Maybe that is why he doesn’t sleep much.
I have tried to apply this “philosophy of urgency” to my own life and to my totally legitimate oh-my-god-what-is-my-future-going-to-be-like-panic-crisis situation.
It is urgent that the job statistics, and the perceptions of normal leave me alone.
It is urgent that the recruiters out there start giving people with little experience – like me – a chance.
It is urgent that I give myself space and time to explore and maybe even fail.
I always just wanted to do everything – at least once. I mean, maybe not everything, but you get the point. I have so many qualifications – it’s frustrating. I probably cannot prove them all by the second, but believe me – it is urgent that those qualifications get embraced. And in the end, it is urgent that I find my way, and my place, in the creative industry. There has to be room for me somewhere.
I don’t need a hug (even though it would very be nice). I need to curate – ode to Obrist – my cloud of creative first world problems, choose my urgencies well, and keep my eyes on the prize.
That is urgent.
Tons of other things are urgent too – but I just cannot be bothered right now. And I am sorry for that.
Today, I analyze and prioritize by personal urgency. It feels great and I sleep much better at night.
ALLUSION is the monthly column written by editor of opinion & debate, Sidsel Søgaard Spas.
ALLUSION is a space to blabber about current topics, life, or just about anything she finds immediately relevant. Sidsel is particularly fond of asking questions, serious humour and is not afraid of being wrong.
ALLUSION, noun: A passing or casual reference, an incidental mention of something, either directly or by implication.