If anyone wonders why they are seeing pigs fly, it’s because I am working a 9 to 5 job. It’s only for a good two weeks but we’re about halfway and I’m getting this strange rash on my ass from sitting still too much.
But that’s okay. My current financial status (pay attention, capitalists) is one where I will take any job that will make me more than sitting at home sucking my own dick. Luckily this particular employer understands that technicians cost money and offered a decent pay.
And what am I doing?
I am the house technician for a non-profit organization called Victoria Deluxe (sounds like the right name for a sex shop, no?) during preparations and running of the Enter Festival, which is something called a social-artistic festival across 16 location in Ghent. I am stationed at one of them, an awesome industrial site called “The Expedition”.
Art installations, live gigs, theater productions, and everything in between. It might all be in the same place (I do get walked occasionally) but at least it’s something different every day. I’m making myself quite popular with my suggestions and solutions, mostly because the people I work with all seem to cringe at the mere thought of technical problems. I understand if you’re not talented on the subject, but sending me halfway across town for two lights and one cable seems a little pointless.
While I can make myself useful, I do feel (ten-hut, capitalists) like I’m overpaid for this job. I am paid like a full-time technician and first of all, 9am to 5pm with an hour break in between is a far cry from “full time” in my book, and I’m only working for about 70% of those hours. That time is divided between 20% technician and 80% “idiot with a screw gun”. It’s not that I don’t want to work, but that’s just the pace things are done at.
Colleagues are beginning to know my name (Mr. Extrovert) but so far, I have seen very little of the festival itself, other than the mechanics behind the scene. I suppose that’s good, because I’m not sure I agree with how things are being run. I don’t want to pretend like I know much at all about organizing festivals, but I do know that for instance, publicity is a major factor in your attendance and it’s exactly the part I am most troubled by.
Not that we lack publicity, far from it. The whole town is saturated with posters, flyers, booklets and brochures. I don’t think I’ve seen so much published about a single event, including elections. Posters line the streets, places both legal and illegal, and I wish they hadn’t because they look like shit. Who ever designed this deserves to be fired and then aborted.
Just look at it. That’s the count’s castle in the background there, which can be found here in the city center, except it’s upside down. I get the idea with the reflection in the water, but I don’t think it will register with 99% of the passers-by. That is mostly due to the discoloration that starts in a completely random location, and serves so purpose at all.
The anchor makes no sense at all, and the thickness of the lines composing the T doesn’t match the text, anchor or anything on the poster, for that matter. The term “social artistic” doesn’t actually mean anything with most of the population, and no effort is made to save people’s dwindling attention with anything they can relate to.
This poster gives only one impression: Filler between flashy dance party posters that do catch the eye. It is no surprise that when I say, “I work for Enter Festival,” not a soul knows what I mean.
For me personally though, it has been an interesting experience so far, not in the least because I had a chance to work with the Vieze Gasten (remember the Dirty Guys?) once more. Every time I come there, it’s like coming home. I genuinely love the people there, the atmosphere, even the lousy coffee.
Also there, I had the chance to follow a debate with the minister of culture Joke Schauvliege regarding the future of our country.
You see, the term “social-artistic” is a very new term, concerning the mix of social integration with artistic projects. It’s a clever word and most commonly used in the phrase “The social-artistic branch of our cultural society is getting fucked up the ass worse than any other.” I learned that one large-ish venue in Belgium is subsidized about as much as the whole social-artistic scene combined. As an employee, I find that a shame. And now with the recession, the budget is shrinking for the first time in the 200 year history of Belgium, and everybody wonders where this is going.
I won’t lie: I know about as much about politics as Mrs. Schauvliege knows about culture- Zilch. What I do know is that I very much enjoy the creativity and stubbornness of these organizations and projects (not to mention income) and I would find it a dead shame to see it decline or even disappear. I have no clue if they work with integration of the “socially weak” but they try so damn hard, and for that alone I could hug every employee, every volunteer. It’s not just a privilege, but an honor to work with them. The cradle of our culture.