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Why Not Write About It?

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At least one person I’ve asked to curate content has told me that artists in their field “don’t write about their practice.”

I’ve definitely worked with a lot of curators who have been tentative about asking too much of their friends and collaborators, either because they thought it’d be an uncomfortable relationship, or because they didn’t think those people would ever deliver.

But this is different. They’re statements like: “Electronic musicians write, but cellists don’t.”

When I hear something like that, I feel taken aback and even a little sad. After all, I’m all about the democratic powers of the web re: verbal expression. Having been a writer my whole life, it’s my experience that certain individuals express themselves in writing often, the rest don’t, and there’s a range in there of how well those individuals can do it if they want to or have to.

In launching Curate This, I expected that, for example, a playwright would be more comfortable assembling a bunch of words on a page. But I also know that that same playwright might be as uncomfortable with writing a critical essay as a singer or a model or an H&M display designer or someone who builds sculpture out of microwaved egg whites. I mean, I write all the time and I am deeply fearful of grant writing.

The thought that certain disciplines just plain don’t lend themselves to written, or even verbal exploration, that’s something I’ve never once thought about. To think that electronic music, using the example above, is bound to and inspired by words and verbal exploration more than the cello, it’s just strange to me.

So I thought I’d crowd-source this one. If you’re reading this, take two minutes, click the 100% anonymous essay below, tell me your discipline and how people in your discipline feel about writing. And have some fun with it, for Christ’s sake.

Survey: Why Not Write About It?

Julius Ferraro is a journalist, performer, playwright, and administrator based in Philadelphia. He is co-founder of Curate This, has served as theater editor of Phindie, and writes for thINKingDANCE, Philly.com, The Smart Set, and the FringeArts blog. His recent performances include Micromania, The Death and Painful Dismemberment of Paul W. Auster, and The Mysteries of Jean the Birdcatcher with {HTP}, On the Road for 17,527 Miles with 14th Street, and his Phindie Fringe Bike Tours. With the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s Restored Spaces Initiative he coordinates community-led environmental arts projects.

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