Predicated on generous collaboration and supplemented with part-time employment, the Grateful Economy is separate from the state and relies entirely on free artistic and critical contributions.1It’s not a pyramid scheme, it’s a pledge.2 It’s the subject of a dream relayed over the phone. I go to the meeting with my Dad, in a circular white stone building. You should never go to someone’s home with your two arms the one length.3 I’m being asked to bring a gift, but I haven’t a clue what’s appropriate. I feel like I have nothing to give, so I give thanks instead. This seems to work well, as there is barely enough time and everyone else has given quite a lot.4
You are someone who needs attention and sometimes you go a bit overboard being dramatic in order to get it. You have a clear presence that gets you attention; however you still use your clothing and behavior to acquire it.5 After I get home, I have to pay you back and I transfer it all the way back to a name I don’t recognise. I’m absolutely fucked after the weekend. I feel worse for wear.6 I’m none the wiser for it. I’m on borrowed time. They say it’s cyclical, this gift economy, but it feels like spirals. I don’t feel appreciated, this isn’t reciprocal. I’m going on strike until January.7
I don’t go on strike. Instead, I transcribe audio interviews of English people talking about the Labour party. I agree more with people who are harder to transcribe, with false starts and who interrupt the interviewer. I can get the people I don’t agree with transcribed in about half an hour, but their words last all day. I am not very good at transcribing, only managing to earn about 3 or 6 dollars an hour. Soon I am given the files no one wants, that are paid the worst. Glitchy zoom meetings and a video recording of a statistics lecture. The Lecturer is wearing a face shield so when he gets excited his words ricochet, garbling the track. When he speaks about being an American soldier, I can barely make it out at all. I flick through more files but the further I go the harder they become. Soon I can’t make out the different accents at all. They are looking for clean reads. They want me to follow British rules of punctuation.8
I misdefined collectivity as an exploitative economy relying on unpaid labour. This cynicism led me to hoard time like a stringent resource, to spend it on solitary activities, like sleep. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a woman healthy, wealthy, and wise. Although I’m in my bed, space stretches.
I’m somewhere familiar but I feel out of place. I’m late, someone has told me that I smell, and I’m trying to solve a problem called “Egg roll”. I’m not myself, I’m a group of women trying to escape a large public event through the kitchen. Seven children fall out of me and I name the sixth one Hag. I don’t pay any of them much attention but I know my time is running out, I wake up to find I’ve been let go.
We barely meet as we’re on different sleep schedules, and I’d never collaborate with a dreamer, I had to organise myself into a subconscious strike. Otherwise I’d constantly be living in second halves, trapped in Déjà vu.
I have a vision of the future
but I get bored looking at the sky
but I love floating
- Dream, date unknown
- The Artist Support Pledge was established in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It aims to create a sustainable economy for Artists
- Irish phrase
- During the IMMA Summer School; Statecraft we had several lectures surrounding ‘The gift’ as a state practice. I failed to prepare a presentation around the gift, and during the final seminar gave thanks
- My horoscope, ‘Eager Beaver’, available online at: http://universal-tao-eproducts.com/mp/files/sun-moon_aries-leo.pdf
- The weekend, 22-23 August 2020
- Text messages from Sunday 4 October 2020; ‘I thought of getting tinder again but was like nah >> No. I’m on strike until January. Feel like my romantic labour isn’t being appreciated.’
- Verbit is a freelance online platform for sourcing or providing audio transcription