I describe myself as an artist as of recently. My name has appeared in artist lists and related events for the past ten or twelve years, thus I feel more comfortable introducing myself as such.
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no particular manifesto in what I do. My lack of art education is probably not helping in this direction. The aesthetic/thematic/medium discontinuity in my work can seem confusing for those who care about these things and sometimes makes it hard for me to present myself. In essence, regardless of medium or occasion, I think I make comments, I add footnotes, and sometimes tell stories from what I observe.
Because this is too long a description when people ask »what do you do?« I had to cut it down to three simple words, which in their vagueness, still define a bit of »what I do«: filmmaker/visual artist. However, my first degree was in chemical engineering, which has nothing to do with the arts but for better or for worse, its philosophy is deeply embedded in my system. Of course, an engineer is a non-artist, which makes me both an artist and a non-artist. Yes, it’s two of us here. Me and a Doppelgänger.
I am coming from a place of technocratic education where usefulness, efficiency, and »making the world a better place« were the main ideologies. In reality however, what I was experiencing alongside the rest of humanity, was a totally useless and inefficient takeover of means and resources by the forces of global idiocy, a manic destruction of the planet, a deterritorialization of industry and relocation to places where slaves were aplenty.
Some people can be okay with these realities.
So at a not-so-young age, I decided to devote myself to a discipline at the other end of the spectrum of usefulness, efficiency (and prosperity) and become an artist. Usually such things first come as epiphanies on a day you don’t necessarily mark on your calendar, and slowly evolve into conscious decisions, when the various tragicomedies of existence in this world force you out and into their observation.
Maybe I was able to see the future, back on that unremarkable day of epiphany.
Currently, in my crisis-stricken country, Greece, a vast majority of non-artist engineers are unemployed. Strange but true: nowadays in some places, the lives on non-artists can be as precarious as those of artists. So I (and the Doppelgänger) can be as much »artist« and »non-artist« as we prefer.
I must confess though, that I still tend to become nervous and indecisive when asked to declare my occupation when filling in a civil service form.
Is »art« or »non-art« a profession, actually?
Is my art »art« or »non-art«?