Susan Dallas-Swann: A Nobody

After waking up and stirring around, I meditated. I then had full intention of heading to the gym, to do the physical activity that would have sustained my TM experience for about 8 hours. But first, I thought, I will call my mom.

Bad idea.

While on the phone with Mom, I made a cappuccino. We rambled and jumped from topic to topic, as usual. We rarely finish a thought. Little did I know this was setting the tone for my day.

Only a few minutes into the conversation, I exerted some control. I said, “Oh gosh, let me get off here so I can run over to the gym.”

She sounded confused, if not hurt, but agreed that was a good idea. So, I hung up, I made another cappuccino, I read about 10 pages of a book and then my mind began to really race and wander. I started googling ideas… things I wanted to read about next, when and if I ever finish the book I’m reading.

I recently watched the amazing film, Burden. It is a documentary of the life and work of conceptual artist Chris Burden. This film was a trigger. In a good way, according to my own beliefs and goals.

This is a very dangerous realm of art to dive into, as taught to me and a class full of young, hopeful artists back in 1992. This conceptual art class was taught by by Susan Dallas-Swann. She taught the class to instill a moral in us. To teach us that no matter how hard we worked to express ourselves, if it had any profundity, especially unintended, and/or it made your audience uncomfortable or, god-forbid, unsafe… You have failed.

Unfortunately a teacher might not realize what a profound affect their own opinions might have on students. The resulting bad grades for conflicting with the teacher’s belief, well that my friend is unethical.

I now realize, it was in her class that I gave up. I was defeated, after I worked for 3 solid months on a conceptual art piece, for which I was given a D. Ms. Dallas Swann explained, my work confused and upset the other students. I made them feel unsafe. She obviously didn’t take a poll because years later the students were still telling me they remembered my work. I didn’t upset the class, I obviously didn’t upset the artworld, I upset one pathetic teacher and for that I was told I was no good.

So, I internalized the confusion and fear and danger that I had finally found an outlet for, through art. I began to live it, rather than create works inspired by it.

Fuck you, Susan Dallas-Swann. This is my writing, one of the many art forms I explore in private, but have been too afraid to share publicly. Thoughts are just to frightening to be shared though art. Why, is it too safe? Too accessible?

So, I stop and wonder, am I making the reader uncomfortable? Are you offended? Are you scared or confused? Well, that’s not my fucking intent, nor is it my fault, but if that is the end result of my expressing myself in a vacuum, that’s on you.

Hit the goddamn back button. Unfollow me. Unfriend me. Report me to the thought police. Call the cops. Fire me. Beat me up. Start a smear campaign. Hurl accusations and create a hashtag about me. Fuck you.

To quote a dear friend, “2018 is the Year of the Bad Ass.”