"la voiture, detroit" by Katie Parks
I'm thinking more and more of this particular release as the laying of track, the building of infrastructure, a model for how these things can work going forward, as the Future Sevens idea grows and changes.
Dylan, of Willo Collective, whom I met this summer at the So Percussion Summer Institute, reached out to ask if I'd do some treatments of their work, and laid out the terms with real generosity: "chop it up, rearrange it, effect it, flip it, add things. Ya, use it how you like. Feel good about doing what seems right to you, what moves you," he wrote to me. Total freedom.
Total transparency, too. We worked through everything to do with this release. Is it right for Future Sevens? Do we charge for it? How do we divide proceeds? How do we pay Katie for her artwork, which, again with real generosity, consisted of many images from which to choose?
It was tempting to "whatever" the answers to these questions, especially since Future Sevens has grossed a total of four dollars thus far. (Thanks, Jascha,) But it felt important to me, and to Willo, too, I gather, to set this up in a way that felt fair. Which is not to say "industry standard" or "a reasonable hourly rate." It felt more like we were making the decisions aesthetically, allowing the way we approached the music to saturate the way we approached the logistics around getting the music out into the world. Total freedom and total transparency. The Model Congress effect, in which, because there's no real money on the table, we can actually, you know, talk to each other and value fairness and kindness over hoarding the cookies.
Dividing monopoly money has something in common with the practice of making things, at least at a certain level of obscurity. For me there are hardly any consequences to writing lazily or, for that matter, to writing at all, at least not according to the usual dollars-and-cents metrics. And as frustrating as it sometimes feels to be a tree falling in the forest, I'm starting to see what the good of this condition might be. Total freedom, total transparency, and an imperative to do things well simply for the sake of doing things well.
Paradoxically, and perhaps irrationally, I think that once we internalize that imperative, the world starts to respond in some way. Suddenly someone is there to hear the tree fall. So too with this release method. Once the infrastructure is in place, once a model for honest, dynamic, and fair collaboration is set, something will happen. It's not that we need to be ready when it does, it's that being ready itself brings about the shift.