09. 04. 2018
Voices from 2028: Jesse Budel
Four creative young people shared a letter from the future with the Country Arts SA whole of staff gathering in February, 2018.
This letter is from Jesse Budel.
Jesse Budel is a South Australia composer and sound artist, currently completing a PhD at Elder Conservatorium in ecological sound art. In 2017, he received an inaugural Carclew Fellowship, allowing his to complete extended professional development travels across the US and Canada. This year he’s collaborating with Zephyr Quartet on an urban sound installation for the Adelaide CBD, and presenting a community performance work for the desert ghost town of Farina.
I’m sorry to say, but I haven’t made it.
I’m 36. I’m what some might call an ‘arts industry’ leader. I’ve had a wide array of projects, residencies and workshops that have taken me interstate and overseas. I’ve got a salaried job in academia, offering the luxury to create, research and teach. Opportunities emerge without having to seek them out.
But what for? If all this is for the accolades, the reputation, the perks, the sheer opportunism, then honestly what is the fucking point of it? Of anything?
I want to impart some wisdoms, that I hope you will take on in earnest as you continue your journey ahead.
First, trust in your outlandish and controversial ideas, whether it be setting fire to pianos or letting them ruin outdoors, facilitating spontaneous choral singing at local Scout music camps or travelling to the Alaskan wilderness and writing music about the environment, producing dance scores about oranges or orchestral pieces about maths, EDM, and drugs. Your queered vantage leads the way to roads rarely travelled, and your journey into the unknown reveals alternate ways of knowing and experiencing worlds within and without you.
Understand that your commitment to arts practice can complement and even become spiritual practice. Appreciate the ways in which your work interacts and intersects with nature and culture, revealing the interconnected nature of reality, celebrating the jobs of loving-kindness and creative inspiration, and cultivating compassion through revelations of injustice, oppression and suffering.
Importantly, recognise your motivation for this vocation, working as a conduit for growth of community. Of course, you’ve chosen this difficult and insecure path because of the satisfaction it brings, but the longer term personal and social resilience comes from arts’ capacity to enrich people’s lives, to cultivate sensitivity to the world around us, and to forge the connections underlying rich and dynamic cultures.
And lastly, relish in the exchange, the process of developing new work. Whilst the end product can be a useful goal, the lasting reward of life-long learning and self-development results from the toil of creation, of bearing new life to ideas through our chosen medium, and guiding and rearing them to maturity. Like guardians of young kin, we learn much about ourselves through the nurturing and manifesting of our ken, perpetually rejuvenating our understanding of how, who, what, when, where and why we are.
Though the road ahead is not easy – it never has been – know that others have consistently faltered, falling by the wayside, only to rise up and keep going, spurred on by unwavering determination. If my advice leaves you with anything, let it become the stuff that drives you forward to where we might one day meet.
I haven’t made it, but together, we’re making it.
IMAGE: Jesse Budel. Photo credit Dominick Marino.