As an artist, I don’t mind being uncomfortable. And I’m not reluctant to make other people uncomfortable. The behavior goes against the current trend of being sure everyone in the room is comfortable, as if we as a society have agreed that feeling comfortable will make us all happy and that comfort and the pursuit of happiness is our birth right as long as we don’t do anything illegal or violate the rights of others. Therefore we choose and support the people and activities and institutions that help us feel comfortable. We are comfortable watching TV, right? We are comfortable when nothing offends. We don’t want to be agitated–or we want to agitate those that feel differently than we do whether it is a husband,a politician, a critic. We are uncomfortable in a room full of lesbians or African Americans or Muslims when we are not a member of any of those groups. So we avoid them.
Being comfortable is subjective. Comfort is based on personal feelings, tastes and opinions. It’s all about how we feel but not about how we think or what we know or about challenging our growth. Because we’re uncomfortable we refuse to connect– or we object– to someone who may feel differently than we do. In most cases, feeling comfortable is about not having a conversation if it upsets us. We don’t put a lot of weight on how knowledge about the past, present or future impacts how we feel. Comfortable is reacting and not being in a continuum of experience or conversation about Being and Not Being.
Our instincts push us towards the comfortable. And I think that seeking to be comfortable can be dangerous. I am an artist, and a good one. If I stayed in a comfort zone, I might be making a different kind of art, a polite art. That’s not my intention: there are enough people doing nice art. I’d rather provoke thinking rather than feeling.
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