I noticed I’ve been rather quiet for the last couple of months. Sorry for that! Stuff has been rather hectic, and I haven’t been able to update this blog. Since I’m most likely won’t have the time to write any new entries before 2014, I thought now would be a good time to look back at this year…
It’s the economy stupid!
2013 started off rather crappy, I had just lost my job before Christmas (ho ho ho) and I officially became a burden to society. Like many in my generation I fell in the miraculous loop of circular reasoning (you need work experience in order to gain work experience). I had to get off state support as soon as possible, and that would only be possible if I could get a job. Every month thousands of new unemployed were joining my ranks, searching for a means of survival.
The road to my current situation was paved in silly rejection emails. Economic crisis means that companies can come up with weird demands from job seekers. ‘Working a morning shift’ can apparently also mean that you’re able and willing to only work in the middle of the night. Searching for a person with a background on corporate journalism and then rejecting that person for having a background in corporate journalism isn’t that odd either.
To keep myself busy I started writing for ongeKUNSTeld, a Dutch online art publication. I recently got promoted to editor, which is pretty cool! One of my first articles (and still one of my favorite ones!) was an interview with British artist Dan Morison, who I will one day force to draw all my projects! We also started gardening on our balcony, trying to get that whole ‘growing your own food experience’ that has become so trendy nowadays.
We’re all freelancers now!
In our current economic reality it has become very common for people to get fired, only to be rehired as freelancers. No longer concerned with pensions, insurances, and so on, the commodity of labour is further cheapened down. In June my situation was starting to become quite desperate: still no work and even the rejection letters weren’t coming in anymore. My unemployment benefits would stop in July, and due to my home situation welfare is impossible (basically a long story revolving immigration offices and such), it meant I needed a solution quickly.
Luckily I got in some requests to do freelance work. Whilst it meant a rather insecure existence, it also meant income: YURKO as a corporate entity was born!
From July I opened up shop, named after the Hungarian part of my bloodline, YURKO seeks to explore and create narratives, but at the same time help others in their storytelling activities. In most cases this currently means carrying out interviews, and/or processing interview content, but little by little I’m expanding.
Five hours for one hour…
Most of my time was spent transcribing interviews. Some of my thoughts on that can be read here. Another big project I worked on was Rotterdam Told by People, a set of mirrors developed by concept designer Catinca Tilea. The idea behind the mirror was that you won’t only see yourself in it, but also people’s experiences, opinions, and memories about Rotterdam. During the summer we ran 70-hour weeks to interview people and process their stories.
The result was pretty cool, we got a tapestry of reflections and a wide arrange aspects of the city we didn’t know existed. We’ve made all the stories available on Catinca Tilea’s website, on the Rotterdam Told by People page.
Besides transcribing for Rotterdam Told by People or Heartworkers, I’ve also been doing some other projects. I’m particularly proud of the ‘Dreams series‘ I worked on with my old big kahuna (don’t call him ‘big kahuna’, he doesn’t like that) for Europeana, an organization that seek to digitize all European art, thereby creating a backup for future generations to use. The project is rather ambitious, but it’s just too awesome not to do! It’s also why I’ve been so excited to work on the films.
I’ve got a feeling that, despite this having been a rather difficult year in which we lived on the edge of being homeless, things are starting to look up. We recently reorganized ongeKUNSTeld, thereby creating the possibility of it becoming a big player in the art publication scene (is there even such a thing), transcription work is picking up (I’ve got some larger projects coming in), and I might even have a writing job in the games industry soon. Ok, it’s the miniature games industry, so not as cool and flashy as writing for the new Halo game or something, but it’s a step in the right direction: geeks have no perception of economic crisis (which means no hassle with payments).
So let’s see what 2014 will bring…