One morning near Kensington Market, Toronto, May 2014. Thanks to a persisting jetlag I wake up early again, around 6am. My hosts are obviously sound asleep. I grab my camera and notebook and go out for a long walk. The neighborhood is quiet, only birds seem to be awake. The rising sun paints the cityscape with a sweet mix of pink and orange. A raccoon crosses the street, obviously knowing they’re the one who owns these corners while I’m just the odd tourist. After a while I end up in some Starbucks on Queen St. for coffee and wi-fi. Sitting there for a couple of hours, properly caffeinated, I find myself making plans for the future. PARAFERAL enters this world.
Previously, towards end of 2013 I had decided to end the small record label Some Place Else that I had been running since 1997. For many years, Some Place Else had served as a shopfront, a backdrop, a shelter, a framework for my creative activities – mostly experimental music, visual arts and design. For most other people out there, Some Place Else appeared as a record label, a mailorder and a shop for industrial, ambient and electronic music and noise. As such, it was an important tool for networking and a reason to socialize with likeminded people. Some Place Else released a lot of records by international underground artists, and the mailorder reached the worldwide rhizome of other underground labels, artists, writers and enthusiasts.
However, by 2013 I knew things needed to change. I had felt kind of isolated from that scene for a while, not by choice as such, but because my focus for creative works had shifted more and more towards visual arts and cinematic works. Also major changes in the music industry and in ways people ‘consume’ music affected the underground, too, so much so that trying to run a record label now seemed like a black hole which sucked all your time and energy and gave next to nothing in return.
Back to that Starbucks on Queen St. I’m thinking about my works, my interests, my past and what I want from the future. I’m also thinking about my introverted, even somewhat isolated nature of personality that I’ve come to accept as a resource rether than hindrance. In Toronto I met a lot of wonderful people I previously had only seen in online meetings. The otherwise fabulous socializing is often quite exhausting for introverts like myself. Solitary activities like the early walk and coffee that morning provided a necessary time and space for regeneration. The needed solitude makes one somewhat isolated from crowds. But it’s ok, fine even, since it’s like being an and outsider looking further out. (note 8 years later: Bill Drummond said it better in his “10 Commandments for Art” in The Guardian, published, curiously, in June 2014…!)
3 – Don’t stand on the outside looking in, stand on the outside looking further outBill Drummond, 10 Commandments for Art
In our more insecure moments we imagine the party is happening elsewhere. The movers and shakers are doing it without you. We have a tendency to stare through the window at those having a good time. Forget them and head for the horizon where everything is unknown, where there is no security, no rules, no safety blanket, and make things happen.
I need a new shelter and framework, a new name under which I can operate and brings my works to the world of other people. Scribbling in my sketchbook, playing with words, I come up with a new word: PARAFERAL. Obviously a combination of peripheral, para and feral. Perfect.
Practicalities. From previous experience I know I’m more interested in research and development phases of new works rather than marketing and promotion, so I dedicate PARAFERAL first and foremost as to creative research into Art, Consciousness, Technology, the three keys to the human condition.
Eight years have passed but it feels like no time at all in this endless Now that perhaps, paradoxically, is a sign of aging, but also a sign worth enjoying.