Artist Writings

David Moss: Risk and Culture—A Manifesto

Reprinted from Die Zeit, January, 1994
© David Moss, 1994. All rights reserved.

"Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us" (Pasternak)

a] Risk with "experience": patterns/belief-systems/hierarchies
b] Risk with "emotions": Passion/pleasure/pain/ennui
c] Risk with "intellect" why/yes-no/impossible

But what seems to happen to their risk-generated products? Enter the concept of "2nd-hand touch":

1. -Have you made a new friend this year?
2. -Have you driven a car (or been passenger) at more than 90 mph?
3. -Have you done something which you previously disliked?
4. -Have you gone to a music concert with a sound level of more than 100 db?
5a.-Have you been in a situation where you are not in control; 5b.-on purpose? (Answer a & b)
6. -Have you crossed against the stop-lights?
7. -Have you stopped doing something that frustrates you?
8a.-Do you usually do the same thing for entertainment? 8b.- for relaxation? (Answer a & b)
9. -Have you broken thru frustration to a new or different point of view?
10.-Have you taken a drug (prescription or not) without knowing the side effects?
11. - Have you engaged a stranger in conversation?
12a. - Do you smoke? 12b. Do you have an addiction? (Answer a & b)
13a. - Have you hung out with people 20 years younger than you?
13b. - Have you hung out with people 20 years older than you?
14a. -Have you been to a museum 1 to 3 times in the past year?
14b. -4 or more times? (choose only a or b)
15. -Do you use a radio or other sound-generating object for Background sound while you do other tasks?

"that book/journal/software/video/CD you sold me was not challenging-- why did you recommend it?"

Well, maybe an interesting conversation will result; maybe the workers will imagine a kind of activist buying-public that wants to make inspired, unusual choices, and maybe this will lead to wider access.

"And in the end...." it all comes back to education and family, our two most basic experiences. "Risk", if it is to be a creative culture-shaping tool, must be developed and fostered in the earliest years of family environment and school-system. A widening web of potential interconnection, a network of truly-chosen jumping-off points, and an intelligence pleased by "the possible" is infinitely preferable to the "funnel into function" delivery system currently in effect.

"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time" (Andre Gide)