Monday, 30 April 2012

A cabin in the woods (or technofuckery)

I mentioned to a friend recently that I was spending a month in Berlin to work on editing a short film ( an overview of the past years of Queer Beograd performances) and working on our next book ( a compilation of scripts from the same material). He laughed and said 'Oh, you're going to a cabin in the woods!'.

I suppose I could try to do this work in London, but it seems to me that city is always clamourous. Compared to a usual day in London, Berlin feels like a villiage. Plus as I don't have any fixed place of residence at the moment, when some one offered me a sublet in Berlin I thought 'why not?'. It's quiet, its a lot CHEAPER to live here and because the majority of my income comes from working online, I can move about.

Well that's the theory anyway. 

All of this sounds very glamourous, oh and dont get me wrong it is kind of fabulous. The apartment is bigger than several of my friends london flats combined, the weather is glorious, I'm slap bang in the middle of one of Berlins most notoriously gentrified neighborhoods, something I would curse in London but which is luxurious to visit. But then the gritty realities of life keep sneaking in.

My first night here I had a massive burst of enthusiasm, coupled with paranoia as I wanted to check my rather antiquated technology was working. without lap top, web cam and internet...I'm fucked.

This is the thing about the glittering high flying world of showbiz/activism/or as we call it 'queer superstardom' *cough* -  all of this takes place on sweet fuck all money.

Plugging in my creaking old power book, I find a tape to test and connect up the half broken/but still plays things camcorder. After an hour or so of tinkering around I have an edit of some very old performance material - one of my first fully realised pieces  - performed in
Sydney 2001.

From there it was all down hill. Filled with excitement about showing off my early work I converted it to a quicktime and went to upload it to youtube, NO JOY... youtube tells me it will take 1,465 minutes to upload my video. There's something weird about the internet here that is not an altogether happy story. I give in for the night.

As morning dawns I realise I still need to earn a living. I put on some sort of trashy outfit, set up my lighting (good lighting is the key to everything) and turn on the webcam.
In the jizz mines many of my regulars ask me if Im enjoying myself in Berlin and how the film making is going. Bless their little cotton socks, but for some reason their imaginations only stretch as far as thinking that 'Mistress' is in Berlin making porn!

Unfortunately there is some sort of weird techno-misallingment between my webcam streaming software and the internet connection here. Lot's of comments along the lines of 'I'm sorry Mistress your cam feed is running slow' or 'my apologies Mistress but your sound is breaking up'. argh fuck and damn it! I lose a bit of business because of this but still manage to tweak in at the end of the day with enough to pay the rent.

I decide to battle on with the film making, another technofear is that if I over burdern the warhorse of a powerbook it will blow up completely and I will again ...be fucked.
So the scheme is to make the video on an external drive. *sigh*. Drive one is dead, drive two blinks its lights sweetly but appears to have compatibilty issues (its not from the ark). I trek across town to pick up some of the collectives funds and invest in another drive. I arrive and read the cheery note 'sent most of the money to Belgrade, I'm sure you will manage'. The money is 70 euros less than I expected. I check drive prices, the one I think I need is 9 euros more than I have. I find a bank, draw out my last 20 euros and go and buy the sodding thing, counting out the last bit in change.

At home again I nervously plug it in, ...it blinks, flashes lights at me, then crashes my computer. Scary, scary moment....VERY 'cabin in the woods'.  I guess I will return it tomorrow - the upside of this being that if i get my money back then I can afford to eat!! :D

Oh well, Im not sure exactly HOW Im going to do this editing, but I WILL. Eyeing the applestore here, checking the exchange rates and thinking about more debt. Hmmm....maybe.
It's a funny combination to be a jetsetting, political activist, gender queer, performance artist, cam mistress, film maker. That also somehow makes sense. This techofuck of a world. Not sure where I will live when I return to London, not sure exactly what I will be living on while I am here. This weird precarity - but still  - LIVING THE DREAM.

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