Work: Surviving the Arts

Exploring issues of sustainability in the arts.

–by Scott Pinkmountain


Part 2: The Mine

Each of us is a mine. The physical body is the entrance, the mineshaft, the part which the rest of the world sees: the face, voice, actions. The mine itself is our internal identity: the mind, the consciousness, the memory, the soul, whatever you want to call it. The first chamber in the mine is the part of us that’s most accessible to the world. Our surface characteristics are on display here, the ideas, opinions and personal stories we talk about, share on a daily basis. They’ve been polished presentable. The chamber’s well lit. It might even have extra chairs for visitors, a high ceiling. Then maybe there are a couple little side chambers. We might let a few select people in to see them, friends and family, lovers. Maybe they glow in a warm candlelight that casts intriguing shadows. There are some out there that never even enter these chambers of their own, and others for whom the chambers are quite publicly exposed.

As you move further into the mine, you encounter murkier regions of the subconscious. You enter the world of psychology and private memory here: personal thoughts, imagination, un-shared experiences. Now you’ve got your miner hat on with a light attached to the front. You’re in your work-suit because it’ll likely get messy. This part of the mine has been excavated, maybe there are supports, maybe even some buzzing electric bulbs strung up, but it’s hot, uncomfortable. Maybe you’ve got a map, or a guide rope tethered around your waist with someone, say an intimate, a parent or a therapist, up at the top of the mine pointing a flashlight around, talking you through your excavation. You’re digging into muddy walls and finding large chunks of semi-recognizable ore – treasure that you can carry up to the surface and examine in the light of day without much difficulty. Continue reading