Intheconversation's Sal Randolph talks with Randall Szott about collections, cooking, the "art of living," and infra-institutional activity.
SR: You recently announced the closing of your Dilettante Ventures project on your LeisureArts blog. Many of us are very sad to see it end. Could you talk a bit about your intentions in starting the project, and your perspective on it now that it has come to a close?
RS: I created LeisureArts and placekraft as a way to make public ideas and research I had been sorting through for several years. As I think most people are, I was shocked to discover that there appeared to be some interest in my blog(s). I also underestimated the interest in, and animosity towards, my anonymity. I never "revealed" my identity as I didn't believe it would provide any useful context for readers - as I had no real public profile prior to starting Dilettante Ventures.
I had been quite happy to quietly pursue the "art of living" in the highly personal context of my everyday life. Several people encouraged me to share what I was thinking/doing with others and I was growing suspicious of overly individualistic commitments. I was worried I was heading toward solipsism of a sort, so I decided to open up and engage in a larger conversation.
After spending nearly two years of being an advocate for new intellectual infrastructures that would minimize many of the perceived inconsistencies of people who are pursuing similar ideas within an art context, I began to feel as if my public forays had become a distraction from my interests rather than a platform for them. And really, I'm hesitant to seek a platform in the first place. I am happy to have met so many like minded people and to have been challenged by some perceptive critics. The whole thing started to feel an awful lot like a project, a "work" to use art parlance, and I am deeply skeptical about how that can shape one's thinking. I felt like I was in the service of LeisureArts rather than the other way around. The other components of Dilettante Ventures - placekraft and Studiolo54 had already run their course for different reasons, so it seemed like a good time to move on.