Art Scatter considers worst-case scenarios

Look, Art Scatter is not an economics advice site. We only know what we read, and frankly, that’s pretty dismal these days. Where should you put your money? What money!?!?!?! We do think that there’s a moral dimension to all of this, though, beyond the obvious, and maybe a suggestion that the way we at Art Scatter have thought about the world, even the way we have conducted ourselves, hasn’t been quite “right”, hasn’t acknowledged certain “realities” that may turn out to be the realities we should have been paying attention to. We are so easily distracted in the monkey tree.

Worst-case scenarios. How bad are your worst-case scenarios? This isn’t a competition. You don’t get extra points for having a bleaker worst-case scenario in your mind than your neighbor does in hers. Your worst-case scenario is a fantasy, after all. Or maybe a nightmare. It’s hard to manage a worst-case scenario once it’s planted in your head. Maybe you should just play with it — stretch it, take it in some strange directions, try to get to know it a little better so you can test it with what you can actually see and touch and taste. Right now, I’m picturing myself in a long line of refugees walking eastward on the other side of the Cascades. (I’m wishing right now that I had a better backpack.) Where are we walking? I have no idea. I have this image in my head from various newsreels/documentaries/movies I’ve seen over the years. I’ve never really imagined myself IN the line before.

I don’t think I can prepare for my worst-case scenario. Maybe no one does, if only because we aren’t actually living it. Maybe we just keep pushing our worst case back as actual conditions worsen and we realize there’s room for yet more deterioration. But that doesn’t mean I can’t act at all. And figuring out what to do, maybe that’s the ultimate reductive act: So very little really matters. And yet I do so very little of it.

Art. Art points us to places we can’t talk about, where the idea of “this matters” is somehow forged and spit out into the universe. Among other things. I like to think of art as a description of things as they are, even interior things, a description that is more or less useful to me. I imagine a photograph of an expensive condo tower, maybe like one in the paper today. Today, it’s ironic. A suggestion of “things I don’t need”. Two year ago, it might have described something else: the dense, successful city of the future. Although that description might have been intended ironically, too. Things we don’t need: “Cities of the future.” (Maybe we need a city that works today and works better tomorrow. And maybe it includes condo towers; in fact I rather suspect it does.)

Art won’t tell you what to do with your assets, the shreds of your remaining assets, or the big fat zero that describes your “net worth”. It might make you reconsider what net worth means, though. So does a financial crisis, apparently. How is art like a financial crisis? They both give you an appreciation for what’s real.

This is Friday. Art Scatter has no idea what Monday will bring. (You knew that, of course.) Art Scatter can only promise that it will try to have a little more insight into what its business really is.