For some reason I decided to number the RAW columns for San Diego Visual Arts Network in 2006 when they started. This month is the occasion of the 200th of those missives on visual art world, transitions, opportunities, advocacies, events and sometimes just pure gossip. I have not tracked the number of A+ Art Blogs or Picked RAW Peeled reports or even the numbers of views of any of these communications. (A researcher could uncover that information as everything is archived religiously.)
I didn’t number these articles specially to keep track of them, but the number is recorded within the word documents for each month although not online. You could do a calculation from the beginning as RAW is presented once a month and there have been no gaps in the presentation. I have no real explanation for this except, I started way back and then just continued on automatic pilot.
So why should I bring this to your attention? During the pandemic we have been able to slow down and notice things we might not otherwise have observed. I think many of us are aware of the weight gain during isolation*. We read that the average increase is 1 ½ pounds per month i.e. 18 pounds for the year. I have slowly watched my hair grow ½ inch by half inch each month until it is now mid back. Are we just marking time in what seems to be an endless march to the other side?
Maybe numbering things helps us to have stepping stones forward. We have certainly relied on numbers to make decision about COVID-19 and what level of emergency we are experiencing: how many have the disease, how many have died, how many have been vaccinated. But our belief in numbers is challenging and not just since the election. What should or shouldn’t, could or can’t be counted is a problem that all statistician face.
I was hoping that looking back might help with looking forward. So, I dived into some of the earliest columns, as well as middle and late ones. Nada, nothing, no deep insights, no revelations. But history is re-written all the time, so maybe in the future, someone will access these records and get an idea of what this slice of life was like. Or maybe not.
*My husband and I are actually social eaters and both managed to lose 20 pounds during isolation!