Beware gatekeepers

Gatekeepers exclude & define. Gatekeepers have appointed themselves arbiters & curators of a space, of an identity, of an artistic field. Gatekeepers feel threatened by oddity, by mixture, by ambiguity.  Gatekeepers see their identity as the destination for others to reach or covet. Gatekeepers believe they were “here first”. Gatekeepers enforce hierarchy. Gatekeepers love categorization and ranking. It is not enough for gatekeepers to be right – others must be wrong. Gatekeepers prescribe. Gatekeepers say “this is not correct, true, authentic, holy.” Gatekeepers believe in insiders and outsiders. Gatekeepers insist that the map is complete, and that they have drawn the borders, and that all good citizens live inside those borders.

Mapmakers include. Mapmakers seek. Mapmakers change their minds frequently. Mapmakers get excited by novelty, ambiguity, and threat. Mapmakers become antsy when things feel rigid, well-drawn, or static. Mapmakers attempt to understand. Mapmakers describe, count, and compare. Mapmakers don’t see a destination, but a continuum. Mapmakers complicate. Mapmakers settle very little. Mapmakers recommend, but do not insist. It is hard to get one answer from a mapmaker; usually you get three or six, or they ask you what day it is, who’s asking, etc., etc. Mapmakers insist there are many routes. Mapmakers say, “it’s not for me, it depends, I’m not sure.” Mapmakers don’t draw boundaries, they describe terrain. Mapmakers see the map as incomplete, and wonder where to go next.

Beware gatekeepers.

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