You read correctly: positive failure.
Can failure be positive? Can success exist without failure? Or is failure simply part of doing and learning along the way?
This is something that I’ve recently put a lot of thought into as I’ve been invited to be a storyteller at the inaugural event FailureLab Sydney: The Highs & Lows of the Creative Journey, to be held at the Vivid Ideas festival in Sydney next month.
What’s Failure:Lab, I hear you say? It’s no big surprise that you don’t know, as this is the first ever Failure:Lab event to be held in Australia. Think TEDx talks but with all the guests on the mission to eliminate the fear of failure and encourage intelligent risk taking. It’s taking place on May 28, as part of Vivid’s launch weekend at Giant Dwarf Theatre, Redfern.
After confirming my involvement with the host, Simone Sheridan, I realised that this year was already booked solidly and an opportunity for a holiday wasn’t looking good. I’m busy touring a huge group exhibition of 17 artists titled Copier Jam! around Australia, and building an off-grid container home, all the while juggling a number of community projects along the way. And all of this is unfolding while I live out of a campervan on an island.
Cycle adventure touring might not be everyone’s idea of a holiday but after riding 2,500km around the North Island of New Zealand I wouldn’t have it any other way. As the name suggests, it’s basically going on adventures on your bicycle.
I made the suggestion to Simone that I could ride to Sydney from Brisbane. After sleeping on the idea I suggested that I could share my positive failure experiences with other creative communities along the ride and create a work on my findings to be showcased at Failure:Lab. Simone jumped on it and the Positive Failure – The Road to Failure (lab) journey was born.
Why discuss failure? I think it’s important we acknowledge failure as part of everyone’s creative journey. Failure is something that generally isn’t spoken about … and we need to! Nobody is perfect, and neither is the first attempt with any project or art form. I aim open up discussion and highlight that everyone has failed, with the aim to get back up and try again.
I’m hosting the launch for my Positive Failure – The Road to Failure (lab) at The Edge on Sunday, 1 May, from 2pm, alongside of number of Brisbane’s finest creatives, who will share their own positive failures. Come learn more about the project and see me ride off into the sunset. Who knows, it could a massive failure! Everybody loves watching a train crash right?