Individual uniqueness, what a subject to dive into! Ironically, in most modern societies individuality is upheld and idolised, but as soon as too many truly unique individuals stick their colourful faces above the crowd that crowd scares into a judgemental predisposition.
Creativity is wild, and unpredictable. And that, to many, is scary and uncomfortable.
Beyond the comfort zone
How many people in this western world of ours, life similar lives? How many people compromise their unique expression out of the fear of being different?
These questions are like the bellow of my rebellious nature, roaring question marks at society, breathing life into the fire of my courage. Because being a rebel takes courage, as it is deemed unsafe to stand out of the crowd. Perhaps it is for that reason that the mass prefers an illusion of security instead of the real adventure of life…
Oh, the lure of our comfort zone. In a system that is threatened by difference, and so frantically attempts to educate us into sameness it is no surprise that we learn to fear the creative spontaneity within us that leads to innovation and authentic expression. The same system that shaped our parents, and our parents’ parents successfully turns individuals into outsiders. I must admit I’ve been deeply scared to be successful. Not because I feared failing, but because I unconsciously felt that to succeed I would have to rebel against the whole of what society expects of me. I feared what I might become because I didn’t know who I was.
Being surrounded by individuals (like you) that dare to break free from the trap of mediocrity enmeshed in our culture, unwilling to compromise their unique expression for those approving words and looks, has helped me to release the need to feel safe about who I think I am, but more so I stopped trying to make others feel safe about who they think I am. The result is a mixture of fear and awe in the looks and opinions popping up from the mainstream like popcorn. Some burnt by offence, some perfectly crispy with fruitful discussion and some simply don’t get it while they remain in their hard casing of judgement and prejudice. I'm glad to admit that, after plenty of experimentation, the popcorn doesn't make me doubt anymore between choosing a mediocre, well-accepted life or one radically following my own style.
Mediocrity served me a beautiful box to think within and all the ways to serve the system instead of my own development and that of those around me. I learned to think like everyone else, look like everyone else and more or less behave like everyone else. All of that based on what others may or may not have thought about me. I was a follower of outside authorities (my parents/ friends/ teachers) until I felt I couldn’t breathe anymore.
Something inside me started to ask: Can they not see beyond this rigid perspective they’re imposing on themselves (and me)? And where has all the creativity gone? Well, one thing I’ve learned about creativity is that it simply doesn’t do so well within the solid fences that line our comfort zone. Creativity and inspiration come in spontaneous waves; wild, unstructured, rising unexpectedly and disappearing just as swiftly if not acted upon. It’s like a lightbulb of formless potential that tempts you to move outside the well-trodden paths, the compromised lifestyles, into the imaginative, to find out what you’re truly capable of.
I don’t know about you, but I sure loved the flavour of inventing my own unique identity and experimenting with all the possibilities along the way! I’m sincerely curious, what has that been like for you? To live life outside the comfort zone, into the dangerous wild lands where there are no assurances that you will succeed or be accepted, except for your faith in your own deep and vibrant nature.
Or perhaps you haven’t dared to make the jump yet. Perhaps you feel swallowed up by responsibilities and the many compromises you’ve made in life, feeling like you’re living a life that doesn’t belong to you or allows you any space to breathe. Or perhaps you simply feel pissed off and disengaged by the mismatch between you and the people you meet, and so you run away and ‘start fresh’ because it’s easier. Probably only to find yourself confronted with the exact same issues in the next group.
Even though I’ve tended more towards the passive staying until my rarities (which is really just a perspective placed upon me) become too uncomfortable for the group, and so they pull away... I’m currently proud to admit that it seems I’m shifting towards taking the responsibility to acknowledge the misalignment without playing the victim of the situation and setting myself free to explore new possibilities.
I’ll tell you one thing, it took a pretty exciting leap of faith in myself to break free from the heavyweight convictions I had about who I had to be to deserve approval.
A rebel with a cause
“True style cannot be measured by materialistic trappings nor can it be faked. It has to do with following your own unique rebellious spirit out into the world”
I’d like to think that the laboratory ground of JACK is a place where everyone can come to experiment with their rebellious nature. To be themselves without concern about what others may think, radically expressing something that simply wishes to come out in that moment.
I have surely enacted several identities within the safe confounds of my laboratory and get to keep exploring new aspects in more depth. Every night has a different flavour, and so does the creature that comes out through me. It's lively, It's caring, It's absolutely wild beyond apprehension and It's playful beyond words. The beauty of it is that it's you who pull these characteristics out of me like an endless string of colourful cloths from a magic hat. There seems to be no end to the variety of aspects that can be applied to the random situations happening within the walls of my laboratory.
Which is one of the main reasons why this whole thing started in the first place! Nightlife culture, for us mad professors, always was a laboratory for personal development where we explore who we are - and want to be - through our reflection in the ones around us and through liberating ourselves from everyday standards, expectations and obligations.
You teach me that style cannot be imitated or preconceived, it always emerges spontaneously and naturally and from what I’ve seen around me it takes great joy in shattering the grey world of mediocrity that is considered the norm. Sometimes it feels like we idolise individual uniqueness, only to judge it as soon as people actually dare to stumble across the path to their unique expression. Creativity can be a thankless business. It’s wild, organic and unpredictable, basically everything that scares the bejesus out of our logical, system-based thinking society.
As soon as I embraced being eccentric I must say I became rather well-practised at it. Which is one of the main reasons why it delights me so to have you dancing, playing and experimenting around me under my laboratory roof. Us quirky explorers of the night may neither be trusted nor understood by the masses, it often doesn’t really matter when you’ve found a true outlet for that surge of creative energy that runs through us. And that needn’t be solely in the arts, music or fashion, even though our queer ways seem more accepted there.
I do find myself content, on the fringes of society, relishing in my freedom to be a free thinker. And it’s absolutely contagious. The more eccentric rarities I gather around me, the more I am inspired to breathe more life into my own freaky. That makes me thankful to have so many of you dance by, may it be awkwardly, and I sincerely wish you all the fuck-its you need to give space to your unique creativity. That it may release all the opportunities you need to empower your genius and manifest your dreams.
- Peculiarly Yours,
Professor Jack Hammer
Please colour in our day, here in our living room office, with some tales that you feel exemplify your (or our) peculiar nature and perhaps, if you’ve visited JACK before, how the laboratory grounds of our crazy professor JACK have enabled you to radiate your extraordinary style of the bizarre.
PS: We love juicy details.