The gift economy is a mode of exchange where valuables are not traded or sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. Only by giving something away can we hope to increase it.
‘Normal’ is a powerful display of the longing to fit in that you feel when you go agains the grain and live a life that doesn’t perpetuate the environmentally damaging industrialised system. But it is also a sarcastic comment on the way most people live.
The video is shot against a grey brick wall, i.e. the industrialised world, which the poem critically comments on.
The poem ‘Normal’ appears in Åsmund Seip‘s book 100 Days for the Earth – Love Poetry Revolution which is available to purchase on Amazon. Åsmund began writing the book of poems when he made a simple but effective commitment to write a poem a day for one hundred days.
Åsmund gave everyone in the audience a copy of his book, as part of the gift economy. He had been told by an audience member that the price of £20 was too high. Giving it away was an immediate response to that. His gift inspired filmmaker Emma Goude to give back by offering a video.
Emma doesn’t normally make films for nothing. She believes that her creative talents, skills and time should be valued. After all, we all need to make a living. Lots of people ask her to film for them or even to make an entire film. They care about their project so much that they work on it for nothing and expect Emma to do the same. But Emma believes that this is misguided as it leads to lack of appreciation and even burn out. Nobody would expect their hairdresser or cleaner to work for nothing so why should film making be any different?