#92: Tim Roberts
Writer, editor, thinker: Tim Roberts is all of these things in his capacity as the day-to-day mover and shaker at Counterpath, the nonprofit literary press and event space that he runs with partner Julie Carr, earning a Westword MasterMind award along the way. As Counterpath starts a new journey after a move to east Denver, here are his enigmatic answers to the 100CC questionnaire.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Tim Roberts: I do like history. There's just a lot there to draw from, and it's good to think about that, what was kind of before now. And there are lot of people back there. I think we're up to about 100 billion people who have ever existed, about seven billion of whom are living now on the earth. There's also the comings and goings of probably a half million each day, so there's something to catch up to in thinking about who I would collaborate with. But maybe I'd try to think of collaborating with every single person who has ever existed in the past, starting now.... Could I do that somehow? Any ideas? I'd also like to collaborate with just one person, whoever it is — a baby, born just on the cusp of these words coming into existence on the page. That would be fun, if I could locate that person and let them know what I was up to. Obviously, too, right now I'm collaborating with you, so that's good.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
It's interesting to think about who is interesting, since I've never been able to pin this down. Every time I place my bets and say yep, that's it, the person begins to appear to me as wildly boring. It may be that I think boredom is interesting. Is that okay? And then, of course, people and things I've written off, nearly everything I've written off as inconsequential, not worth anyone's time, turns out to be exactly what's got this creative energy and what is transforming contemporary life for the better. It's bizarre. But I've accepted it and live a kind of contrarian life, turning away from what interests me and drawing closer to things that are at first repellant. And actually, this has worked out pretty well.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
I'd like to see art as a whole really just go ahead and die off, since it seems to have led us into all the wrong places. It's a horrible term, really, carrying along with it associations that do nothing but shove the commodity down our throats. Geez. Get rid of it. And if you think about what's interesting, getting rid of art would do the trick, so we'd have no more art, art trends or artists, and we could start over, looking at what's in front of us with an art-less gaze that might take us in directions we might, even in our present state of artfulness, agree would be a good thing.
What's your day job?
It varies, but mostly I work at Panera. I do some cooking, but one of my largest concerns there is operating the relay between when an order is taken at the register and when a person's first name is called out at the pick-up counter. One of the things I like about Panera is how most people not only bus their own trays but will also divide out dirty silverware, plates and bowls into separate bins. There's a community spirit there unlike anywhere else I've ever worked.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with?
But seriously, art will never start over. Or at least it could only do this on a small scale, as in some sort of art-less utopia, springing out of one person's mind, or in a small group’s. The true artist will destroy art, right? We can all agree on that. But if we stop and think, we don't live that way, like we know that destruction is a good thing. I don't know why we can't do it, but we can't. We've had a couple of patrons, smaller scale, and it was clear that they didn't want to live this way. And it's not really negative! It's just a way of living without art.
Denver (Colorado), love it or leave it? What keeps you here—or makes you want to leave?
Of course the parenthetical brings up the question of what other cities or towns are named Denver. I'll Google it. But yeah, really, what is this place? Does anyone have any idea? I mean, it seems to be operating on its own accord at this point, pretty much unstoppably, in so complex a manner that it might as well be perfect chaos. But of course it's not that chaotic, and we can draw on various screens of understanding that indicate certain trends, like the Purina factory, that we're just going to agree on every time. But I'm always going to be lovin' it and always going to be leavin' it, since that's what it's doing to me, mostly.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
No one really sings the praises of the many outstanding academics around here. One of the things that characterizes this location in a way unlike many other cities is the number of larger universities around here and the many vastly creative people who work at them. I want to designate those folks as my favorite Colorado Creatives.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
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Lots of rest. Singularities. Emergent collectivities. Trying to step back from the undercommons in order characterize it. Electricity. Multiplayer games. Brain surgery.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
Learn more about Counterpath online.