So I have a new name now, which I’m not gonna update on most of my social and stuff because I want to stick with TJ Cuthand for work reasons (it’s a pain in the ass to change it everywhere and I do not want to go through that again ha ha). I am now Theo Jean Cuthand. But yeah if you are talking about me for work still use TJ just so people don’t get confused. I don’t know. I just don’t want to go through the internet again trying to fix my name everywhere. I mean really it’s a JOB going through all that shit. I’m still finding my deadname here and there on stuff where the only person who could change it is me and that’s such a drag.
Anyway, I was drawn to using the name Theo because it sounds similar to my deadname, it would be the same initials, I was partial to it as a kid because I named one of my pets Theodore (he was a rat!), and also because Vincent Van Gogh’s supportive brother was named Theo, and I want to be supportive to emerging artists so it kind of fits. But it’s not Theodore it’s just Theo.
I am leaving Vienna soon! TWO DAYS and I’m outta here! I’m ready to go, I got super lonely especially over the holidays. I did meet a new friend through Tinder so that was nice. But I miss home. I miss my friends, I miss my dog, I miss my bed, I miss legal weed, I miss Canadian food, I miss being able to use Uber Eats and Doordash. I miss Earls Cajun Chicken and BBQ ribs. That’s like my all time go to dinner order and they def don’t have Earls in Vienna. Or I am pretty sure they don’t anyway. So I’m ready to come home. My game is in a way more advanced stage and I think I’m going to be able to finish the main coding I have to do for it this next month in my next residency. So that’s exciting. I am going to make one of the characters have blood giving properties so the vampire can feed, and I am trying to figure out a mechanism so the vampire can meet their lover and have a romantic encounter. Not sure how I will do that though.
Christmas here was nice, I’ve been to so many Christmas Markets. I went to the one in Berlin that was attacked by a terrorist in 2016, and they have GIANT barricades on all the roads leading to it so no one can drive a truck through it again. I went to a molecular gastronomy Michelin starred restaurant in Berlin and had all this wild and elaborate food which was really good (I didn’t like the pike tho). They first brought out these tiny savoury things that looked like desserts, including this lollipop with somehow savoury cotton candy wrapped around it. At one point they brought me a cup of foam that was actually filled with pieces of spicy crispy chicken. Just wacky stuff! One looked like stuff in a petri dish, and it was pieces of pickled kohlrabi surrounded by a kohlrabi sauce topped with slices of kohlrabi and small granule shaped drops of blood orange juice that was frozen by liquid nitrogen. It was nuts! But beautiful. I want to dine at a restaurant like that again, it was just too amazing.
I have escaped all the winter storms that were happening in North America, it’s been relatively mild here. It barely snowed, and when it did the snow went away pretty quick. I almost miss the snow but I know I will feel differently when it’s February in Toronto and I’m shovelling us out again.
I’m ready to be home. I think the first month here was ok, but then after that I got super lonely and missed my life back home. I did get to meet some cool artists though, and it was nice to have space and time to focus on a project. I didn’t get the webseries shot though, unfortunately. But the game came a long way.
Also my drawing skills have improved as I’ve worked on my game. I’m considering if I should redraw some things that were in the cemetery level and see if I can make it look better. I know the grass was way too long, and I could make a different ground that is at a more realistic scale. The handy thing about Unity is if you want to replace a sprite with another sprite, you can just swap them in the Inspector and it will still keep all the settings and stuff. Also it might be nice to smooth some lines out in the maze.
I think my favourite level is the BDSM club. I put a lot of work into it. There’s a St. Andrews cross where you can get whipped, there’s several people whose blood you can drink (but shouldn’t for most of them), there’s ramifications if you go around killing people (I still need to work on the coding for this but basically a hand with a stake comes out and stabs you to death if you start killing people, or that’s what it’s SUPPOSED to do but I needed to take a break before I could finish it exactly). I’m still trying to figure out what a dialogue system would look like in this game, and now I am wondering if that is really necessary. Originally it was going to be so you could talk to people about consent or finding love. But I’m also thinking it would be nice to be able to make a more universal game that anyone could play regardless of language spoken. At the same time negotiating consent was a big part of the game’s initial concept, so it would be disappointing to just not put it in.
After I get the main stuff in, I need to start coding it so that it will remember what happened in different levels. Like if you fed in the BDSM club then I would want that to be reflected even when you go to the street or the cemetery.
I’m also a bit concerned about censorship, cause like it does have adult themes and I was hoping to be able to put it on Itch.io but I don’t know if they have rules against that. If worse comes to worse I will host it here and you will be able to download a desktop version.
It sucks that Queer artists have to deal so much with internet censorship. Like ok, I’ve been making work since 1995, very Queer work, and there’s been censorship since the beginning of my career (and long before). But it feels like it’s getting worse. You can’t even use certain words on online spaces without triggering censor algorithms. Like the three letter F word, a gay friend of mine used it in a post on Facebook and got thrown in FB jail for it. But it’s his community! So frustrating. That is not the progress people think it is. And people saying shit like “unalive” because if they say kill or die it triggers the algorithms to ban them for abusive language. It’s very frustrating as an artist who likes to use language in my work. I feel like it’s changing the way we communicate in a detrimental way. And it’s def changing the kind of work you can show. I mean you can make anything you want, and you can write anything you want, but in a lot of online spaces those writings and art works will not be able to be seen.
I’m so glad I have my own website.