Let’s talk about change.
It’s nothing new: the world is changing, it always has been changing.
And people change as they adapt to their changing worlds.
Artist innovate, develop and experiment. They have always done so.
Can we, therefore, still talk about the urgency of change? Does it make sense to spur artists to take a more active role in todays pressing transitions?
Yes. It makes total sense.
I’m not only convinced that there is a new role for artists, I have seen myself how they can become agents of active change, making impact were politicians, journalists and diplomats give up.
In this blog, I’ll share personal experiences and inspiring examples. But first this question: Why is change difficult? Aren’t we the most adaptive animal on earth?
Yes, indeed, as humans, we are masters at responding to our direct environment. Our senses trigger direct emotions and fast responses. We experiment, learn and evolve in highly demanding and complex social structures. We share our discoveries, collect feedback and develop. Again and again we adapt, continuously.
But what happens when we receive information about structures larger than those in our direct perception? What happens when we hear about fast growing inequality, the end of privacy, global warming?
Well… Actually, nothing.
We live in a world with a total mismatch between our human talent for creativity and adaptation, and the large and abstract challenges that we face. Global Warming has no face to look at, no scent to warn us. There is no body for us to attack, no villain to kill.
Art is the language of feeling and emotion. It’s a beautiful body of translations between the world of volatile passions and material form, it can express wordless feelings, it can embody a deep doubt, curiosity or wonder.
Can artists bring big global challenges into our direct perception? Can an artwork translate abstract numbers about poverty into something we actually feel? Can they turn scientific findings about global warming into something fascinating – something beyond words? Can they create experiences that are tangible and moving, provoking active reactions? Can they imagine something more true than the daily life we adhere to?
I believe they can. Let’s investigate this together.
I hope to hear your thoughts!
Did you ever experience an artwork that made you aware of something urgent?