When all else fails… look to books

Vlady_Art2

Refugees Welcome, by VladyArt, September 2015 Kalamaria/Thessaloniki, Greece. A red carpet entry to Europe: plastic pipes, gold paint, red cloth, naval rope, wooden finials for curtain rods, paper plates.

From mid-2016 we Handshakers worked with the London-based group Dialogue Collective to build a collaborative show for Munich Jewellery Week 2017. In a flurry of inter-hemispherical bonding we exchanged words and images and Skyped into the day/night to tease out the form of our shared creative endeavour.

Conversely, over the same months, the democratic Westernised world slammed hard to the right and proceeded to unravel decades of hard-won progress. Social justice and human rights gains that seemed inviolable were summarily reversed, sparking dismay and mass protest.

mybodymychoicepolishembassyparis

Woman at the Czarny protest, Poland, following proposals to effectively ban safe, legal abortion  (measures also proposed by then nominee – now President – Trump)

Locally in NZ, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake  was followed by aftershocks, flooding and days of dark skies that felt post-apocalyptic indeed.

At times like these, it is challenging to stay informed without succumbing to paralysis. And doubly challenging to focus on an art practice, or to see the point of doing so (even within the compelling field of contemporary jewellery)…

Existential crisis, much? Thankfully, in the City Library, I stumble across this nugget:

playing for time

Playing for Time – making art as if the world mattered. Lucy Neal, Oberon Books Ltd, London 2015

The book is a compendium of work by over 50 radical, committed and far-seeing artists. 

In particular I am affected by John Jordan’s essay On the tightrope between art and activism: Five promises (which you can read here in full – only 4 pages, including notes).

For a week I copy out quotes as I read, then sift, shuffle, to reach a place from which, finally, I can begin:

quotes 2

Above: Quotes from Playing for Time:

1. FROM NOW ON, MY WORK WILL TRY TO BE AS BEAUTIFULLY USEFUL AS POSSIBLE
   John Jordan, On the Tightrope Between Art and Activism, p 199

2. DECIDING THAT POETIC VISION IS OF PRACTICAL USE TO THE WORLD IS IMPORTANT
Emily Johns, How To Keep Going, p 419,

3. IT IS NECESSARY TO STILL CREATE BEAUTY, TO STILL FIND JOY
Dougie Strang, Singing in a Dark Time, p 135

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “When all else fails… look to books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s