Art & Activism

 

“In the good old days before commodification, Performance was diffused in the community. It welled up to mark the passage of ordinary people as water does to fill a footprint, and each muddy step reflected a little patch of sky. Community performance didn’t create stars--individual points of light surrounded by darkness--it had humble and direct uses. It created community autobiography in what anthropologist Barbara Meyerhoff called “definitional ceremonies.” It took over from play the job of teaching older children in a mimesis called apprenticeship. In times of high emotion, at the death of a loved one for instance, it allowed people to modulate their feelings. It bound the community in times of crisis, honed skills and effected changes in relationships between people and things. It wasn’t all serious. It was dances, celebration, enacted storytelling, carnivals, and cross-dressing. It wasn’t always kind. It was mobs, shunnings and mass hysteria as well. But it was community life. Through it people gained perspective on themselves, their actions and their group.”  

-Richard Owen Greer, Of the People, By the People, and For the People: The Field of Community Performance

 

How can activism be seated in art in effective ways?

 

Activism is…

More than marching.

Read.

Listening to the radio and your neighbors.

Learning. Empowering.

Creating a culture of resistance.

Reciprocity.