07 August 2012

"Commit Art, Not Terrorism": Artistic Activism in Bogotá

No doubt about it,  this hemisphere needs healing. If we've been anywhere near social or mass media over the past year, we are fully aware of the many many men, women, and children who have been attacked and killed because of their skin color, their religious belief, their identity, their humanity...all in the name of "freedom." Let's take back and reclaim our understanding of freedom, one that protects and celebrates humanity, one that grants people the permission and freedom to be...human. For who has the right to take away another's right to be? No mere mortal, I dare say.

That brings me to Antanas Mockus, former mayor of  Bogotá, Colombia, who managed to reverse the crime rate of his city by hiring mimes, promoting random acts of performance art, and showering on television to raise awareness of our water resources. Talk about creative activism. A politician who uses the power of imagination, creativity, and artistry to encourage his constituents to reengage and take back their city, one paint brush and act of street theater at a time.

The people have power. We have power. Let's use our power to reclaim the citizenship we RIGHTFULLY have to our humanity, reclaim our homelands from the haters, and spread a level of creative activism so infectious that even the perpetuators of hate crimes and local terrorism forget the self hate that inspired them to commit the acts in the first place.

And with that, I leave you with a few words from former mayor Mockus himself in an interview with Pedro Reyes, a contributor to art activist Marisa Jahn's compilation, Byproduct: On the Excesses of Embedded Artistic Practices):

PR: How do you imagine the role of the artist as social agent?
AM: I think one could veery convincingly put forward: “Commit art, not terrorism.” Art is capable of producing commotions on par with a terrorist act, installing itself in the people’s memory and imagination. Art is a route, more laborious, but a route nonetheless.
Almost every form of violence has a symbolic component, since the perpetrators strive to stir emotions in order to produce meaning. You can achieve the same result without causing physical harm.

(Source: Professor Stephen Duncombe's Art Activism site )

(I think Dr. Noki and former Mayor Mockus should collab...Whatchasay?

Commit Art, Not Terrorism,


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