Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Art, vagueness, interpretation and the oppressed

So the other day I finished up my entry for a local art prize. A mixed media piece on the hatred of difference and it's injustices. And a friend who had encouraged me to enter when asked about her views on the piece suggested that it was too direct, too clear.

Now I knew what she was saying (I did study art formally years ago). That often how people respond personally to an artwork is to the vagueries, the blank parts and the indistinct. They then project of themselves into those spaces.

But i'd been dissatisfied with this phenomena in art for a long time. Sure it may be easier to make an artwork profitable by making it so vague but full of nebulous and indistinct symbols as to encourage people to populate it woth their own feellings...

But then all your doing is making a rorschach inkblot.

And during this conversation the part that really annoyed me clicked!

Art without some clear meanaing is really just an inkblot. Devoid of genuine truth or impact beyond the ease with which it captures the viewer, merely building flypaper of nonsense. My teachers droned against illustration etc, and I understand their points, but no matter the potency of an artists personal symbols if they cannot convey at least some of the same meaning to the viewer then they are not truely invoked.

And it occured to me how that works with marginalised groups art.

Because the interpretations of those vaguenesses and unclear symbols will be coloured to an incredible degree by biases. Just as many find the case when their issues are in public discussion and it gets imediately turned around to the concerns of the privileged group and what it means to them, how it effects them etc so too are all these nebulous spaces that so easilly allow a viewer to identify with an artwork also allow them to intepret in a way that they are comfortable with!

Or if the art is unable to be comfortably interpreted they will see it in a light where it is meant to disturb them on a general level. Which in a way will also make them more comfortable. But they will avoid as much as they can naturally to view the material in such a way as to actully comprehend the artists intent if that makes them call into question their biases.

Using this vaguery may make artworks more popular and help them sell but it means that the power of the message is diluted to one that will more easilly fit the comforts of the privileged. Sure sometimes artists can shock or lure viewers out of their comfort zones
but often in ways that the viewer will not easilly understand and so will not gain much from.

So i looked at my artwork, with it's symbolised blood clearly representing blood unambiguously, with the words scrawled in pink over the photo stark and certain. And I felt good about it.

I don't know if it will sell, I doubt with all the great artists in town that it will win any of the prises. But I know that anyone who takes enough time to look, to read the images and the words, are going to understand what I meant whether they want to or not or find it comfortable or not or agree or not.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Light a Candle

Go here http://www.angiezapata.com/
Watch the vid.
Add it to facebook, myspace and all other accounts.
Pass it on to others. As many as you can.
Light a candle.

Oppose hate publicly whoever you are,
whatever your catagory,
cis or trans,
queer or straight,
out or closeted.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Human Rights Meeting

The meeting itself was fairly small in size though most of the seats were filled. Made up mostly of elderly people, members of the local Amnesty group and a locla Aboriginal Reconciliation group as well as a handful of university students.

A lot of my friends couldn't make it because of prior comittments so I was in effect representing quite a few folk.

The speakers were impressive giving very different perspectives. Dr Jurgen Brohmer who had worked with Human Rights laws in Europe gave an interesting and informative explantaion of how they work there and of various catagories of rights, Dr eric Ghosh on the various ways that such rights could in their various forms interact with the cutrent system and finally there was Proffessor Helen Ware who explained the needs for human rights protections by ilustrating some issues as well as giving some of her experiences working within the human rights field and changing attitudes in the community.

I have been further impressed by Independant MP Tony Windsor. He wasn't there to just get his picture taken, it was no token involvement. He showed clear attention to the speakers, to the questions asked of them by the audience and often turned around to read the projected points on the screen behind him.

As for me i asked one question regarding Dr Ghosh's suggestion of large civilian juries to hear human rights issues rather than judges. (my concern was how to minimise socially embeded prejudices against traditionally unpopular groups)

I also went in a fairly conservative appearance for me, no makeup and only minor jewelry etc. I'm sure I still stood out but my point to be there was to be involved for universal human rights not just my own Goth and TG communities.

I put my name down to be available for the comittee to work out the local community consultation submission. Hopefully I can make a positive contribution.

All in all I am very thankful to everyone involved in this process and I hope that this process results in a good set of universal human rights protections for all Australians.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Local Human Rights Consultation Meeting

I'm all excited.

Tonight my towns having a community meeting to discuss the pros and cons of protecting human rights in Australia with some speakers from the University and some form of chance for the community to have a say with the results being a submission to the governments Human Rights Consultation.

I'm not very fond of public speaking but if there is an open mike sort of deally and I think a point hasn't been made, needs to be reinforced or if something needs to be refuted I'll have to make myself speak.

So the possibility has me plenty nervous.

I hope it goes well and that reason and not emotive rhetoric carry the night.

I'll post up my thoughts afterwards when I've recovered :)