I started the semester wanting to make art about the “thing I choose to believe that I know is not real.” For me, I thought this thing was resistance within the system. I am actually less sure that this is necessarily “not real” but am still pretty sure that the way in which I have “resisted” thus far in my life is not truly resistance. I am not ready, however, to give up on the idea completely. Anyways this is a conclusion I have actually come to by thinking about ways to express this idea through art.
At first I showed photographs that I had taken when I was abroad. I thought that these photos spoke to my thinking about the work economic structure, and I knew that one thing I might want to make art about is the futility of resistance within a world economic system that creates so much inequality and suffering. Then, as the semester moved on, I thought I wanted to make a collage type of work that expressed all of the things that are preventing me from resisting and the things that I feel I need to push back against. But then I started getting really into the occupy protests, and wanted to somehow incorporate this movement into my work, because it felt so timely and so relevant to my personal struggle to work within and outside of systems.
So at first I wanted to make an inflatable structure that I would donate to the camp that I would allow all of those who are “occupying” to decorate, with paint, in any way they wanted. I wanted to document this process, while I stood outside of the teepee, representing those that observe but do not participate. My actions bringing them the structure, and giving them room to express themselves would represent my desire to be involved in some way, but in reality I would be abstaining from participating in the activity, which represents what I feel like is a paralysis on my part to actually do anything that represents the beliefs I hold and the work I do inside academia. But, after visiting the protests twice now, I realize that its literally impossible to build a structure like this because there is nowhere within the camp where I could actually inflate the structure.
But I still really like the idea of having those who are at the camps make art while I stand simply as an observer. I have now decided that what I want to do is to bring a big sheet down, along with paint and other art supplies, and have anyone who wants decorate the sheet. I will document the process using a camera, and then I will take the sheet back to Tufts campus. Back on campus I want to set up a tent in the middle of the quad for one night, and put the sheet over the tent. I will document this with a camera as well. I think the contrast of the image of everyone working together to make the art downtown, versus a lone tent with the art on it, in the middle of Tufts “pristine” campus, will reflect what I feel is my place as someone trying to resist, feeling some sense of paralysis, and ultimately feeling like a failure when it comes to acting on these beliefs that are so important to me. I don’t exactly think the occupy movement is perfect, but I think this will at least somehow capture, through art and through acts, my feelings about this issue, and the “thing I choose to believe that I know is not real.”
(All of the photos I have taken are on the page I created – I am not sure if I was supposed to create a page but I’m really bad at blogs, and that was the only way I figured out how to post all of my photos)
One question I have is – How should I present this entire artistic experience for our class? I will take photos of everything, but should I arrange these photos in some specific way, do something concrete with them, or is it simply the experience of doing all of this and talking about it the most important?