Saturday, January 31, 2009

PAINTING THE SELF



Blogging is currently taking a back seat to real life. Am doing a self-portrait which I want to enter in this year's National Portrait Gallery BP Award and the deadline is in early March.

Painting from life is exhausting, at least to me. After only an hour's concentration I feel as if I've been plowing fields, chopping firewood, carrying buckets of water on my head and shearing sheep. Frequent coffee/tea/newspaper breaks are essential but tend to carry on too long and because of freakin short days of winter the light changes and so I have to turn on the electricity and then everything is different and so either I have to start again or stop for the day and do some drawings.

Here is a summary of what's been happening so far. I am not gloomy, it's just concentration that makes me look that way.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

OUT OF THE BOX IS NOW READY FOR YOU

Start entering your ideas now and/or elaborate those that have been posted so far.

Let's create a buzzing factory of outlandishly feasible scenarios!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN?

Read this relevant and timely 10 Principles of War Propaganda, posted on the European Tribune website. On the same site, there's also this report of a mercy ship departing for Gaza from Cyprus - will they be allowed to land this time?

Meanwhile, where are all the ideas I was hoping would pour in?

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Friday, January 09, 2009

WANTED: WORLD-CHANGING IDEAS, NO STRINGS ATTACHED

January 9, 2009

People who have the power to change things for the better generally fail to change things for the better for one or more of the following reasons.
1. They are the wrong people to be in power.
2. They are the right people but depend on or are hampered by the wrong people.
3. Right people or wrong people: power itself is the problem.
4. Power always has many strings attached.
5. Too many strings = too many knots and loose ends and broken threads and nooses.
6. While the powerful are busy trying to untangle their strings without losing their power, the innocent and powerless suffer.

7. When the powerless adopt the methods of the powerful, they too become entangled in the strings of power, and the goal of making things better moves further and further out of reach.

THEREFORE:

WE WHO WANT TO CHANGE THINGS FOR THE BETTER

WITHOUT FALLING INTO THE TRAPS OF POWER

NEED TO CHALLENGE OUR IMAGINATIONS

TO CONCEIVE IDEAS WHICH ARE POWERFUL

BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ABOUT POWER.

NEW WAYS OF LOOKING AT OLD PROBLEMS,

USING THE POWERFUL TOOLS

OF ART, OF MUSIC, OF DANCE, OF THEATRE, OF POETRY, OF FILM, OF SPORT, OF INVENTION, OF BUILDING, OR EVEN OF BLOGGING.

With all this in mind I imagined an unlikely but not unimaginable scenario. This is what I saw:

An army of dancers, amateurs and professionals, wave after wave of them, every style of dancing from anywhere in the world, accompanied by their musicians, moving in disciplined formation like a very long carnival parade. But not a carnival.

A massive non-violent dancing protest, confronting tanks and trucks and armed soldiers intent on their power mission, obeying their power orders. On both sides of the divide, the dancing army confronts the violence and advances inexorably, rhythmically. The fighters in their tanks and behind their rockets are flabbergasted, the music and dancing are so contagious......

Yes, yes, I know. The dancing army would nor be allowed into the country. And even if they were, they would not be permitted to enter the war zone. And even if they were, the dancers would become too traumatised by the dead, the dying, the wounded, the bereaved screaming despair and vengeance, to be able to keep on dancing. And even if they were, they would soon be mowed down by the fighting on all sides. Life is not a cabaret, oh chum. I know this.

A stubborn, childish, rebellious voice in me keeps on insisting my scenario could happen if enough people participated. There are other ways, ways that are beyond politicians and governments and armies. I'm concocting a little video to illustrate the above scenario and will post it when ready.

The killing and maiming and destruction have to stop. Not after discussions and negotiations and conferences but immediately.

If the 'experts' haven't been able to make it stop after years and years of talking and killing, killing and talking, why not try something completely different? I am absolutely not saying that a dancing army (or another idea of similar nature) would be a solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict or any other major conflict elsewhere on the planet. But it could (or so I imagine) at least stop the killing, allowing other solutions to be found.

In July 2007 I started another blog, OUT OF THE BOX, which fizzled out after a very short time, mainly because I didn't keep it up. To start the new year, I want to resurrect it and am throwing this challenge out to you:

Can you imagine original scenarios which could STOP THE KILLING anywhere on the planet that people are wiping each other out in large numbers, for whatever reason)?

Here are the rules:

1. Scenarios must be imaginative and constructive, no matter how unorthodox.

2. Please, no lectures or analyses! Only visualisations of events that could be made to happen, using unconventional creative approaches, borrowing from the arts rather than politics.

3. You can post your ideas on your own blog and put a link to your post in the comments here

4. Or you can enter your idea as a comment which I will copy and paste as a post here

5. Illustrations and videos welcome. Post at your own blog and/or give us a link at OUT OF THE BOX.

6. Also welcome are links to existing initiatives which tackle such issues creatively. For instance:

Peace Child , a non-profit organization which uses music and the stage as a vehicle for grassroots repair and reconciliation processes. Serves Arab and Jewish teenagers, their parents and teachers.
Or this which documents some of the international initiatives helping to build peace through the arts.

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