FACTS have been voted out. Many people see no use for them. TRUTH has been trampled on and torn apart. Its face is bloodied & unrecognizable.
I have to write this before I can write anything else.
The thing that interests me about constellations is their place between the real – the actual stars visible in the sky – and the imaginary – the stories that people have built around them throughout the centuries, and how both of those things change over time. With new telescopes we discover new stars, and as light pollution seeps out from the cities and takes over an ever-increasing area of the night sky, some constellations vanish, some disintegrate. The names and stories of the constellations change from culture to culture, and from imagination to imagination. Although, “officially,” the names of the constellations (the stories that fill our sky), and of the stars and the planets and the craters on the planets & other astronomical objects are regulated by the eurocentric International Astronomical Union, defining the filter through which our imaginations view outer space (the final frontier, where anything should be possible). Which is not totally unrelated, but I think would be better left as another rant for another day
right now I feel like these things are pretty trivial, compared to the more immediate, dangerous tension between the real and the imaginary – the way we are encouraged to define ourselves based on our fears, tricked into thinking there’s an easy route to a better life guided by self-interest, disconnection. What can we do? What can we do? What can we do? Everything is terrible. Everything is terrible. Yes, for the last few weeks, since Trump was elected president and the country was revealed to itself not as a place of hope for progress but as a place where fear and hate win, I’ve been feeling depressed, angry, frightened, etc, like you have. And even now I feel like I should apologize for talking about politics: I was taught not to mix politics and art, not that all art is political. I was taught that art is useless – and this was supposed to be a good thing. That the artist has no place in society, too frail & fucked up to function. These are stories we tell our young artists in order to hobble them before they have a chance to challenge us. Or we give them the option of being “creatives” – productive members of capitalist society making innocuous objects for our consumption/distraction. I am working on reprogramming my brain. Please be patient with me. There’s a lot of really stupid stuff packed in there.
What can we do what can we do what can we do? Here are some ideas:
- Make thoughtful work, hold onto subtlety in a world that wants to beat subtlety out of us
- Get off of Facebook! Delete your Facebook account! They are using you like a lab rat & a cash cow!
- Stay weird, weird, weird
- Read & learn, research & share your findings
- If you can give money, give money; if you can give time, give time
- Please be patient with your friends
- I think it’s important for artists to work toward change through their art, but we can also do more direct political work
Maybe you know all these things already. It has taken me a while to write this and a while to post it. I have made myself so quiet! Do you remember when you were seven years old visiting your great aunt and she said, “let’s play a game! It’s called, ‘So Quiet You Can Hear a Pin Drop’.” And you had to be very quiet, so quiet that even a mouse couldn’t hear you, and you had to wait for no cars to be passing by and no planes, and then your great aunt gestured for you to lean in close so you put your ear right up to the edge of the kitchen counter and she got out a thin needle from her sewing box and held it up over the counter and let go
I have been holding my breath ever since