Occupy History, Occupy Consciousness

In the midst of all this revolt and dissatisfaction, sometimes, still, when I raise a discussion with performing artists about  how artists can become more relevant to modern times; how we can expand our role, how we can address larger issues, that all the responses are along the lines of (gross exaggerating follows here), “But someone tried it once and it was boring / didactic / amateur / heavy-handed.”

That all may be true.

But, does anyone want to discuss specifics about how we CAN do a better job of keeping people engaged while saying new things in a new way?

If the true place of the clown is in the midst of the terror, well, then, how can we be that clown?


Okay, I will discuss it.  Artists need to find better ways to help people process the issues, the social questions, the struggles of humanity in our era. We can’t just give up and address the easier-to-process issues, like dating, sex, love. We need to always be asking ourselves, “How can i expand the boundaries of human consciousness?”

I agree with that the delivery is important. If it’s boring, childish or amateur, no one pays attention.  That’s the last thing we performing artists want–the audience to tune out.  The childish, hitting-you-over-the-head stuff like the San Francisco Mime Troupe does is just so boring and insulting, and you have to already be a hard core devotee to sit through one of their shows.

It’s important to keep searching for new ways to present new ideas.  If if we artists don’t find a better way to speak to larger issues, we risk becoming irrelevant.  We’ll be left behind as our milieu, our society to whom we are supposed to speak, to whom we channel the Muse and the Great Questions, surges ahead without us.

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One Response to Occupy History, Occupy Consciousness

  1. Crafty Green Poet October 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    This is a vital discussion for all creative people to join in. There is so much artistic endeavour these days that shies away from dealing with any issues at all (though there is also a lot of good art that does engage). As you say you need to avoid being insulting or heavy handed, but somehow all artists need to start being seen as relevant to what is happening around us.

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