Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The artist's role as an agent for social change

I have had the opportunity to talk to a number of different groups lately about the HighWaterLine project. Other than sharing stories about the experience and the people I met and talking about all of the logistics, I like to engage in a discussion of the role of artist as agent for social change. Here are some roles that I thought the artist should/could take on:

commentator - not merely to editorialize on contemporary issues, but to translate. it is important to go beyond the act of regurgitation and create a work that incites questions and action.

collaborator - work with science & scientists to create works that are approachable, making complex knowledge accessible, and to take this into under-served communities.

witness - to observe the communities and their reactions

storyteller - taking information to the streets and then returning stories and that which was witnessed

catalyst - for change in thought and attitude, instigator for discussion

innovator - restructuring the message and dialogue through artistic acts

community builder - by providing an object or act around which people can rally.

I will see if I can't flesh these out more in the coming weeks.