What does it mean, Black Lives Matter? That's what someone I've known for the past eleven years asked me. Another person, who has called me a friend, posts on Facebook that BLM is a racist organization, not unlike or as bad as the KKK he said. The Attorney General of the United States says that "the lockdown" is a civil travesty only 2nd to slavery in this country. These are troubling questions and comments, to say the least.
I cannot even recall a day of the past calendar year that I could not turn on a news program or read in the Economist or Atlantic Monthly, or the NYT, or whatever, and not expect to hear about some new or ongoing protest. Largely they all seem to have a common thread. They commonly are protests by people versus the governments they have an expectation of. They are expecting the civil services of safety, security, and economic stability.
I have nightmares that stem from thoughts of all the protests, the fears I have about the possible outcomes, and there is no one to take these thoughts to. They're stuck inside.
So, lately, what I do when I feel something as troubling or exciting is have conversations with family, friends, and associates who feel the same concerns (though they may or may not feel the same about the cause, effect, or potential solutions). Almost invariably some thought on how I could present the feeling in a form that might resonate with others. If I were a cartoonist I'd make witty or sad cartoons. But, what I am is a feeling individual and am in search of a medium to express these feelings bottled up inside.
Forms and video are the first thoughts that come to my mind whenever I wish to create a representation for what I am thinking or feeling is worth the time an energy. While I may be a budding artist activist, I'm really just wanting to connect with others that feel what I feel...give us both something to focus upon, something that embodies the feeling that resoundingly affects us, even if differently.
I'm thinking of the many ways I can represent myself. A sculpture. I see a head that is a great representation of me...recognizable in proportion and contours. But I want it to be dynamic, to be expressive. The stoic face that everyone sees is not the person that lives behind that face. I'm sure we all can say that to some degree. The face everyone sees is not fully expressing what we feel or think. So my sculpture is a chance for me to expose that face, or those faces. Having seen some work by Tony Oursler, and other artist using screens and projection video, that would be the approach of my choice.
But, it cannot stop there...
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Rob J Phillips