Saturday, April 24, 2010

To Artists...

As I reflect upon this moment at hand, I am struck by the overwhelming dichotomy of the here-and-now. Never before has the fundamental practice of communication with one another been so open, so varied, and so potentially democratic in its nature and design. Never before has this wonder and practice been so critically essential and so critically endangered.

The fierce honesty of the present reality has forced me to arrive at a painful understanding: I now know that there are those who, in their apathy, in their indifference, in their personal paralysis, in their quest for profit; seek to censor, normalize, mechanize, and sterilize the artist; the environment in which the artist may flourish; and the ideas the artist seeks to express concerning our world.

I know also that this is the insidious product of a prevailing and manufactured belief that the voices of individuals can not affect the broader conversation, that it is simply too difficult and too fatiguing; that it is far too exhausting and expensive; too controversial an enterprise to risk raising one's voice in urgency.

I know this belief to be popular in its appeal, virulent in its spread, and utterly false in its foundation. I know also of others who care immensely for these current, fleeting moments; of others well aware of the "fierce urgency of now."

This is the reaffirmation of a truth: that there are still artists among us who would dare to speak to those thoughts, inspirations, and trepidations that have permeated both these and the coming days.

With every new form of illustrating, demonstrating, or communicating; there arrives new ideas and perspectives to be seen and new voices to be sounded.

With this simple truth we together have endeavored to hear new and untold stories, and also to witness the retelling of old stories that are once again emerging from the mystic chords of memory. These are the stories-essential that defined the best of our true and un-manufactured history, and with hope, will continue to define us in the true and un-manufactured future.

Let us neither confuse legibility with communication nor allow our efforts to be overcome by the most basic instincts of self-doubt and apprehension. To be drugged, to be placated, to be refused, imbued, and subdued within the present system is to be a proper citizen.

To be individual, to be creative, and to offer our own refusal to subscribe to the endlessly numbing effect of the profit-driven media… is to be human and alive. Our most powerful weapon is our own refusal.

Let us know that with each fleeting glimpse over the ever heightening walls of the here-and-now we gather new tools, new techniques, and a renewed determination to break the stony silence that too often has leaned its weight upon our shoulders.

This weight keeps in silence those that would speak and holds static those that would move. This weight forces those who once yearned to breathe free to become imprisoned by the suffocating grasp of self-doubt, uncertainty, and the heartbreaking betrayal of our most basic common link with one another.

If we are to understand and overcome this weight we must collectively rediscover that we are not of those who would allow such heavy silence to be hung upon us. We are not of those who when arriving at a formidable task quietly lay our explicitly creative tools on the ground before us.

We are the ones who, instead, infuse our long silent voices with the determination and resolve of those who neither shrink from uncertainty nor turn our ears from the familiar truths we have encountered.

In such efforts as facilitators of essential communication, we now hold THESE truths to be self-evident: that as the world continues to move about us, we shall not be immobile; that as the darkening challenges come down through the ages, we shall not be silent; and that as actions in our time will undeniably set ripples forth through all time, we shall not and must not falter nor delay in the critical expression of our deepest and most common belief and dedication to the better angels of our nature.

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