The Commonplace #4
Art means many things to many people, but here in this project and in our work, we have been fascinated by the power of art to affect people’s sense of possibility about place. Art takes reality and “re-presents” it as Herbert Marcuse wrote in The Aesthetic Dimension. Art does not simply mirror or represent reality but re-presents it in a new way for consideration. Art, whether theatre or literature or visual arts or other, can contribute to, “an emancipation of sensibility, imagination, and reason and….lead to the emergence of a new consciousness and a new perception”. Art can also be fun, play, or release – distraction or inspiration and of quite importance in these times when our boundaries of place are temporarily shrinking to home, yard, and block.
- There have been so many ways that I have experienced and heard about how people are turning to art and music and creativity as inspiration and as a part of their new routines.
- This video montage from Italy of people playing music together but separately across balconies and alleyways has been widely shared and described as “a kind of triumph of spirit.”
- In China, people in quarantine shared songs of solidarity across their divided spaces and shared videos and memes of wacky dance moves, musical arrangements, creative home-bound games, and funny costumes in keeping with the nation’s “folk humor culture.”
- Closer to home, our neighbor and her first grade daughter, our god-daughter, sat on their front walk yesterday afternoon, creating a fanciful aquarium for a toy turtle. For others at home with young children, long-time homeschooling parent Melissa Wiley offers some key advice – don’t try to make it like school. One of her lists is in the image here:
- And this humorous McSweeney’s send-up by Jon Methven, may be just the tonic for desperate or perspective-needing parents.