Today and yesterday I’ve received some of the most gracious, inspiring and hopeful notes from fellow artists. We are all inspired to focus on creativity, to focus on flux, to stay open, to keep breathing, to cry if you need to. We’ve reminded each other that it’s not about running away, but to sitting deeply in the situation we are confronted with and to our work on change through and with our art. The root problem in our society is the lack of communication, the inability to gracefully admit the issues and ailments, and the absolute rigid, dual and suppressed thinking that frankly is killing people’s hearts and minds. Thankfully art, whether music, visual, dance or otherwise, is here to help us stay elastic in our thinking, to teach us tolerance with our differences, and to provide pinholes to new ways of thinking.
Whether artist or not, it’s urgent we focus on what burns in our bellies – whether that’s job creation, racism, sexism, economic inequality, education, the environment – you name it. It’s time to take up that flag and do everything in your power to create a change. If you can’t figure out what that could be, or you simply can’t see the pain where it hurts, let me recommend a few short films that could inspire you to speak out:
(In case you are not ready to admit there are some problems, start with this one)
(Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies – A documentary feature film that explores the human tendency to be dishonest. Inspired by the work of behavioral economist, Dan Ariely, the film interweaves personal stories, expert opinions, behavioral experiments, and archival footage to reveal how and why people lie.
13th – Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.
Central Park Five – Filmmakers Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon examine a 1989 case of five teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman. After they had spent from six to 13 years in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.
WOMEN & GENDER ISSUES
Audrie & Daisy – A documentary film about three cases of rape. The documentary includes the stories of two American high school students, Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman. At the time of the sexual assaults, Pott was 15 and Coleman was 14 years old. After the assaults, the victims and their families were subjected to abuse and cyberbullying. The documentary follows their outcomes through time, social media, court documents and police investigations.
The Hunting Grounds – Many college students who have been raped on campus face retaliation and harassment as they fight for justice.
Miss Representation – Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Condoleeza Rice, Gloria Steinem and others discuss sexism in American society and the media.
The Mask You Live In – Boys and young men struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.
The Human Experiment – Filmmakers Don Hardy Jr. and Dana Nachman follow the high-stakes battle to protect people’s health from untested chemicals in consumer products.
BROKEN SYSTEMS ECONOMIC AND OTHERWISE
Poverty, Inc – Very insightful and troubling, a must see before donating to any major celebrity-endorsed charity. Filmmaker Michael Matheson Miller investigates the complex global industry of foreign aid.
Requiem for an American Dream – If you can’t read (all) of Noam’s books, this gives some nice overviews of his general theories that have driven much of his research over the years. Using interviews filmed over four years, Noam Chomsky discusses the deliberate concentration of wealth and power found in the hands of a select few.
Manufacturing Consent – Another movie based on a book by Noam Chomsky and his ideas about corporate media, from 1992 by Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick.
The Century of the Self – Terrific overview of how we evolved to be voracious consumers. This is a 2002 British television documentary series by filmmaker Adam Curtis. It focuses on the work of psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud, and PR consultant Edward Bernays.
The Corporation – Among the 40 interview subjects are CEOs and top-level executives from a range of industries: oil, pharmaceutical, computer, tire, manufacturing, public relations, branding, advertising and undercover marketing; in addition, a Nobel-prize winning economist, the first management guru, a corporate spy, and a range of academics, critics, historians and thinkers are also interviewed.
Zeitgeist the Movie (2007) – A filmmaker looks at religion, the 9/11 terror attacks, and possible plans by international leaders to create a single world bank. Only for the conspiracy theorists – delightful connections drawn across industry and thinking systems though.
What the Bleep Do We Know: A bubble gum look at quantum physics, though a reminder that we really don’t know that much, even though we are kind of pompous as humans that way. “Amanda, a divorced photographer, has a fantastic experience when life begins to unravel around her, revealing the cellular, molecular and quantum worlds that lie beneath everything.”
Much of my artwork will continue to touch on women’s issues, though they will be more loud, and I will stop using symbols to code what I really feel.
Wishing you grace, love and patience in a very troubling turn of events, and realizations. While the rock has always been there, it’s now turned over and we get to see all of what’s going on inside. Get to work – if you believe in thought forms, what you think will change the world. How are you thinking now?
Tagged: Contemporary Art, Creativity, Documentary Film, Politics, social change