Tina and I were invited to attend and to participate in a more informal way than usual. I photographed as always for the project, which is a pleasure but for the first time had enough freedom from filming and mentoring to have conversations with other participants, a number of whom I have known for up to 4 years and have been fond of but rarely had occasion to say hello to.
I led a series of three workshops called:
OPPRESSION OR FREEDOM,
Conformity or Creativity
These were to help people understand the nature of the political/economic/ cultural world we inhabit; how it surrounds us with truths and one-way monologues. We are exposed to these from early childhood, through schooling to higher education, and then, along with debts, they pursue us into unsatisfactory jobs, insecurity and fear.
Unfortunately we are fed false news, a popular culture that underlines ‘masculine’ virtues of militarism and competition, and leave us with an empty world in which a consumerist culture is enforced as normal.
These aspects together create“false consciousness” and a one-dimensional life as we feed at troughs of greed and aggression. As Einstein pointed out, we only learn to solve problems created within a system by backing out of that system to see what and why we believe what we think is true.
Once we develop the critical ability to search for what is the “Complete Freedom of Truth” we may understand that the monologues are in fact propaganda, meant to be endlessly repeated until we say “Ah, it must be true as everyone says the same thing.”
This system can neither produce art nor beauty meaningful to our lives, precisely because the Establishment does not want us to understand that all of their culture is intended to convince us that consumerism, high educational fees, austerity and many other conditions are normal. Theirs is a culture of propaganda incapable of addressing the real problems of life.
Art is not propaganda. Art is a dialogue, which gives form to unconscious struggle and inherent rebellion. Art is not entertainment although it may entertain, and art is not decoration. Art does not and cannot rely upon the penny of the rich, because that penny is from profits made from exploitation, war and mayhem sponsored by the wealthy. They will never allow their publishes, editors, their intellectual establishment and critics to popularize content which opposes their goals.
Meaningful art is work that is, by its nature, in opposition to those who write history, because for it to be art it must express the needs of those who suffer history.
That is what the workshops were about.
I have and continue to believe that those who are interested in the arts and who wish to serve freedom and justice and equality must understand the above. Otherwise, perhaps innocently, perhaps opportunistically, they wind up serving the oppressors.
It becomes a question that must be answered:
Oppression or Freedom,
Propaganda or Art?
And when not talking about the above, I photographed:
Finally, I must express my gratitude to Marko Stankovic and Irena Ganescu for their vision, bravery, hard work and excellence in creating a seemless set of events, and for taking such care of Tina and myself.