Tonight we had a guest lecture from John Quigley, who is an activist, artist and organizer. He has taken over 100 aerial photographs of people on the ground working for environmental causes. We had the pleasure of participating in an experiment of his, and being photographed by him. We were asked to create an image for the organization 350.org, specifically using the number '350.' This was to be done in 3 ways: with objects, with a sign and with our bodies as a group. I found personally that using my body to be part of the message was the most powerful, and I believe this was because it meant I couldn't just be a by-stander. I was actually physically involved. The next most powerful was the arranging of objects, because we were thrown into a physical task. And the least effective for me was the sign. I wondered what it would have been like to be asked to bring an object, perhaps for a larger cause, to be incorporated into the photo.
To further elaborate on the process of using my body as part of the message, I was also participating without having to make too many choices. By being present and using my body it was easy to be involved. In arranging the objects there was an obligation to interact, that could be good, depending on the intended outcome. If I was coming to support a cause in a big group I would rather use my body than be thrown into the paradox of choice with others. I did enjoy the problem solving that went along with the arrangment of objects, but it was also a little caotic.
Hearing John speak about his work was really inspiring. He had a lot of really good tips and advise to offer, such as:
- recognizing the political structure your working within, and possiblly reframing your way of working with an organization - offfer project as means of support
- Recognizing a real "no" and a false "no"
- Working from a Code of Ethics
- Using art as a tool of coalition building - sometimes getting 2 parties to talk that otherwise would of never communicated before the possiblity of being apart of something bigger.