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robertogreco : affirmation   4

An Activism of Affirmation — Magazine — Walker Art Center
"Art can raise important questions about society, art can challenge our philosophical beliefs, art can divide, art can heal. When it comes to social movements, I often think of the latter. Emotions and aesthetics are so often overlooked in today’s conversation around networked movements, but many artistic actions can help us feel better and help us feel less alone in the face of injustice. Artist-activists have a key role to play in affirming the fear, frustration, and hope that inevitably accompany difficult and sustained movements. These micro forms of liberation online can be passing and fleeting, but they are not meaningless, especially if felt in aggregate.

We must be careful of narratives claiming that building voice will automatically lead to the change we advocate for. No amount of creative selfies can by themselves put a stop to homophobia, systemic racism, or the erosion of democratic rights, and in many contexts, reinforcing feelings can lead to an inflated sense of self worth or a hardened set of views against already marginalized communities. As well, in a surveillance context, the act of creative expression can be dangerous in and of itself. These tools and practices are neither neutral nor deterministic; how we as individuals and we as a broader society leverage the web’s unique affordances can help foster justice or increase suffering in the world.

But we must be equally as careful not to fall into the trap of cynically arguing that free expression around issues of human rights and dignity has no meaning without long term change. Binary thinking about what constitutes positive change misses the fact that social movements require multiple factors to succeed, and change more often happens in increments rather than in wholesale, monumental shifts. We see so much art in movements today because art, creative expression, and emotional microaffirmations are necessary components of justice. They help us create, imagine, and live a better world in tiny bits, made powerful in their accumulation and broadcast to broader and more extensive networks than was previously possible.

The Internet helps us organize and inform, but art and creative expression in particular can help transform the Internet into a space for affirmation, self-worth, and emotional healing as well. And that, too, is a powerful form of activism."
xiaomina  2015  activism  hongkong  protest  occupywallstreet  ows  affirmation  cynicism  change  socialchange  art  creativity  microaffirmations  microaggressions  socialjustice  echochambers 
july 2015 by robertogreco
A New Yorker walks into a San Francisco start up… — Medium
"Design can change the world. Are you kidding me? Are we having a debate or a therapy session?

Designers will do anything to convince themselves we are not in a service industry. Why are we so desperate to make ourselves feel better? Because we feel GUILTY and we have to reconcile what we do professionally with the world we live in. We WANT to save the world so we repeat our daily affirmations on our way to work…

“Design can change the world.”

…on our way to yoga…

“Design can change the world.”

This debate as is an attempt to assuage the guilt we already have and know we have because we’re here doing THIS instead of something truly meaningful.

We cannot congratulate ourselves.

We drink fancy coffee and eat free gummy bears and free catered dinners meanwhile the median cost of rent in SF is $4,300 dollars. Is idealism truly that desperate here that we equally applaud free wifi in Africa and a $1,500 smart oven that “smart” preheats your soylent to save you a little extra time for cross-fit and netflix?

Change the world? Design can’t even change the design industry. Let’s talk about something meaningful and actionable like why we have six dudes and one lady on stage. We don’t need a debate about design’s place in the world — we need a reckoning.

YOUR JOB WILL NOT SAVE YOU

Jon, Daniel, and Enrique are here to make you feel better about design.

I am not.

This debate isn’t going to solve your guilt problem

it’s just the problem of living

that doesn’t mean you’re evil

it just means you must reckon

like a grownup

like we all have and do

with being fucking alive

on this planet

Yes, i too have chosen this as my profession.

but I have come to peace with precisely the trade I have made — and how I compensate for that debt, and how I am on the planet, in my own way, with the people I care about.

So don’t let these boys come up here and whisper sweet nothings in your ears about saving the world with free wifi and clean water. We could go all day tit for tat about how design has changed or samed the world. Talking about design to designers is like talking to a brick wall about bricks. Designers think everything is design. All professionals see their craft amongst the world … “When you think about it — and I mean really think about it — *everything* is meat distribution engineering.” — meat distribution engineer.

Ultimately the rhetoric behind this debate resolution is elitist self-aggrandizing propaganda and voting for it won’t make you feel better about yourself. Negating won’t make you feel better either but it’ll help make your peace with your false religion."
jenniferdaniel  design  life  employment  2015  self-congratulation  worldchanging  affirmation  reckoning  elitism  self-aggrandizement  self-delusion  humanitariandesign  designimperialism 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Pray the Gay Way — The Archipelago — Medium
"But GCN was ultimately about attempting to reconcile these rifts within the community, and even the rift between queer Christians and people like Westboro. On Sunday morning, the director, Justin Lee, argued that “loving your enemies” means not just abstractly forgiving hateful protesters, but listening to the perspectives of political and personal enemies in our families and congregations. Thus it is GCN’s responsibility to reach WBC protesters, Southern Baptist leaders, Focus on the Family, Leelah Alcorn’s parents. I think this is a dangerous message to deliver to people who have been abused. But I do admire the spirit of the big tent, of committing to coming together, however uncomfortably.

Since the conference, I’ve read posts about how GCN was a revelation to many people, a first or only affirming space — it was home, family, church. For me, the weekend was an exercise in empathy, but empathy is not necessarily belonging.

Church folks have a tendency to think that “being made one in Christ” erases our differences, but in fact it means that we have an even greater responsibility to understand our diversity, so that we can truly be one body with different parts. It’s more clear to me after the conference that I don’t need to belong in “the LGBT Christian community” to stand with my siblings in God who have been hurt by the church and are trying to find their place there. My religion and sexuality are important parts of my identity, but not the only ones, or even the ones that have most strongly guided my life experiences. I’m an adult convert who was never raised to believe that God’s promises are contingent on my being “fixed.” I have plenty of white and upper middle class and cisgender privilege. I am firmly planted in progressive secular society and in mostly-welcoming church communities. I was fortunate not to feel at home at GCN — because the rest of the world is a much more welcoming place for me.

On Sunday morning, the conference tried out a more liturgical worship service. (I sang in the choir, the only choir I have ever sung with in thirty years of choral singing that had more men than women.) Sheet music was projected on giant screens so that conference-goers could sing along — but one hymn was missing a page. Fifteen hundred people just kept singing “la la la.” We didn’t know the words, but we could still sing together."
suzannefischer  2015  gcn  sexuality  christianity  community  empathy  difference  differences  inclusion  worship  privilege  diversity  religion  affirmation  listening  inlcusivity  inclusivity 
february 2015 by robertogreco
True affirmation is not a praise, but a question that lets you express how you feel. – Tokyo, Japan — A Hi Moment
"Yesterday, I had lunch with a kindergarden teacher, who is also my friend. Once in a while, we get together to compare notes about our new tactics to struggle with low self-esteem.

When we were small, adults failed to give us enough affirmations. They believed that denial could make us tough, but it only made us apathetic to our own feelings. That’s why even in our late forties, we often hesitate to accept positive feedbacks, even those coming from our close friends. We are damaged goods and hardly can change our mental habit.

Meanwhile, we can give kids a plenty of affirmations. But what does it mean to “affirm” someone? And how? This sounds awfully difficult. I’m glad I don’t have kids since I’m too grumpy and bitter to take up this task.

According to my friend, just telling children “You’re great,” “What you have done is wonderful,” or “What a great work!” may create an unnecessary burden for them. They may feel pressured to perform better again and again. They feel they can’t afford to fail. I certainly remember this: Oftentimes, I intentionally performed badly so that I thought I could own my own failures.

My kindergarden teacher friend told me that she always talks with kids like this: “You finished your drawing, huh? You used a lot of blue this time. How do you feel? Why do you feel that way you think?” And she helps them expressing and verbalizing their thoughts. After that, she just says: “Let’s remember that feeling.” Affirmation is a series of questions, opportunities to talk, like those in a cozy house party."
affirmation  via:chrisberthelsen  shukuge  praise  questions  askingquestions  questionasking  conversation  howwelearn  parenting  teaching  education  learning 
may 2014 by robertogreco

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