Art is everywhere. It surrounds us all the time yet we rarely stop to take it in or even consider what we define as art. Until recently I was never a big fan of installation art. My only exposure has been Nuit Blanche, the all-night contemporary art event (brought to us by Scotiabank). It has turned into more of an excuse to drink in public than it is to stand in line for half an hour to see an exhibit that doesn’t usually make me think about much except “how much did this cost?”
What has changed my view was a more unexpected installation. The occupy wall street demonstration which inspired a movement in hundreds of cities around the world,including my home of Toronto, I see as a much more poignant art installation than the laser light show at city hall this year.
The goal of installation art is to transform a space. It is meant to turn your perception of that space inside out so that you look at it from a completely different angle. In my opinion, the most successful art is also that which creates a dialogue.
I understand that it is not their objective to make art but this is how I see it. The occupants have transformed public space into something very different and people are certainly talking about it. In a way they have made the space more public by building a community where people are welcome to come, talk and share ideas. It may not look pretty but It is more of a community than anything I have ever known living in this city for over 10 years. They have a food tent where anyone can eat for free, a library, a school, and a growing number of people who are willing to help you with any problem that you may have at anytime.
They have many social and political views and their voices may seem scattered at times but is that really any different from our own government? What I see at the heart of their message is simply equality and peace. It is also why I find itso hard to believe that it is such a difficult movement for some people to support. Are we so completely lost that we cannot stand behind this message? Are we so hopeless that when some people try to influence positive change by talking about subjects like greed, justice, and democracy, we just hurl insults at them or discredit them because of how they look?
I suppose that just like any other art the meaning is up to you to define. I am just sharing my perspective and why I support this movement. For anyone reading who doesn’t support it, I just hope that I can open your mind a little and influence positive change within you to look at the occupation from a different angle.
If you still call them “a bunch of no good hippies living in a park”, well then at least you’re still talking about it. For better or worse, this “global art installation” has generated more discussion than any laser show I’ve ever heard of and the best part is they didn’t need the sponsorship of a bank to create it.
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