John Paul Lederach draws up a map of the ways art contributes to peace-building in the following ways: [Summarizing]
(1) Art teaches that relationships are central to presence, and asks us to acknowledge interdependence; (2) art promotes paradoxical curiosity: diverse truths can hold at the same time; (3) art makes space for further, living creative acts… the sharing of art makes artists (a work of art is working art); and (4) art rehearses and realizes risk taking. Art, along its processes, exercises and strengthens – He says: “habits of heart and mind used to construct meaning, build relationships, and act.” Interdependence, paradoxical curiosity, creative space, risk taking.
Silence 2014 looks at the ways the art of silence in particular fulfills these functions. It’s not the only way or an ultimate way. Like poverty (something else one can make a life’s work through a vow), it can be exactly wrong, for a person or movement; it can play into acute oppression; some of us are in a place where we need to take up a vow of the Big Audio Dynamite. But there are ways that silence works too; can even work to understand and support Big Sound.
Nice visit to Kansas U; a chance to talk through some of this. For folks who have a hard time getting their heads around what silence is on practical terms: silence = readiness – that state of expectation, just before it fastens on outcome – energy in surge but the wave not broken. This silence – this vibratory quality, can be maintained in daily life, even in and through writing and speaking.
We’re also looking at not-talking and not-writing with this project (for 31 days, for a day, for five minutes – a small gesture of solidarity), but not only.