The Artdog Quotes of the Week
How does representation play a role in social transformation? Last week’s Monday post explored stereotypes and the power of portrayal. Now let’s tackle social transformation.
Make no mistake. Society is always transforming. Social change happens, whether we want it to or not. And individually we can’t control how it changes.
One person’s efforts rarely provide a huge pivot point, unless that one person speaks for thousands, and society was ripe for the change. Case in point: #MeToo. That one was way overdue!
What kind of future do you want?
We can’t control the changes. But we can affect how things change.
What kind of future do you want? As creative people, we make art that comments on how things are and how things could be. If you think a more broadly representative world would be more fair and interesting, reflect that in your art.
Subverting the stereotypes
If you think harmful stereotypes should be questioned, treat them like the clichés they are. Turn them inside out. Subvert them. Transform them into something fresh and unexpected and better.
That’s just basic sound practice–but you’re also making a statement by the way you make the transformation.
Please note that this approach requires awareness. Creative people fall into tropes, clichés and stereotyped thinking when they don’t recognize them for what they are. We all have unconscious biases. But we owe it to ourselves, our work, and our fans to learn about them and challenge them.
Representation and social transformation
Wider and more diverse representation is essential to the social transformations that I would love to see come about. I have my own ways to portray that, particularly in the stories I write.
There are as many possible approaches as there are artists. Some, such as those in the Solarpunk movement, seek to portray the benefits of positive future change.
Writers, artists, filmmakers and others with a more dystopic bent often dramatize how badly things can go wrong. Perhaps as a cautionary tale. Or because they’re pessimists. Or because conflict is inherent in a dystopic plotline.
Everyone takes an individual path, because each of us has our own unique voice. We must let the world hear our visions, presented from our own perspectives, in our own voices.
What values do you seek to embrace? What negative outcomes do you hope we avoid?