When I visited Tanzania a few summers ago, I was struck by how homogenous the art being sold was. At every market stall and adorning the walls of ‘art galleries’, you saw the same kind of wood-carved animals, paintings of tribespeople and baobab trees, and colourfully printed cloths. I recall thinking that the artists who mass-produced these paintings were clearly talented, and the realisation that they would always produce the same picture because of tourist demands saddened me somewhat. Only after we spoke about native art and the limitations that artists have in evolving was I able to put my thoughts into words. Not only does consumerism dictate the supply of art coming from a certain group, but it also causes outsiders to view said group in a particular and unchanging way. This self-perpetuating cycle means that groups such as the first nations communities of Canada remain stuck in the past, where evolving would inadvertently lead to economic disadvantage.
In Riding the Trail of Tears, the TREPP represents a synthesis between past and present: the history of the Cherokee people is combined with a futuristic virtual reality program. Although this synthesis is severely misguided in the case of the novel and ends badly, the importance of using art and new media as a way of processing the past and traumatic experiences therein remains. After our lecture on Hausman, I coincidentally stumbled upon an article in i-d magazine about Afrofuturism, a movement that had been unknown to me before that point. According to this article, Afrofuturism “is multicultural, transhistorical, and concerns itself with the past, present, and future effects of the African and black diaspora”. It is “about imagining different spaces of creative thought that don’t put your identity in a box”. Works of ‘afrofuturist’ art include “virtual-reality renderings of futuristic African metroplexes” and “replacing figures in classical works … with people of color”. What this movement highlights is the need to transcend history and allow misrepresented groups to evolve their art and culture.
I lost the original, so this terrible photo of it, which I sent to my Mum on a whim, will have to do!
Also, cheers for a fun year everybody!!
I definitely didn’t get a chance to get to know everyone the way I wish I had this year, but I just wanted to say thank you to all the friends I’ve made because of Arts One. From being overwhelmed and crying after our very first seminar to now, things have most definitely changed for the better. I’ve learned so much about myself as well as all of you that I’ll always be grateful for. I gotta say, I’m pretty proud of all of us for completing 12 essays and reading (well kind of reading) 23 books this year! Just 2 more essays (revision + portfolio) to go and our final! Without the support Arts One has given me, I wouldn’t have realized my potential as a student…because I was ready drop out since the end of September. A big thank you to Jason for supporting all of us as individuals as well as a class.
When lecture finished early on the 3rd, some of us went around enjoying that sunshine we so deserved after all these gloomy days Vancouver has given us. After taking a ton of pictures that looked like we were part of the cast of FRIENDS, I made a little video collaboration. Just as the song in the intro goes “I’ll be there for you”, I really would like to keep in touch with you all and just know I’ll be there!
Thanks for all the great memories, LETS SUDY TOGETHER SOON GUYS
In City of Glass, Paul Auster depicts a detective story that is really a mission for finding truth. The narrator we later realize is an actual character that problematizes the novel for readers. It problematizes the reliability for the narrator, as there are many blurred moments that prove the narrator to be very subjective. It plays around with the characters and lead confusion between the identity of the criminal and the detective. We see that the narrator is someone who does not know, but is searching. Coming to the conclusion later that what he is searching for isn’t to solve the crime of Peter Stillman, but to come to the realization that there will always be something missing. One could say that, the unreliability of characters and the narrative is just a way for the readers to see that not everything is trust worthy and ultimately questionable. With role of names becomes essentially important in this novel as we see that names may have less importance, as they seem to be. One’s identity cannot be dictated by his/her name. As a prime example of this being Peter Stillman’s uncertainty with his name as his name is also his fathers name. All is lost, when one realizes that identity can be constructed and disassembled quite easily with the change of just a name.