Will the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally change what/how/who we are forever? Will, as Steven Pinker argues, human beings simply revert to our old ways? Is any of this nature’s ‘clear warning shot’, and has ‘burst our bubble‘, or, when we emerge from this, will we party/fly/ spend/hurt/ bully with a vengeance, and return to our toxic ways for, that is our real, primal nature? And clearly, the virus isn’t the enemy – we are. This disaster is human-made. We have been complacent, arrogant, ignoring feedback from nature, advice from experts and scapegoating them, brushing off what our bodies and minds are telling us. And amid this, what can art, creativity and neurodiversity do in the midst of any of this? What new insights and visions can we offer?
The following are some of my live solo/collaborative readings, responses and efforts. They include an op-ed in the Royal Society of Arts blog, materials for an online performance-lecture for EU scientists, and my offering of a chonky Battle Cat for those struggling with social distancing, and other ‘artful‘ approaches. These contribute to emerging frameworks, visions and actions like ‘radical kindness’, ‘compassionomics’ and #caremongering, which run alongside other efforts that many of us may also/already be doing on the ground. Key in this discussion is art and creativity, because art and creativity is survival (why else did cave people make drawings, as my friend James Steventon, Director of Fermynwoods Contemporary Arts, asks) and, as Bob and Roberta Smith states, a human right. It is precisely when resources are scarce, when we are fearful, that art can and should open up platforms for dialogues, playing on its ambiguity and complexity to provoke new insights and questions. Do get in touch if I can help in any way, or if. keen to chat. Let’s use the crisis as a catalyst for change for the better.
Take care every body.
Caption for top image: Tentacular (digital image, Kai Syng Tan June 2020).