Can Taylor change the world? 

Standard
Can Taylor change the world? 

Can Taylor change the world? 

On Saturday 27th June Taylor Swift performed at Hyde Park, London as part of the British Summer Time concerts; an experience enjoyed and shared by 65,000 individuals, but what made this different from every other concert I hear you ask? How could this be better than Glastonbury? Well that is simple, I feel that Taylor might just change the world! 

During her set Taylor offered some wise words of wisdom for her intent listeners, she understood what they were all about. She recognised her own power and place that she has founded in society and the influence her, and others like her must have on individuals, in particular those of us consumed by the digital age. Taylor addressed the important issue that we follow newsfeeds not to feel excitement for our friends but to put ourselves through jealously. She reminded us all that these newsfeeds allow us to be on the outside looking in, but we will only see the highlights from those peoples lives; the good times, not the trouble and the raw emotions that goes on behind closed doors that we never see. But we forget this. Taylor reminded each and every one of those 65,000 people that they never see the highlights from their own lives, which others will feel jealousy for; they only see the here and now, the experiences they are living day to day. Taylor reminded these individuals that the moment right then was a highlight, every single person present was surrounded by like minded people who weren’t judging them for who they were or how they looked, but instead found comfort in the experience of being able to let go and for a few hours forget about everything.

Taylor spoke of the importance of friendships and the value they bring in building ourselves up and getting through each battle. Being a rock for each other, no matter what the problem might be. She reminded everyone that we could not all be more different and that is because they are all individual and they should not dwell on what they haven’t achieved or what they look like or don’t look like, because being unique is what defines us all. 

So why is this so important? 

I attended the concert on Saturday and I watched how everyone around me took something from Taylor’s speech, they recognised something in themselves, a vulnerability perhaps, which for a brief moment was visible to everyone around them. Yet this didn’t cause everyone to burst in to tears but instead unite them, in respecting one another, realise that anything is possible but you have to live for the now. You can’t predict the future and if you don’t live for today, well you can’t always see what is in front of you, you can’t get out of the woods. 

I saw hundreds of young girls and women around me dressing as Taylor does and taking mental notes of every outfit she wore in the hope of recreating it later. But what Taylor did which which others often seem scared to do is remind these girls they aren’t her. They are free to do as they feel right and don’t have to feel pressured to look like her in size, shape, dress, lifestyle… But instead they can be individuals and they will flourish. She empowered those young people not to stand on the outside of other people’s lives envying the newsfeeds of their lives and instead embrace the reality of theirs and their closest friends; she reminded them to take a minute to help and empower others not put them down or even themselves. 

In doing this Taylor told each and everyone of those 65,000 people to build their own self esteem and not be taken in by peer pressure or the pressure of society but instead embrace being themselves. She made it clear that she was not perfect and even she has insecurities. This is how Taylor might just change the world, she reminded us all it is ok to different and uncertain. She reminded us that bring conscious of the things we want to change about ourselves will not make life better or easier, only harder. She took some of that pressure off the people there on Saturday and this is something that others who clearly are suffering as a result of industry, life and spotlight pressures seem to fail to do. They come across as perfect 24/7 and the minute anything is remotely out of place the press latch on to it. So far I have not seen one page of press about this event mention Taylor’s empowering speech, nor hoe she will change the future of many young people, perhaps even save someone’s life. Instead they have all covered what she wore and listed the celebs she was seen with. But not about the important message of friendship, self- belief and living for the hear and now. 

A friend has been having a tough time lately, leaving a lot of us worried; yet I can genuinely say that the Sunday after Taylor’s speech (which she couldn’t stop talking about) was the first time I have seen her properly laugh and smile for 12 months. She was starting to take control of her own life and plan her own path in life. Taylor took some of the weight off her shoulders on Saturday and I bet she did the same for many others.

 So the question is how much will Taylor change the world as we see it now? 

Advertisements

Grand Unveiling

Standard

The family had partied the night away in their retro disco, enjoying hours of laughter and fun and today was the day of the grand unveiling!

As they speculated what this could all mean they watched Sven and his team flap about the arrangement of the jungle outside their home, arranging concrete blocks and sweeping the same patch of floor at least four times an hour. The day soon came and went as they all dozed, recovering from the night before, but the time was finally upon them. It was time to be unveiled!.

A cacophony noise slowly build up around them and they all twitched with excitement and fear. Then it all went silent and they could hear Sven in the distance talking about the event, explaining why they where all here and how he wanted them to enjoy the hundreds of new discoveries he had made.

And then the wardrobe doors to Narnia flew open, and we were engulfed with “ooooo’sss” and “aahhhhh’s”, before they were over run by children and adults alike desperate to play with them and get to know them.

They couldn’t of been happier, they were finally being appreciated, not seen as different and wrong but valued and envied for their uniqueness. They spent their nights counting down, waiting for the next day to come around so they could do it all again.

And they all lived happily ever after.

– The End 

IMG_0195 IMG_0197 IMG_0201 IMG_0202 IMG_0204 IMG_0208

IMG_0209IMG_0207

DISCO!

Standard

Over the next few days this new mismatched family got to know one another, they laughed, for some this was the first time in ages, for others it was just nice to know they could be themselves in the company of like minded buffoons.

In this time they watched Sven and his team come and go, muttering about Narnia this, Narnia that and how people would go simply mad for what they had discovered. But whilst Sven and the gang thought the gigantosaurus’ where just chilling minding their own business, they were actually squirrelling away tools and scraps of card all in preparation for “pimping” out their new home.

It was late the night before the “grand unveiling” as Sven had called it and the gaggle set to work.

“NO, No, don’t cut it like that!” Snapped Crunch, “let me do it, look my teeth can cut that much better.”

“Fine, you do that then, I will help Charles with the electrics for retro box.” Agreed Fredrick.

“I’ve got the electrics sorted!” Exclaimed Charles.

“And I’ve finishes snapping the card.” Crunch said smugly.

” Now alls we need is Christine to pull it all together!” purred Colin.

Then before their eyes Christine had used her many legs to pull the contraption together. And it was ready! They had built an old school disco light, that used the retro record box to spin. The results where simply hypnotic.

IMG_0216

I can’t see Sven…

Standard

By the time the patchwork, giantosaurus, entourage finally managed to make their way back up the rabbit hole network they had gotten to know one another quite well and secretly were quite enjoying the like minded, quirky company. This was probably because they knew that at the surface they could go their separate ways. At least that is what they thought.

As they emerged it quickly became apparent that they were no longer where they started. It was starting to look like Sven may have planned this all along. No longer where they confronted by the leafy green forest they had been transported to, but instead a large white box where the floor was constructed from Fabric and a strange retro box on the floor.

IMG_0051

“Sven, O, Sven!” Christine called, at least so she thought, she wasn’t to know that Sven couldn’t understand a word she was saying.

“Christine, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I don’t think he is coming back. I think this is where we are all supposed to be.” exclaimed Fredrick.

What makes you say that Fred?” questioned the group all at once.

“The doors over there, they say N-A-R-N-I-A, I think this is where we were coming all along.” whispered Fredrick.

The gaggle of creations just stood and stared for a moment, before turning to one another with smiles on their faces. They knew exactly what they wanted to do here…

Whatever Happened to the Gigantosaurus’?

Standard

If you are thinking you never got to see where Colin Cat, Christine Caterpillar and friends eventually ended up on their journeys some serious time ago then you would be right… I could bore you with the truth of how I lost faith in my talent and no longer wished to share it with the world.. but I would much rather feed you some elaborate story of how they all fell down some rabbit hole, lost in the abyss and one day reappeared in some twisted dream called Narnia.

So here we go…

Colin and co. all met as they tumbled down a network of rabbit holes and came to an all mighty thump at the bottom. Here they sat for some time wondering how they would get out? Where they would go next? and would they possibly all have to travel there together?!
So far no one had said boo to a flamingo, but of course that wasn’t going to last, as the new addition Charles the chameleon came clumsily amongst them.

“He..he…he..llooo”,  he stuttered, “I…i…i’m so tewwibly lost, do you know where we are?”

” We obviously do not belong here either you pomme de terre, and if you don’t mind you are standing on my tail!” muttered Colin arrogantly.

” well for one reason or another we are all here.. I was on a ship not too long ago, being very well cared for by Sven, when he let me free here in to my home, then you all came tumbling down to join me. I mean look at you all! What use is a saber tooth without giant teeth!” exclaimed Christine.

Before Colin even had a chance to consider a retaliation, Christine was off again.

“Now that you have all come and ruined my home I suggest we all look to get out of here, working as a team, as the sooner we get out, the sooner we can confront Sven about this terrible living situation!”

They all grumbled in agreement and started to formulate a plan of action, no one was going to argue with a 12ft caterpillar after all!!

Craft? Art? or Craftivism? A matter of Opinion

Standard

It is hard to distinguish where the boundaries lie between craft and art practices as the determination of this depends on the perception of different constituencies within society and how they respond to cultural materiality and visual elements. The craft and art divide changes its boundaries based on its socio-political surroundings of that place/ time. Drawing back on the Industrial Revolution which saw this transfer of craft from private to public, is something which only occurred due to the development within a society of machinery and an increased need for produce which could be traded. Just because men where predominantly in charge within these factories does not mean however that they gained more respect for the chores faced day to day by women. There was a distinct difference in doing crafts because you had a love for them and because you had to in order to survive. However if in contrast we consider the AIDS quilt and its production it is riddled with key moments of socio- political happenings. The recession saw gay rights and the AIDS epidemic being pushed to one side as society was divided on how to approach these subjects. Yet through the effective use of activism in a street march the idea of the AIDS Memorial quilt was formed and it now stands as the biggest piece of craftivist work to date. This tactile piece of community work raised awareness of the AIDS crisis on a global level and appears to have effectively led to President Reagan stepping forward discussing the growing issue. However the formation of this piece from fabric, using a traditional method of quilting automatically defines it as a piece of craft, but we also have to consider the rich political, historical and social periods the piece continues to adapt in.

Craftivism is a term which only came around at the start of the 21st Century, which was after the beginning of the AIDS quilt. However just because the term was yet to be coined, does not mean the piece cannot be referred to retroactively as craftivism, the quilt has had a major role in allowing craft to be viewed as art in itself and thus bridging the gap between art and craft. With the piece steeped deep in politics and awareness within society the piece could be seen as being of historical context and belonging more so in a museum than a gallery or craft fair. The piece is formed wholly of the traditional American folk art of quilting which is a craft, however the piece draws so many morbid thoughts of how many dead people it represents it could draw similarity to the mass graves of the Holocaust, which is viewed as a horrific happening of historical context. The quilt could also be viewed as a political piece, encouraged by the death and words of a politician, the piece and its number of contributors to convey one message, draws similarities to a union. By all coming together as one voice, they were finally heard when it boiled down to getting noticed through this impressive action. To draw similarities between the quilt and the roles of a union and how this could relate to the politics of the world at its time of production, we must consider the work of Thatcher. Though her political changes occurred in the UK they still impacted on the US as the two countries worked closely together and carried out trade. In the UK Thatcher reduced the power of the unions so significantly that for the most part they simply ceased to exist. In doing this she left people trying to protect themselves and their families as one lone voice. The nature of the scale of how many activists took part in the quilt in order to lobby the government and enforce change quite clearly draws similarities to the models of a union, a group of like-minded people coming together to be one loud voice. So taking all of these aspects of the quilt into consideration, where exactly does the quilt lie in the intersection of art and craft?

The reality of the situation is that the distinction of where the boundaries between art and craft lie cannot be fixed as a predetermined definition. There are too many factors which can come into play. For example in its home town of San Francisco the quilt may be viewed as a piece of activist history as the area is and was so deeply rooted in its awareness of why the quilt was produced in the first place. Therefore if you were to ask a member of this city where they felt the quilt lay on this spectrum they might say nowhere at all, as it could just be viewed a symbolic representation of the deaths of thousands of people. Yet other people, part of the activist movement or not could argue either way for the piece to be classed as craft or art. Those more aware of American Folk art history and who enjoy the visual ad tactile nature of the quilt might be more inclined to refer to it as a piece of craft. As the craft and values of quilting served as a method of bringing people and communities together allowing them to discuss different issues, drawing them together over a calm craft which had pleasing results. Yet another member of the same community might be inclined to view the piece as art rather than craft. This could be because although the piece has a tactile nature, it is of such a vast scale it removes the audience from itself. It essentially forms a gallery of its own as each piece is unique and it can’t physically be viewed all at once. This essentially removes the tactile nature of the piece as the audience can’t interact with it on a personal level as its scale could become overwhelming. This would therefore enable them to view the quilt as a gallery of art.

These differences in judgment and preferences for materiality or visual qualities will vary from person to person based on their social upbringing and their awareness of political happenings as to where they view the piece would belong.

 The realism that that piece cannot be defined into one category actually draws on the triumph of The AIDS Memorial quilt. It was designed by Jones to raise awareness and get communities talking. The fact that it could easily find itself placed not only in both end of the spectrum of craft and art but also find itself considered a historical monument and a pivotal political representation emphasises the success of the quilt.

The AIDS quilt’s continuing work

Standard

The quilt continues to be added to today as AIDS is still an issue all around the world and was used as recently as July 2012 when the International AIDS conference was in America for the first time since 1990. President Barrack Obama has increased funding into scientific research in an attempt to combat and eradicate AIDS in America with the goal of treating 6 million people by the end of 2013. (Whitehouse, 2012) The quilt was on display at the White House on this very important day to represent those who had lost their lives and with the aim of minimising as many more facing the same fate through better investments in resources. However despite this effort to ensure an AIDS free America in the near future many remain skeptical as to Obama’s commitment after he failed to attend the International conference despite pressure from activist groups. (The Washington Times, 2012) Activist groups are still as prominent in America now as they were prior to the AIDS outbreak, as they not only fight for the end of AIDS but they continue in an ongoing battle for equality and acceptance. LGBT couples face a constant battle regarding the allowance and acceptance of gay marriages across America as well as same sex parenting. In December 2012 there was a turning point when the U.S Supreme Court agreed to hear two gay marriage cases (The Denver Post, 2012), whilst this may not seem like a big deal the Denver post points out the overwhelming rejection of gay marriage in the U.S.

Nine states and the District of Columbia currently allow same-sex marriage, which leaves 41 states that don’t. Of those that do not, 30 have gay marriage bans written into their constitutions, as Colorado does.

This hearing in the Supreme Court makes it clear that LGBT issues are slow to be accepted in the U.S. The Aids Quilt provides a stark reminder not only of the extent of the gay community but to what lengths they are willing to go to through both craftivism and activism to achieve equality.