I‘ve talked before, on this blog and to people in general, about how I feel pieces of sub-culture like appearance and behavior affect how groups perceive, take in and react to the arts. Sometimes it’s with positive and sometimes with negative results.
It’s also no new topic to talk about the arts’ relationship with natural disasters and extreme times of need. Whether visual pieces or performed mediums, art functions as a lasting, universal ideal tool to help during the recovery and healing process of devastating events. No one questions whoever has wanted to offer their pop-star or non-profit resources to propel relief and aid because anyone can be caught in an emergency.
With relatively easily recalled memories of many disasters over the last 5-7 years, the idea of those in “power” in the arts using their global reach to speak out and or create support efforts has almost become instantaneous. Twitter active pop-singers were hash-taggng “pray for Japan” in spades and expressing their condolences in the quickest way they knew, which would reach the most number of people in that time.
Combinations of tweets flying at the speed of light, lighting fast typing and domino effect phone calls had Lady Gaga in particular, alerting all her Twitter and respective other social media followers, about a succinct yet poignant bracelet she had rapidly designed and available for purchase -with 100% proceeds going to aid funds. While a bracelet has nothing to do with music, the truth I see in these actions, as well as similar gestures for past events, could perhaps be something we remember the next time sub-culture and the arts comes up in conversation. Things to keep in mind:
Japan is in a still occurring triple crisis.
Survivors need support from all sides -physical, mental and emotional as much and as fast as possible.
Lady Gaga’s fashion choices don’t appeal to everyone and are often scoffed at or looked down upon.
Yet, if in having a part of her artist existence focused on appearance and other non-music related things Gaga can create and sustain an entire other outlet for obtaining the support Japan needs, then doesn’t that give her somewhat of an advantage over the non-image focused musicians, in as far as having access to the ‘fashion segment’ is concerned? At the end of the day, the more people that can be urged and convinced to help with this particular aid the better and no one would dare question that end result, right? It wouldn’t matter if the bracelet were startling, flashy, or seemingly juvenile. Anything short of downright offensive leaves the purpose applaudable and appreciated. When circumstances come down to the basics of life vs. death or joy vs. sorrow, view on sub-culture changes from opinionated to irrefutably practical. The fact that other artists don’t design a shirt for donating purchases overseas doesn’t take away from the things they instead do; just adds to it and the potential like/dislike factor is irrelevant. So maybe going forward, arts lovers and performers can learn to continuously look at differences in style/business model/history for just what they are: differences; rather than scaling where similarity or lack thereof puts you on the importance and quality ladder. If perceptions could hold steady like that more often and over a long period outside times of crisis, who knows what that could do to alter the ingrained expectations of style, rapport, respect and influence for the arts industry as a whole….
…on a related note, as per promotion through ArtsJournal, DoSomething.org is spreading the small but meaningful word about Japan and origami cranes. In a mass scale effort to send lots of uniquely made art, caring thoughts and cultural enthusiasm to Japan, the idea is to upload 100,000 photos of individuals’ cranes to the dosomething.org’s facebook page.
After a few pieces of wrongly folded paper and a paper cut, I managed to fold my first one ever. Not a master crane, for sure, but it felt really good making it to the end and I’m just glad to know my single photo will contribute to one big gesture of comfort and pay homage to one of Japan’s oldest artistic crafts, regardless of how imperfect it might be. 😉