Several years ago, a comic artist/social activist, Ted Dave in Vancouver started the now global ‘Buy Nothing Day*’ which is today , November 27 in the US and November 28 Internationally.
Often it is hard to gauge the effect that the creative area can bring to important issues and that charge is now being laid more frequently in front of individual artists and the wider arts community in regards to climate change and many other connected issues such as consumerism.
Single artists/artworks can have profound effects across our culture, it’s hard not to think of the late German Joseph Beuys for e.g., a giant in the contemporary fine art world but who was also a founding member of the first Green Party, now the most quickly growing political party in Europe.
But Art is not like other areas of human activity that we can define or measure and creators march to a myriad of ideas and expressions. Their artworks connection with their audience, at a particular time, can not be easily calculated or predicted and nor it should they be – art’s greatest asset is it’s mystery, surprise and its power to connect and inspire. The only thing we must do is ensure support for our artists’ development so our cultural responses will be strong, rich and imaginative enough to respond to today’s challenges.
PS Apple has its one day sale today in Ireland, just the day before the Europe 2009 Buy Nothing Day – phew, I bet it was relieved it hadn’t coincided with Buy Nothing Day.
* excerpt from Wikipedia: The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Vancouver in September 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called “Black Friday”, which is one of the 10 busiest shopping days in the United States. Outside North America and Israel, Buy Nothing Day is the following Saturday. Adbusters faced censorship from major television networks and CNN was the only one to air their ads. Soon, campaigns started appearing in United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.