Arts in Action

We live in a fractured and fragmented society where disparities between prosperity and well-being are increasingly evident, where our planet and its natural resources are under threat and where a globalised environment alienates us from a sense of place, belonging and identity.

The arts provide an independent forum and medium through which it is possible to analyse and address issues of concern to humanity and our planet, and in doing so, to celebrate our power to act and to speak out. The arts are a final bastion of freedom.

Arts in Action is created by Depot Artspace, an open and inclusive creative community in Devonport, Auckland.



Reflections on the implications of size: Pt 1 Small is Beautiful



Why is small beautiful when everything promoted as powerful, spectacular and worthy of respect in society – motor vehicles, buildings, personal appendages, bank balances – seems to mock the statement? Super yachts, super powers and, more lately, super cities all proclaim the glory of size. Read More…




Save the Arts, Our Last Bastion of Freedom



The Depot has a sibling arts centre in Rawene, comprising gallery, café and bookstore, Erewhon Secondhand Quality Books. We travel between places as often as time allows, to pick up and drop off artwork as part of a creative exchange, and to restock the bookshelves.

Books are a big part of this community’s creative hub. The room in which I am writing looks across the road to Rawene’s Community Library housed in the old courthouse out back of which is a police lock-up that maintains the same sense of Spartan sequestration from the 1860’s when it was built.

There’s an elegant irony about the current occupancy of this building, because books, and our easy access to them are a significant aspect of freedom, something we have come to take for  granted over time; at least until it is threatened.

Then suddenly horror and opprobrium beset us, such as when we read that books are likely to be culled from specialist libraries at Auckland University. We have been assured that the books will not be burnt, but – before we uncork the bubbly – shredded instead. Of course the means of disposable are irrelevant to the deceased, and to all who protest at such wanton disrespect for the cultural products of civilisation.

And in Auckland City as the visual arts are dealt this similar savage blow, so sport arises triumphant, its centerpiece to be the staging of the Americas Cup in the city’s CBD.

Of sport, world-renowned linguist Noam Chomsky says it keeps us in readiness for war; aggressive opposition, strategic moves, following orders, even camaraderie built on overcoming adversaries are all of it associated weaponry. We’re in a society where truculence is part of the fabric of post-Obama politics and we are in desperate need of antidote.

So, as Auckland’s Supercity moves to expunge arts and culture from its annual agenda we appeal to everyone who values freedom to stand up for the arts, for the engaged, reflective, creative mind is the last bastion of freedom.

Photo credit: Save UoA Fine Arts Library from Closing Facebook page.

Author: Linda Blincko (Creative Director)




Eating Big Fish



In the giant ocean small fish swim more safely in schools. There is no desire amongst them to draw attention to their presence as personalities; it would more than likely mean danger, the possibility of being picked off by creatures larger and more predisposed to mischief.

Better to live in a less self-interested manner; in making sure that survival for everyone, not just a privileged few, is easy. Standing out is not an issue for small fish. Read More…




Liberation Arts and its place in Peace Making



Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.

Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964)

Being nuclear free is a defining component of New Zealand identity, celebrated by cities across the country who have adopted peace city status. What a fantastic characteristic to know ourselves, and for the world to know us by!

It is a bold declaration for cities to make because commitment is necessary to bear the fruits of peace. Commemoration is great, and reflection also, but action is essential. Read more…




Liberation Arts and the Creative Revolution



“The essence of a revolution is the direct intervention of the masses in the political life of the nation. It represents a radical break with the normal routine of existence, where the masses leave the key decisions affecting their lives in the hands of the powers that be. Such a break only occurs at a point when the majority draws the conclusion that the existing order is incompatible with their very existence. A revolution is a situation where the masses take their destiny into their own hands.”

Alan Woods and Jorge Martin in “Revolution in Bolivia” 2005

Revolutions are usually messy things and in a ‘civilised’ society not the sort of activity one wants to be involved in, unless it’s a sanitized misrepresentation of the term in which technology or some other corporate phenomenon is promoted as a mass movement that changes our lives.

But this has little to do with being driven by the masses; usually the masses are further manipulated into believing that they are the major beneficiaries of whatever has been sold to them. Read more…




A Small Word



 

Art – such a small word; unprepossessing, uninspiring even. If you repeat it over and over, it sounds like nothing more than stone in a rotating tyre. There is nothing in its form or sound that supplies it with the gravitas that is its just due.

Yet, like 2 words of similar form and substance, I am, it may be compared to a stellar phenomenon, a ‘white dwarf’.  White dwarfs are very small and thus very hard to detect, yet they are very dense, their mass comparable to that of the Sun, while their volume is comparable to that of the Earth.

Art – it’s packed tight with myriad forms which in themselves bear a depth and breadth of meaning and emotion that totally belie its evident size.

That’s why art matters; art, the medium by which human consciousness is free to express or embody itself, is therefore predisposed to constant discovery; its vastness is without horizon and it cannot be constrained by social constructs or ideologies which include notions such as time, dualism and the universe.

In this sense the arts are one of the defining factors of an enlightened civilisation and it is in this sense also that the arts are the antidote for the world’s spiritual poisons. They may have succumbed in some hands to commodification and conspicuous consumption, but in large they remain true to their business of teaching, inspiring and opening fettered minds. Art can change hearts and minds, which is why civilisations are celebrated for their continuing cultural legacy.

Art – because it appears small and innocuous, art endures in its subversiveness and in its capacity for liberation.

– by Linda Blincko (Creative Director)




Arts In Action: Various Peregrinations



This essay by Linda Blincko explores the various dimensions of the Arts in Action.

“At the most fundamental level creating is a natural attribute of living beings. It is continuously in motion, limitless in its permutations and infinite in its possibilities.

That is why, when Depot Artspace took over the old Borough Council works depot twenty two years ago, we began what continues to be a work in progress.” Read more…