Community: An Answer to Our Puzzling Politics
I just finished reading a fine article in Maclean’s by Scott Gilmour, entitled Donald Trump and our Crisis of Loneliness. It offers food for thought, and I recommend it.
Gilmour makes an extraordinary link, one that, at first glance, might be considered suspect: he connects the increasing isolation and loneliness experienced by many people in Western society with the sudden rise of far-right politics in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.
Gilmour writes, “According to researchers around the world, there is an epidemic of isolation. The new normal is loneliness.” He continues, “There is a very good chance you feel lonely, too. Statistics Canada calculates that approximately six million Canadians ‘live an isolated existence.’ Several surveys report that up to 45 per cent of Americans, 60 per cent of Australians, and 66 per cent of the British report feeling regularly or frequently lonely.”
All of us feel lonely from time to time; in and of itself that may not be completely negative (it may create a longing to connect, for example). But it’s those words “regularly” and “frequently” that grab my attention.
It Is All About Perspective
This is art? A conch suspended in the air, an easel draped in fabric, Christmas lights and an assortment of mannequin legs lay sprawled in a heap in the art gallery of Redeemer University College (RUC), with a host of other odds and ends.
Is it simply a purge of a storage closet from the art studio caught halfway through the cleaning? It would seem to be an easy and safe assumption that this pile of junk does not belong in the art gallery. In fact it is likely most would question why it is there.
But if you were to give into your curiosity and walk a little closer you would discover that there is a solitary black stand holding a black rectangle with a open viewing square in its middle. A viewfinder.
And if you were to walk over and look at that pile of mismatched items from that specific vantage point, suddenly you realize that it is not random pieces of junk. Rather, the pieces have been carefully selected and placed, working together to create a unified image.
RUC art students based their installation piece, “O Jesus, My Trash” on the work of renown French installation artist Bernard Pras who has created installations that are an assemblage of found objects that when viewed from the right angle transform into a clear and recognizable image.
Sometimes when we look at our lives all we see are our mistakes and bad choice which have created a mess, a life that does not seem to amount to much of anything. Yet like the artwork created by the art students, it all depends on your perspective.