“As an artist, we can not influence or inspire social change, but we create it.”Erik Ehn (the playwright, director, theatre activist)
“What is justice?”
Do you ever search the specific definition of it? For me, I did not ever try to find it.
Today, while I am writing this blog, the question above bothers me. I remember one of the panelists from an American University Colloquium with the theme “Creativity & Innovation for Social Healing & Restorative Justice” on November 2nd that I followed before, asked about it. He did not give any answer at that time, but let the audience reflected his question.
Then, I try to look at some definitions from google. Cambridge Dictionary said it is the condition of being morally correct or fair (Fairness) and the system of laws by which people are judged and punished (Law). Another one, Merriam Webster said it is the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.
Even I just read these definitions, but I still can not imagine ‘justice’ is. It looks perfect from those definitions, but it causes me to think hard when I try to reflect it to reality. Justice is not as strong as the definitions.
In the real-life, we need to put some hard efforts to achieve it. Maybe, because my background is a grass-root activist, I am more familiar to see and face some of ‘Injustice’ than justice. But, it does not mean there is an excuse to accept injustice in this our short life as a human.
Hence, it proves if our world today is sick or even sicker than before. Same like a human, it needs to be healed and restored; this social and environment.
I do agree if ‘social change’ becomes one of the keys to improve our quality of life today. It will not only guide us to a better life but also the value and perspective.
Sitting at the colloquium, hearing and learning from some of the artist panelists, made me realize if even an artist has a big role to create social justice in this society. We do not have to be a politician or businessman first to change the world, but through the strongest power as an artist that we have; creativity and innovation, we can do something!
This perception has cheered me up! Making a film is also an artistic work.
“Through dance, I do healing…when I am dancing, I can touch other body and they touch my body. We are sharing the sweat together…”Christopher K. Morgan (Executive Artistic Director of Dance Place)
I felt like his statement addressed me personally. As one of my big reasons why I do filming is I want to make the voiceless people and ignored issues are voiced out aloud; indigenous people and deforestation. I dream to create a big public awareness and action to improve the social change and environment through the film.
For making film I have to go to the village, live in with the community, building a relationship with the human and their environment, feeling the condition of humans and nature, till sometimes involve in their personal problems. Community, nature and I are sharing each other. And those are the social healing treatment which I did not realize. Even before I make it be a film/video that will also share to the public for the same purpose, the social healing already started from post-production. How big the meaning is!
“Let them choose….”Richard Stack (SOC/Emeritus)
I also learned a lot from the documentary film made by Maggie Stogner and Richard Stack, In the Executioner`s Shadow: A film about Justice, Injustice and the Death Penalty. Like the quote of what Richard said above, they let the audience choose what kind of conclusion that they got from the film whether they agree with the death penalty or not.
They created a space to be critiqued and discussed which naturally would be awaked the awareness and knowledge about this social and justice issue. And it could be the way to restore justice by starting openly talk through the film about the issue and perspective not only from one or some people but also the public audience for a wider target in society.
For me, personally, on that day I found other reasons again to keep being creative and innovative for creating my works in the future.
Create, create, create. Do not stop!