2014: The Year of Saying No to Bullies

Getting rid of bullies in 2014.

At the start of last year MIXED BAG MAG proclaimed 2013 to be “The Year of the Artist” and from what was encountered this year in the galleries, festivals and on the street it was! So many of the incredibly talented people I know started to come into their own and express that they felt something shift for the better. At this time last year I quoted Marshall McLuhan as saying:

“The job of the artist is to upset all the senses and thus provide new vision and new powers of adjusting to and relating to new situations.”

I witnessed a lot of artists doing this throughout the year. The result was the cards of truth were laid out on the table. Bullies were exposed and cultural provocateurs got down to the healing work.

This year, with all the progress made, it’s now time to put our energies into fully shut down the bully for good whether it is the bully in your own family, your place of work or your government.

In 2013, as a global community, we witnessed the Assad regime in Syria using chemical weapons to poison even the smallest of souls; we witnessed India taking a massive step backwards and re-criminalizing homosexuality and in Canada our own government used the RCMP to push people around on their own land on (#Elsipogtog).

We also witnessed an entire city being held hostage by a Mayor whose moral compass is broken beyond repair. But what do we do? We encourage the behavior through the mechanism of the spectacle. Reality television as well as social media has turned bullying into our entertainment.

Instead we need to build societies that have mechanisms of protection for the ones who are getting the life kicked out of them.

A small but mighty action is to take the time to notice when someone is being hurt and then make the move to stand along beside them rather than have the expectation that the person or that community should fight the battle alone without outside support. We can work together on this.

MIXED BAG MAG wishes everyone an uplifting New Year!

Caine Stands Up from The Bully Project on Vimeo.

2013 THE YEAR OF THE ARTIST: McLuhan’s Musings on the Role of the Artist in Society

Mixed Media Painting by Chiko ChazunguzaMixed media painting by Chiko Chazunguza. Photo by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

Art as Survival Thrival in the Electric Digital Age

“The job of the artist is to upset all the senses and thus provide new vision and new powers of adjusting to and relating to new situations.”

These are the words of Marshall McLuhan given in a lecture at Columbia University way back in 1973 on the theme of “Art as Survival in the Electric Age.”

McLuhan understood the tremendous societal influence that the artist can have when they put action behind their vision.

As we inhabit a world that has truly become the McLuhanian Global Village the isolation that can often accompany strength of vision is being eroded away by technology that allows the artist to connect with their muse, locate their tribe and readily receive affirmation from a participatory audience.

When you mix globalization, democratization of technology and creative minds who see colour where others see gray there is incredible potential for radical shifts.

And more than any other time in history there is a breed of creators who travel past both conceptual and cultural boundaries. A new world is being designed in the minds of artists and assembled by the hands of everyone working together with a shared vision for a different kind of world.

MIXED BAG MAG proclaims 2013 to be the year of the artist. It is the year where the cultural trickster, the music maker, and the one who dances to the beat of a different drum will be the agent of change.

quote by Marshall McLuhan and youth walking for Youth Arts with art is power bannerWalk for Youth Arts, Manifesto, Toronto 2012. Photo by Leah Snyder.