“Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.” -Oscar Wilde
October 19, 2015: the day that could change history, or at least the course of Canadian politics. Like many Canadians, I’m feeling pretty on edge today and praying that we can shift into a new direction than we have been going in for the past few years. While I’m not entirely in agreement with Wilde’s bludgeoning sentiment, I have definitely been doing my best to engage those around me in participating in today’s election. Somewhat along this train of thought is the desire for positive engagement in general; what is it that we dream about? What are our aspirations for our country and our world? What inspires us as a people? These were but a few of the questions that were brewing in my mind as I set out to do today’s guerrilla art project.
Thinking back to the philosophy class I took in high school, I vaguely remembered the discussions we had around Socrates talking in the city square of life and politics and the newly conceptualized democracy. I wanted to capture this spirit of conversation and exchange of ideas in today’s project, so I bought a few supplies and meandered over to Transcend Coffee to apply my thinking and boost my creative juices with some caffeine.
It was in that same philosophy class that a friend and I had become fascinated with the idea of Plato’s dialogues and taken it upon ourselves to have deep, philosophical conversations in writing. These journals were actually exchanged for a number of years following school, and I still somewhat prefer the written word over spoken discussion because it allows for more time to reflect before responding. It was these journals and a few other experiences with communal writing books that inspired me to create this:
So many names have been written in history,
Sometimes we forget that life is still a mystery
Left to us to mold out of sand,
To share with each other and hold in our hands.
What do you
Want to voice to this world?
Write it in here;
Let your heart unfurl.
Add a word or a phrase or
A piece of art;
Tell life your story and
Speak from the heart.
Lastly, I wrote writing prompts on a few pages and then set it on one of the tables with a package of Sharpies for people to do whatever they wanted to do with it. I’m hoping that it will spark some interesting conversations, both in writing and between people in the cafe. So much of our experiences are digital these days that we need prompting to speak with each other much of the time, and there are many issues that require discussion. Perhaps this project can be one such prompt.