Moving People to Action
Worldwide problems feel large and untouchable in this era. Solutions to the big ones - global warming, mental illness, and systemic racism - seem entirely out of reach. Why even try?
Socially conscious artist Olafur Eliasson, in an article published on the World Economic Forum's website, posits an antidote to complacency. "Art can mitigate the numbing effect created by the glut of information we are faced with today, and motivate people to turn thinking into doing." Artists have a responsibility, he writes, to make people feel something. When people feel something, they are said to be "moved." Movement is the antithesis of inaction.
Olafur also discusses the come-together quality of arts and culture. "The important thing is not that we agree about the experience that we share, but that we consider it worthwhile sharing an experience at all." He sees a community created by this shared experience, in which "disagreement is accepted and embraced as an essential ingredient." Politicians, activists, and leaders take note: dialogue makes change.