Sunday, December 27, 2009

Do you think art changes anything?

BILL MOYERS: Do you think art changes anything? Can it rest — help us restore the social contract?

BILL T. JONES: Well, let me put it this way, I hope it's not too esoteric but after seeing this work, my, a family member, who is — sister-in-law came to me and she said she's practicing mindfulness because it's come to her belief that we can't expect peace in the world if we don't have peace in our mind. Is that new age? Well, yeah, but she was saying that after seeing this work. You know, you can't expect peace in the world unless you have peace in the mind. Now, art does have the ability to lull. It does have the ability to suggest hope. It does have the ability to do many things. So can art — that's your question — can art make a difference? Let's work on the micro level for now. Let's work on the micro level. That's what I'm saying to myself. Get the people in the theater. Get them something that's handsome, that's well-made, that's generous and maybe they'll leave the theatre with a little bit more freedom in their bodies, not so afraid of their bodies and afraid of other bodies, but also, ah, possibilities of how I might live. I don't dare assume that's going to happen. That is my faith.

BILL MOYERS: But I have to say that your art is laced with that underlying current of tragedy and reality.

BILL T. JONES: And hopefully, as I have been saying, that I want to make work that was encouraging to people. Now, with the tragedy, we acknowledge the tragedy. But do I believe, I hold out a hope, as Lincoln did, that ultimately providence would have its way and that we would be able to see our way. And it never stops the struggle. That's what that ghost train is — chik, chik, chik, chik, in "Fondly." That's the process, the democratic process. It seems to be in the toilet right now. It's being controlled by special interest, small-mindedness, divisiveness but it's the one we have. And that is almost the way I feel about art, you know. Stay on the train. Stay on the train. You know, it doesn't- maybe there is no destination. Maybe it is only the going. But this is the one I want to ride on.

1 comment:

Jordan said...

Exactly -- faith isn't the same thing or process as calculating that if the game is rigged you want to be on the winning side.

Bonus level question -- how do narrative and faith overlap?