Check out this article at Elephant Journal called
by Ari Pliskin who is a meditator and all around cool guy affliated with Zen Peacemakers and Socially Engaged Buddhist activist, in Western, MA.
He wonders about whether art especially online digital work, can create, “an experience that overwhelms the sense of business as usual, knocks the viewer out of their comfort zone and puts them into direct contact with something in front of them. Or as we say at Zen Peacemakers, puts them in a state of Not-Knowing…”
It’s about letting the shock of homelessness, poverty, degradation of our planet excetera, act like a “visual koan” like in the Zen tradition. I wrote this response to the article:
Ari, is a kind of shock experience-like a visual koan, the only positive use of the arts? I think your article is great but I feel that art (I’m an artist) and I”m biased-can be uplifting. Not in a superficial feel good way, but in such a way that it causes or precipitates a “spiritual” experience or even awakening. And yeah even feel good. Right now Ari, so many– even in the west feel really bad, we are in a state of overwhelm leading to shock and withdrawal from problems….you know? I see that in how people are actually reacting to life these days.
It’ almost like you and I are climbing the same mountain but by different paths, perhaps karma, society, gender, temperament causing us to choose our respective paths. Things that come to mind are the Enso? paintings of circles, yantras (which I create,) and mandalas etc. I actually see that black, grey and white ink painting of the plums on vast white space…
Anyway what I’m really pointing to is not about art, it is: shock or a slap is one way and may work for one personality, some may come out of their shell of withdrawal and fear by a more nurturing, supportive approach in general…