The Group Monthly Letter, July 2012. “The art of the split reality”

by Geoff Hall on July 31, 2012

July, 2012.

Mentoring support for word, image and performance arts


It’s been the busiest month so far for me, mostly with writing and research, but also with a lot of soul searching.

It’s this strange dichotomy between feeling personal worth and cultural value. Or, how what we do can affirm a little of our identity and how it also can have a cultural effect.

When I was growing up, yes, I think the process was completed a while ago, it was always a problem as what to make, in which area I wanted my creativity to flow.

Nowadays, I’m in a position to know what and how to make, but then comes the thoughts of ‘getting it out there’. How do I market (not a dirty word) what I create?

There is also the dilemma of how I desire what I create and feeding it into mainstream culture. I’m not interested in supporting a sub-culture, but in connecting with the debates that rage across the cultural landscape about human worth, the environment and freedom and how we as artists can critique what is happening – to help others re-imagine this world.

Our dear friend Hans Rookmaaker suggested that a spiritually intelligent, vibrant art should start not by the artist gazing in a mirror to ‘fix’ their personal image, but to position their work culturally by engaging in those questions of humanity and freedom as well as critiquing the injustices and inhumanities alive and unchecked on planet earth.

“Our calling is also to be critical of our times. [We] are called to speak prophetically. To hunger and thirst for righteousness means that we shall never just defend the established order of the day. It might be the easiest way; taking new paths, or paths that may be different from the traditional ones, means taking risks and giving energy, time, and involvement. But even if defending the establishment is often easy, it cheapens us and leads away from our calling to fight for what is right, for justice, love, beauty, truth. [We] should never be conservative simply for the sake of conformity, of conserving the established order for its own sake. We must be critical.”

As quoted in ‘Translating the Invisible Wind’ Kindle Reference below. (Rookmaaker, ‘Modern Art and the Death of a Culture’ p157-159. Piquant Edition, 2003).   Hall, Geoff (2012-07-23). Translating the Invisible Wind (Spiritual Direction in a Postmodern Landscape) (Kindle Locations 301-305). Upptäcka Press. Kindle Edition.

Being critical isn’t a license to be negative about what we see. It is to give a voice to the voiceless, helping the blind see the grave injustice of human trafficking, being a voice of lament (Brueggemann) to the marginalised and showing that there is a much better way to be followed.

Do you struggle with this, or is it not something you’ve seriously considered? Does your work split reality into personal and public spheres, speak only as self-expression? Are ‘we’ happy with feeding Rookmaaker’s ‘establishment’, helping maintain the status quo by our silence on such things? I’d like to open this diet (can) of worms at the next Tree House. How about you?

(If you like to post a comment, please do so below this piece. Thanks.)

Peace and Love,


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