making the invisible visible

by Geoff Hall on August 27, 2015

Mentoring for word, image and performance art.

Mentoring for word, image and performance art.




AUGUST, 2015.

“…a feat [which] once required night escapades by a few trained and adventurous graffiti artists: [that of] making the invisible visible, rendering the neglected, ignored and abandoned blatantly, jarringly present…”  Zygmunt Bauman and David Lyon ‘Liquid Surveillance’ p130. Polity Press, 2013.

'Liquid Surveillance' by Zygmunt Bauman & David Lyon. Polity. 2013.

‘Liquid Surveillance’ by Zygmunt Bauman & David Lyon. Polity. 2013.


My thoughts this month focus on the artist as subversive graffiti artist. I’ve read and re-read chunks of Bauman and Lyon’s wonderful book, trying to make sense of our cultural and social ‘situation’.

For us as a Group  of course, making the invisible visible has incarnational echoes; in Jesus making the invisible God visible. Richard Rohr recently wrote that Jesus came to show us what it was like to be fully human. If that’s the case, I have a long way to go, but maybe that kind of redemption is a future hope and something we run towards, or maybe limp?


We have all seen the dreadful gun attacks in the USA, on a French train and the day-to- day cataclysm of the Middle-East, where the road to violence is paved with ignorance. We can see injustices in our own country, which has the highest levels of child poverty in Europe and a whole bundle of other things.

Bauman and Lyon’s words resonated with me as a writer and I hope to you as artists of multitudinous mediums. Our work should make what is neglected, ignored and abandoned…and let’s say hidden by Governments, visible. It should be ‘shouted from the rooftops’.

If our concern is for injustice and not just making art as self-expression, then our work should reveal what is happening. I watched a documentary called ‘What do artists do all day?” the other night on BBC4 and the artist said something that caught my ear. “Don’t make political art, make art political.” You can check out the programme here:

BBC iPlayer

(Sadly this link has been removed, darn it, so you can’t share in my excitement. Sorry! But this is a link to the series.)

I think that’s a challenge for all of us and not something which comes easily. But it is worthy of our consideration and deepening conversation.

Now one last thing about the incarnation and here it is: It’s not just what we make that’s making the invisible visible, but who we are. For people to see the invisible God, we must be visiblly different; evocative, imaginative, mysterious not obvious, compassionate not judgemental, allusive and yet touchable. This should sound familiar. However, we can’t do it alone; we must work together to reach our goal.

Be Well.


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