WAR and Meaning #2

what a riot

werden alle retten

wilful abrupt retreat

woeful awful regrettable

was auch rollt


Want Amazing Realities

Of course, there is the obvious meaning: “”open and declared armed hostile conflict.”” But also, given the locale of Schmiede, we must also consider that in German “”war”” is the past tense of to be — “”was”” in English. Given the current pandemic and the current sociopolitical situation, I think it is useful to consider both. While there have been some negative reactions expressed in the closed Smiths list to the English “”war.”” Take on face value, I guess I can understand this. But, given that so many people have become so incredibly polarized – especially in my home country of America – we might say that people who should be bound by their shared country and culture are now at war with each other. As artists, I see it as our job to give response and reflection about this division, especially if that offers the chance to present insight and solutions about how we might bring people together. If the English “”war”” is the theme of Schmiede, then it is certainly possible to respond to the provocation by creating works about ***LOVE***: works that remind the viewer that all humans should strive to love and respect each other, even if they there is some fundamental topic on which they disagree. As a Smith, how could yo get us to discover something new about these deep divisions, and prompt us to take action to overcome them? Regarding the German “”war”” / English “”was””: the pandemic has changed so much. There is much that has been lost in the last 10 months of isolation, lockdown, anxiety over getting ill, and deep loss for those who have become ill or even died. In there other words, there is a lot that we had (and perhaps even took for granted) that will remain in the past tense until this awful virus is controlled. One of the functions of artworks is to help us process grief. By taking the “”in the past”” meaning of war/was we can be inspired to remember and cherish things that – for the moment – are in the past tense. But also, as I proposed above, we can counter this notion of things lost by creating work that speaks to things that ***WILL BE***. We can imagine a future where we can again gather, create, dance, laugh and hug, and where – perhaps – the very fabric of society has been permanently changed for the better. As a Smith, how could you give your viewers hope by showing them the things that a will be important and beautiful about a post pandemic world? But I know that, while “”war”” as a theme is intentionally provocative. These are only two responses to the theme “”war””. Knowing how creative you all are, I am sure you can imagine thousands of others. Let’s open our minds to what “”war”” could possibly mean, and respond as Smiths always do: with creative energy, fanciful ideas, and unflagging hope.”

whichever alarm rhymes

We are righteous


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Schmiede21: WAR
September 22. – October 2. 2021
Application ends May 31.

pic Jakob Barth Schmiede20 WAW