Friday, July 27, 2012

On Creating Heroes and Mavericks

"The Real is a construct. The real is a creation. The Real is artificial. The kid in your play is looking for something in life that can only be found in art." "Passing Strange"
This weekend I am looking forward to reading Barbara Stewart's white paper, re-watching "Passing Strange", and finishing up edits to new my Maverick Hero video. After some helpful critical insights from Shawne Duperon (featured in latest issue of Context Magazine) I gave serious thought to "the story". I mean when "Six time Emmy Winner" gives you advice and a compliment you take it to heart - especially when it is someone as generous, authentically kind and insightful as Shawne. As an artist I have to honor my own reasons for not following the rules of linear perception for pieces like this, but I also want to express my respect and appreciation for the audience. In the same way that most understand the personal is political, I am exploring concepts in art (in this case video and transmedia opportunities) including "Marketing" and "Business offer" as personal fueling the public. So when looking at how to use Story in this series of Art*umentary videos, the first questions have to clarify the emotionally integrated intellectual truths. And this reminded me of why I want to watch the film of the play "Passing Strange" again. Have you had that feeling of running across something that helps you see and feel more deeply an idea you are unpeeling to better understand? A recent conversation with Barbara followed by an essay about the play that touched me and helped me to define what I mean by "hero". FYI - defining key terminology is a BIG part of my work to understand the legacy of culture where fusion is the new norm. We all benefit from better understanding the kind of hero referenced in "Becoming the Maverick Hero you've been waiting for" whereas the video will focus more on defining the maverick hero concept in Art when art is more than just the aesthetic and frivolous.
And there’s also the understanding here that every story we tell is our story. The storyteller is the hero, one way or another, either explicitly or implicitly, either consciously or unconsciously, or in some cases (like Passing Strange), all of the above. Storytelling connects to the eternal, the divine, the Cosmic Consciousness, through the shaping and passing along of the culture. "inside PASSING STRANGE:background and analysis" by Scott Miller

Art*umentary - Birth of the Maverick Hero from Yvette Dubel on Vimeo.

Economics (business) plays an intriguing role in shaping the "reality of culture" and its legacy. Rather than being a passive or unconsciously complicit participant of the times that be and the future it will likely wrought, how might Art emerge as a solution for a better world? I have gotten some really encouraging feedback on one of my early videos from people in financial sector, where it seems at last social capital has caught the attention of financial analysts. I love the signs that the works connect with people, that our passions touch through sharing these ideas. And then there's Art as Solution...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Does it matter who is pulling the strings?

How does personal experience and agendas shape the lens through which we see the world?

Some day when historians look back at this and try to make sense of what happened, perhaps what artists leave behind will provide unique perspectives of these times.

It would feel more honest to call most of politics and political campaigns performance art. But because of the role in shaping policy, it is less humorous than the idea might otherwise be. The ability to donate millions to advance a political agenda with anonymity seems quite unfair because of the implied protection that is not an option for those who support causes/candidates in nonmonetary ways. In addition, as money buys influence and attention, it does give those with more money a louder voice.

We could point to the Supreme Court ruling [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 50 (2010)] that blew open the flood gate for purchased influence over a wide spectrum of policy issues. Brace yourselves for political puppet show unlike anything we have seen before.

Now - looking at the Presidential campaigning taking place never was the evidence of “personal branding” experts at work more evident. It is a grand exercise in political theater. As much as I’d like to see some radical changes, imagine if transparency and truth telling were among them? I can only imagine the reasons that string pullers have for not wanting to be known as such.

Inspired Collaboration

As an artist-citizen an interesting question popped up for inspiration. So what if the personal brand is reduced to a puppet, a sales-figurehead for a position or way of seeing the world?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life Happens

Sometimes in life things happen, that though they interrupt our plans, can not be dismissed as mere distractions. My Grandfather fell ill suddenly and died a few weeks later. That was a couple of weeks ago and though I push on...try to catch up on all the things I let slide - I can't imagine that I will ever recover.

I will just learn to live with what is.

In the last six years I have learned more about loss than I ever wanted to and the biggest lesson has been what a gift it is to love and be loved in return. Its as if part of what held me up is missing...and I have to figure out how to maintain my posture. That it eventually happens is a miracle.

I share this not just to vent my grief, but to let you know why the most recent issue of Context magazine has been delayed. There have been several projects that are being delayed because plans had to change.

Sometimes, life happens and plans just don't seem that important.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Magazine as conceptual vehicle

So much attention has been given to social media - monetizing it to justify the time and attention investment...and meaningfulness of networking.
The sustainability of the work has been an obvious consideration from the start and in that nailing down a simple to understand service serving a market that is growing was not as easy as I initially expected.

On one Side: Helping Luxury Service Providers advance relationships with women who want responsible luxury goods/services. Product - Podcast production with strategy - I produce purposeful conversations and create an engaging context for sharing them.

On the other side: I provide value to my social network by selecting people and their brands to be featured or introduced to a new market.

For obvious reasons I am interested in both all this personally and as sign posts of social evolution. I love exploring these ideas and will continue to do so, but unless I am only interested in conversing with myself I have had to do a better job of connecting with others.

The concept for Context Magazine is an experiment in Magazine as Interactive Art and exploring the potential of social media as part of an inclusive value creation infrastructure. The artworks are Art-i-facts in an Art Based research series about inclusion, social responsibility and women supporting each others highest expression...especially finding mediums work to engage more change agents across typical demographic divides.

For quite some time in the research aspects of Art Based inquiry I struggled to find a media that inspired me, allowed me to bring those ideas together and was accessible to the people I wanted to engage. I think we are making similar use of social media to move ideas forward and so I am curious about what our inquiries have in common.

Big ah-ha was realizing the magazine as a conceptual vehicle facilitates bringing together groups that are sometimes socially conditioned to resist each other.

Plenty of idealism boiled down to a conversation about using flip-page magazine channels as alternative distribution to replace the function and eliminate the barriers of the gallery. Very much the way that other artists are exploring how to use the internet and social media to disseminate public art...I am interested in defining Art Based Solutions as part of a model for community change.

In Context Magazine I want to embrace the opportunity to develop accessible collaborative artworks that help the business agenda and the BIG dreams...allow women to feel inspired and supported by sharing stories of the journey that give our lives Context.

The Free eCourse builds on helping people make better strategy decisions by learning to better understand the context of their problems and Solutions. I am really happy about this progress in being able to show how this Art Based Solution emerged.

Stay tuned....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Economic Stimulus from the bottom up:Art, Questions and a TEDTalks video

Project:Forgive postcard#3 by Yvette Dubel

Despite the rhetoric, most economic policy is designed to preserve the status quo rather than address the deep rooted sources causing the problems. There are some things policy can not dictate, like your desires. You have immediate desires and Big Desires. A big desire would be embodied in your hopes for hopes for the world and yourself in that context.

So often businesses, especially smaller enterprises, don't want to take on big issues or develop BIG VISIONS. Remember your business and consumer habits exist in a context we call the world.

One of the reason I had to reconnect my work to my artist practice was that I couldn't help but connect the moving pieces that kept the bigger picture in view for me.Source: Economic Stimulus from the bottom up:A Question, Art, and the Business of Life

In my artist practice, the interconnectedness of the projects I work on is easily visible for me. Wearing my artist hat, I am able to summon greater wisdom than wearing the "strategy consultant" label.

By allowing the work to lead the way, an awesome journey has continued to unfold. One of the things most people have a hard time with is connecting the moving pieces to see the interconnectedness showing them their innovation opportunity. Are you paying attention to your discovery process? Instead of being overwhelmed we can learn to make sense of our interconnectedness and make better strategy decisions.

The postcard from Project:Forgive that I included in this post is part of a series that evolved from Project:what-is-peace? that kicked off Cultural Fusion Art as Philosophy back in 2006. The first collaboration was NGO Art Studio in the Republic of Macedonia where I had my first up-close lesson in how international aid can go horribly wrong. Some of the funding for the Peace Day event came from an organization that required that certain speakers be included. Little did I know that these "suggested speakers" were considered war criminals by the residents. It almost brought the peace celebration to a halt as it stirred issues that were never really resolved after the Balkan War.

If meaningless activities can exist and be accepted as performance art then why not meaningful action? Just as any other artist's history shapes their work, so to does my background in advocacy, community development and as a business consultant.

As part of the Art:Works solutions are an integral part of the completed works to advance a peace economy and improve communities.
(Go to to learn more)

Do you find yourself making statements like these?

I need a long term strategy not just a marketing blitz.

Things are changing so fast, and trying to keep up is exhausting me.

What used to work isnt’ working anymore, and now I don’t know where to turn.

I don’t know what information is meaningful for innovation in my business/organization or industry.

I know we need to make changes, but I don’t know how to recognize innovation.

[caption id="attachment_570" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Cultural Fusion collaboration with NGO Art Studio in Macedonia"][/caption]

In the absence of Peace - things like profit take a nose dive in value. I guess we can call that part of the Business of Life. How do we know this? Because if there is a lack of peace within you, it makes it difficult to enjoy business success. If there is a lack of peace around you, it creates a very difficult environment in which to attain your goals.

So the question of "what is peace?" persisted and raised its head again during a collaboration with a county history museum and a few community leaders heading up the project locally. It was a collaboration that made me question what was really possible given the partners involved. I knew it would be a long term project based on the amount of resistance it encountered early on. Collections for the large scale work continue now, but were halted for a time. As a community project, the objectives were not driven by attainment of profits. Instead this project was focused on developing an open knowledge resource. Lines were drawn in the sand and alliances fortified - making the IT part of the project easy in comparison to the people problems.

Then I began to question the role that forgiveness plays in finding peace. That's when a line from the play Rent grabbed my attention.
The opposite of war isn't peace, its creation!

While politics has historically dictated economic plans and policy, it is important to remember that the political is personal and the personal political. For a number of reasons (which I look at more closely in the book), this became very clear to me after my father's death. I turned my attention again to the personal motivation for aspiring to see Project:what-is-peace? to a satisfying conclusion. For those that don't know, that series is connected to several Regional Economic/Community Development partnerships and initiatives to serve businesses and communities. Economic stimulus from the bottom up takes a quantum leap when we answer the following question.

How do we transform resistance?

[caption id="attachment_532" align="aligncenter" width="188" caption="From Bloodtrails by Yvette Dubel"][/caption]

As much as that is a communal experience of self in relation to - it is also a deeply personal one. It goes to the heart of personal responsibility as the foundation of any social responsibility program or objectives.

It began to seem like a flower sprouting new branching out with new stems which grew new blossoms. Project:Forgive was certainly one of them. Bloodtrails - which spawned the picture above, is a darker piece (deals more with pain and disappointment) that relates to both those projects. However, it is itself part of another collaboration called Touchstone Learnings that generated as its first completed work "Guided by blood trails: Political revelations in learning." That collaborative piece has been accepted for publication so will share more about that when the book is published as part of an anthology later this year.

In addition, exciting progress has been made in defining the scope of the next Touchstone project. While it looks at issues of teacher identity within institutions, it simultaneously informs my personal inquiry. My interest is to increase understanding of the life teachers who bring not just lessons to get students gainful employment, but lessons aimed at living better lives and being better glocal (global-local) neighbors.

No doubt that Cultural Fusion Art as Philosophy is an ambitious undertaking, but it is worth the effort....and because I LOVE it, it doesn't feel much like work :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Social Innovation as Modern Art

I recently started play Empire Avenue and shortly before that I was re-visiting post-it note tabs in Michael Heim's "The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality". I was having a conversation with someone about selecting an Index because my indecisiveness on that had kept me from claiming a profile on Empire for awhile. We had just finished talking about Cultural Fusion Art as Philosophy, when I mentioned the book - that's when the documentary in my next post was shared with me.

Our conversation provided more support for contextualizing the validity of the work (Cultural Fusion Art as Philosophy) but isolating components for specific conversations is another matter.

As art it is inspired by what I have shared previously in this blog and written about in other documents - as an alternative to protest art: development of a socio-technical infrastructure that achieves the public and market objectives described at the commencement of the series. The basis of my work as an art movement based on research, discovery, creation/development uses collaboration to achieve results toward the goals of public and private sector. This is the source of the Community Change Model developed. Before reducing outcomes to practical results like increasing customer retention or creating more economic opportunities for more people, the bigger context for the enterprise is seen as part of the socio-technical infrastructure and its design/refinement.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="720" caption="TimeLine abstract (i)"]TimeLine abstract i[/caption]

There are different Art:Work projects associated with various components. Different kinds of art lend themselves to specific types of objectives, but there is also an impressive amount of overlap. The concept map showing that reduces some of the complexity by focusing on organizing for action planning includes some attached sample material - will be shared exclusively with my subscribers (Sign-Up is FREE, see subscription box on the right

This concept map is a vital part of understanding how the this work in Art Based research can benefit your specific goals and objectives. For the right businesses and collaborating partners this can mean simply maximizing marketing investments, to increase visibility, sales and brand value...or this can be the move that helps increase your enterprise's capacity for innovation.

And to help put the value of this kind of endeavor to develop a more evolved concept IT infrastructure into perspective I share with you this excerpt from pages 38-39 in Heim's "The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality":

"...In contrast with literate cultures of the past, we face an enormous volume of stored information. Our ancestors face the task of slowly learning from experience, of gleaning from life whatever they could discover. They then tried to amplify whatever they could confirm. They learned how to pass along an expanding knowledge base. They stored knowledge impersonally in writing and eventually learned to automate knowledge so that it could become information.

Today our task seems to be the reverse of that of our ancestors...Our task is to hold onto the anchor of our own experience to find meaning in the sea of information...

Hypertext helps us navigate the tide of information. In skipping through hypertexts, we undergo a felt acceleration of time..."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Evolution of Institutional Critque

Postcard Artist:Yvette Dubel

Thought I would share some thoughtful insight on alternatives and the evolution of institutional critique...

"But again, how do we as an audience register, and participate in, the exploration of institutional site? In Los Angeles, the small storefront Machine Project offers an extraordinary example of “ideological insertion.” A performance and installation space that investigates art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature, and food, Machine’s enterprise relies on “hands-on engagement” to make rarefied knowledge accessible. Recently, the Hammer in Los Angeles invited Machine to create a new kind of interactive museum, and last November, Machine was invited to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, “orchestrating ten hours of performances, workshops, and events experimenting with LACMA’s expansive grounds and enormous collection of stuff.” If the practice of institutional critique reflected critically on its own place within galleries and museums and on the concept and social function of art itself, Machine has leapt into this territory, but, instead of merely unmasking the “institutional membrane,” invites us to experience the institution anew."
Some Alternatives to Institutional Critique, Laura Fried. (Art21 blog, April 30th, 2010).