Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

It is a statement, a sentence, not just a movement, not just a fad.

In a post that is now so last year, I copped to being a ‘Becca’ white woman in the whole of the ‘Becky’ taxonomy.  As stated:

“Keeping in mind that I don’t know what to do or what I’m doing, I will push beyond my Becca-ness of being ‘willing to do the work … but not really.’

I will do work. Really. “

And for me the challenge became discovering a way to 4) Use your privilege to support marginalized movements without drawing attention to … me.  How could I be a quiet, present, and strong ally? Other than pinning up every day which can be seen as an empty gesture used to assuage my own ‘guilt’, how can I be heard without saying a thing?

I’m open to wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt, but that seems too easy, too obvious, and if the BLM movement doesn’t persist, then what?  And my inner optimist hopes I’d be the butt of a joke for wearing a dated ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt when I’m old, but then my inner cynic says “shut up, systemic racism will be here long after you’re gone.”

Much like pinning up, wearing a slogan t-shirt could be interpreted as an empty gesture. I needed to create something of my own that unapologetically makes the statement ‘Black Lives Matter’, and it struck me while working on another project that Morse Code is the perfect medium.

And so this is my artist’s statement regarding the Black Lives Matter: Morse Code collection:

The challenge is to be a present, silent, strong ally making the clear statement ‘Black Lives Matter.’

Morse Code is heard in the darkness.

Darkness doesn’t see color.

Be seen to be heard.Morse code - BLM freehand (2)

Black Lives Matter.


Black Lives Matter: Morse Code t-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee cups merchandise available from Zazzle via the Viva Boutique Vending page. After-tax profits will be donated to Black Lives Matter. (I get a small % from each sale.)

The BLM: Morse Code design was my own vanity project as I want the statement Black Lives Matter to be as easy and accessible as a Roswell or a Saint Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage t-shirt.


The following is included for fun and advanced reading beyond the basic blog post.

I entered some Viva facts in the 500letters.org Artist Statement Generator and it spit out the following which I thought was spot-on, perceptive, and fun. Not unlike a horoscope. Try it and see what kind of artist you’re meant to be.  “Between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves.” Oh? Really.

Viva Escritora

Viva Escritora (United States) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By applying abstraction, Escritora touches various overlapping themes and strategies. Several reoccurring subject matters can be recognized, such as the relation with popular culture and media, working with repetition, provocation and the investigation of the process of expectations.

Her artworks often refer to pop and mass culture. Using written and drawn symbols, a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined is created. By using popular themes such as sexuality, family structure, and violence, her works references post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.

Her work doesn’t reference recognizable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporate world’, she creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles.

Her works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves.

 

 

 

 

Mistaken Identity

Early evening, dusky, we saw police lights rolling out our front windows, the blue and red of coming and going but in this case stopping.

And I thought I recognized the stopped car, but couldn’t be sure — my neighbor who is in high-school and, or his friends?

Certainly something is wrong, is not right when the police did not just stop the car but blocked the street from through traffic. Two black police SUVs and a cruiser. And something is wrong when the police have guns pointed at the car and its occupants.

And I watched as the driver exited the car, hands up, backing up, patted down and cuffed. And then a passenger, and a second passenger — hands up, backing up, patted down, cuffed, car emptied. Hood, trunk, doors opened. All clear.

My neighborhood is bird-chirping quiet. While the scene unfolded in the street, people walked their dogs to the corner and looked, I watched a cyclist stay the course and just pedal past the cruiser. Life goes on after all. And my husband took the dog out and while he did my neighbor came out of her house, her son’s home. What is going on? There had been no sirens, no sound of warning to get her out of the house any sooner.


Today, I wake to the thought of my own identity mistaken. I’ve seen my doppelganger in a photo. And so I do not fault the police. There are bad, evil people out there and we know that the job we ask the police to do — to protect and serve — contains all the right, all the wrong, and all the grays in between. It is not binary. The bad guys have doppelgangers. The good guys have doppelgangers. Based on photographic evidence, it appears I might have been at a Stockholm Motorcycle Fair. I wasn’t. It looks like me, but it wasn’t.

Being presented with a photo of a mirror image of oneself taken across the ocean does not register on the scale of the experience of a physical confrontation with real authority, real weapons, real and present danger while driving in your own neighborhood.

And as I put my little safety pin on today, it looks wretchedly pathetic, a minuscule token of what? Awareness? Insight? Empathy? No, it can’t be. After watching that drama with real police, real guns, real African-American teenagers backed into a wall — all that experience, all that fear, all so young. No, I don’t have nearly enough for anybody.

I’m too old to carry a security blanket and suck my thumb.

The safety pin will have to do for now.