In times like this, in times of uncertainty when we desperately want answers but there are none, we turn to art. When we are most aware of our humanity, these sources of expression, exploration and empathy help us to heal ourselves and one another. It is art that helps us to convey our feelings of solidarity, compassion, hopelessness, hopefulness, fear, love, grief and relief.
Perhaps today, in a search for meaning, you read Cleo Wade’s poetry on Instagram or consulted Tracy K. Smith’s Life on Mars in paperback. Maybe you regarded a 19th Century depiction of war on a museum wall or posted an illustration to your Facebook wall. Did you instead listen to Kendrick Lamar on your iPhone or absently hum Burt Bacharach at your desk? This evening, will you dance with your children in an attempt to help them wiggle their worries away or will you linger in the subway station, watching street dancers defiantly do their thing?
During last century’s Cold War, artistic innovation and excellence were cultivated as battle tactics. Although each side officially aimed to destroy the other, we wonder if the prioritization of culture played a role in humanizing the enemy and ultimately tempering the animosity that could have resulted in a third world war. We wonder if art, empowered by technology, can play a similar role now as we do (borderless) battle daily.