The Overton Window and Artists
Yesterday, I explained the concept of the Overton window.
Today, I want to talk about the Overton window in regards to art. I think the job of an artist is to test the edges of the overton window.
An artist has the courage to voice opinions outside of the window. And doing this work can be dangerous. There is reason why dictators and tyrants persecute artists. Art facilitates the imagination and encourages critical thinking. When people start imagining a better future or questioning how things are, then this is a threat to the regime.
An example is Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei is a chinese artist and activist. He has been openly critical of the Chinese government and has been exiled, jailed, and harrassed by the police.
Remembering is one of his most controversial pieces that angered the CCP. This piece was a response to the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake and the governments lack of transparency and silence towards the lives lost. Ai conducted a citizens investigation and many members of his team were beaten and his studio were destroyed in the process. Remembering is an art installation made of childrens backpacks that forms a quote from a letter of a mother who lost her daughter. “for seven years she lived happily on this earth.”