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Tag: history

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One Voice - A Writer Sparks Revolution

The protesters that began the expansive "Occupy Wall Street " movement are examples of the power of One Voice. They are not alone in the history of uprisings that have changed the course of history.

In my case,  a terrifying experience in a haunted house on an island outside Montreal  segued with injustice in the chambers of a private judge in the family court system. At the time, I felt I had no voice. So, I began to write the story of a world-weary American woman's story of transformation and empowerment in the French Canadian underground.

I wrote the following piece to remind myself that one must be brave and speak the truth for the good of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                         One Voice

     A man sat at an ornate  desk and gazed at a blank  parchment. On the paper he had agreed to write  a proclamation, a fiery statement that would be delivered to the King and all of his courtiers and officers. it was a document that  would irrevocably alter his life.

     He  realized he was jeopardizing everything he owned and held sacred. The lovely estate he had designed himself  and furnished with artifacts from around the world, the gardens he had tended and nurtured would be confiscated.  His servants would be out of jobs - employment they needed to survive. His cherished family would lose their comforts, and his wife would be reduced to working in the households of the nobles, if they would  take her at all. The prospects of his children be would horribly altered. His daughters' marital opportunities would be diminished and his sons' opportunities limited to those of farmer or laborer, rather than gentleman.

     Even worse, he understood if he wrote and signed the proclamation he would  likely be hung by the neck in the gallows. He would be publicly humiliated in front of his wife and children and all of the community that  looked up to him as a man of high position. Once he finished putting ink to the parchment his life as he knew it was over.

     Five men waited for the document - the well positioned men had chosen him to create the first draft. He had only written a few words, then just a few paragraphs, when he was compelled to stop. He was aghast at his own vehemence - he had called the King a tyrant! Surely the others would think him mad for using such an explosive word.

     Then, like one possessed, his pen began to scratch at the parchment, his hand desperately seeking to keep up with the words raging from his mind. Once he had written of the horrible deeds of the King against his countrymen, the lost lives and futures, insults to dignity and honour, crimes against his comrades, his brethren - there was no turning back. He completed the deed and signed the document with relish.

     The man gently picked up the parchment, still wet with the black ink from the crystal ink holder given to him as a present from his beloved father, and walked from the sun drenched room. His carriage waited outside, and within the hour he delivered the document to the five illustrious men. To his surprise, they did not attempt to edit his words, instead they reinforced them by signing their names. Then, it was delivered to the Commission, where each added their name to the list.  His voice became stronger as each signed the document, and it soon became a throng of cries from citizens who had been mistreated for too long.

     The voice of the man at the desk has never stopped speaking. His voice caused the downfall of a government. His voice helped to create a new constitution based on its precepts. His voice has resonated through three centuries, and continues to speak throughout the world. One man's proclamation is now viewed by most of mankind as  Divine Right - the Divine Right of the Individual for Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It marks the birth of democracy.

     The man was Thomas Jefferson and his proclamation -  The Declaration of Independence.

                                                                                      xxxx

     May we all be bold and brave in standing up for our God given rights -  and those of our  comrades.

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RAW/WAR - Women Art Revolution

 

I had the great pleasure of being present at the opening of RAW/WAR on January 20, 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival.  My videos and images have been downloaded to the site and I can be assured that my work is stored in their archives and will not be lost.  Women and their histories must be acknowledged and heard if we are to gain the collective strength we need to prosper as a vibrant and whole society.
 
About RAW/WAR from their site:

The RAW/WAR project is generated from the idea that history is about access and authorship and that we, as a global digital community, can now all participate in its creation and change the way history itself is constructed. Using new technologies, current and future generations can create their own histories, breaking the cycle of omission and erasure.

RAW/WAR takes the form of an interactive, community-curated archive and an accompanying installation that provide a forum in which users can come together, share their stories and collaboratively contribute to the history of women�s art.

The project emerges from the documentary !Women Art Revolution. While the film provides a personal perspective of feminist activism in a national context, RAW/WAR opens up this dialogue to a global audience, connecting women and their histories worldwide.

An ongoing partnership with Stanford University Libraries (SULAIR) houses the !Women Art Revolution Collection in a publicly accessible online archive for study and research. The collection, acquired in 2008, holds the interview footage and transcripts from the film. Because of the retrievability of this information, there are no outtakes, subverting traditional notions of filmmaking. RAW/WAR is about continuing this ongoing lineage into the future and allowing users to add, and ultimately, remix, their own stories.

RAW/WAR is self-curated. This is achieved by rating and meta-rating and is intricately linked to the whole thesis of !WAR: shedding light on who is left out and why.

The RAW/WAR installation is a live participatory environment that allows users to �bring light� to the lost or invisible histories of women in art with virtual flashlight controllers accessing the interactive, community-curated archive.

The RAW/WAR project is a project by Lynn Hershman Leeson, in collaboration with Alexandra Chowaniec, Brian Chirls, Gian Pablo Villamil and Paradiso Projects.