We are living in interesting times. Times of great change. The neo-liberal economy seems to be on the verge of collapse, at least in its current form. As a result there could be a shift in political and even military might from West to East over coming decades. Existential questions abound as the corpse of the great secular religion of consumerism continues to rot in the shopping districts of the once affluent- for- all economic capitals of the world.
Now, in these same cities, the numbers of homeless people are rising. Against the tide of financial manipulation which, for years brought an optical illusion of exuberance through the lens of cheap credit, something else is simultaneously rising: resistance. The Occupy Movement which began on September the 17th 2011 in Zucotti Park, New York, quickly spread globally. It has been heavily criticised and has since somewhat dwindled as it is unclear what the intentions and demands of the protesters are. The sentiment, however, resonates andechoes stronger everyday.
But whilst the Occupy Movement of the 99% may be a dead fish in political water, perhaps it could find or, more precisely, give life by spawning a new artistic movement; a movement which channels the sentiment, concerns and energy,and depicts not just what the world looks and feels like today but how it will turn out to be tomorrow if a) the concerns of the 99% are addressed and b) the alternative; how things could develop (or digress) if such concerns are not addressed.
One artist who captures the financial crisis and the epiphany that is post- growthism is Molly Crabapple. She has used the crowd funding site Kickstarter to fund the creation and exhibition of nine unique paintings which capture the zeitgeist of the Occupy sentiment.
Is this the beginning of a movement that will one day be studied in art history courses globally and will (as in other movements such as Futurism) poetry and wider performance art play roles?
Words by: Nafees Mahmud