Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Put an Artist in Power...

Antanas Mockus was mayor of Bogota, Columbia. I hadn't heard of him before, but I just read this article at the Harvard Gazette. Here's a couple choice quotes:

People were desperate for a change, for a moral leader of some sort. The eccentric Mockus, who communicates through symbols, humor, and metaphors, filled the role. When many hated the disordered and disorderly city of Bogotá, he wore a Superman costume and acted as a superhero called "Supercitizen." People laughed at Mockus' antics, but the laughter began to break the ice of their extreme skepticism.


"The distribution of knowledge is the key contemporary task," Mockus said. "Knowledge empowers people. If people know the rules, and are sensitized by art, humor, and creativity, they are much more likely to accept change."

The idea that art/humor/creativity are what sensitize people to the rules of society seems particularly powerful to me. Not that I needed another reason to believe in the importance of art, but this is such an eloquent testimony to the prominent place art should hold in the world.

This is what happens when you put an artist in power. Awesome.


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