Volume 12: Revolution (Spring 2017)
Spring 2017 THEME: Revolution
Revolution: a spontaneous combustion of inspired thought and action, a groundbreaking discovery, a full-scale social uprising. Driven by a sudden, drastic need for renewal, these crusades for change propel humanity forward. Each is underscored by impulsivity, but we might better understand them as being inevitable, even predictable. Revolutions are also defined in terms of orbits and rotations, connoting the cyclical nature of such movements (whether social or celestial). They are as inciting as they are insightful and seek less to wreak havoc, than to recreate the world.
The following prompts serve as platforms from which to engage with the theme of “Revolution”. We invite you to consider the various facets of your chosen subcategory, but to find expression in the way (and medium) that is most authentic to your vision.
What are intellectual revolutions (the Enlightenment, Romanticism, etc) composed of, and how do they come about? We use terms such as “revelation” or “epiphany” to describe discoveries or changes of thought that can spark revolutions, and celebrate radical or modern thinkers and their ideas as being “revolutionary.” What does a revolution of thought or mind look like or entail? What part does the mind play throughout a revolution – could it be the catalyst, the strategist, the resolution, all three, or something more? Revolution can also be used in the sense of rotation or cycle – how might the cyclical nature of our thoughts be connected to the way revolutions occur?
The concept of revolution lives mainly in the heart of change, a change that is disruptive, explosive, and not always accepted or even remotely desired. When applied to a canvas as ambiguous and controversial as the body, a revolution in how we view of our bodies is easily cultivated. Along with sexual awakenings and discovery, what other forms of rebellion surround the different aspects and abilities of the body? In what ways have societal views of the body changed in the recent past? How are we influenced by what we see on current media? How are recent political and international affairs affecting the way we view governance over our bodies?
Most people are frightened by death; others, however, are so inspired by a cause that they would be honored to die for it. What role does death play in the ancient and modern-day social revolution? Does true passion for a cause require a kind of all-consuming dedication that necessitates self-destruction, and, in some cases, may ultimately lead to death? Is death in the form of sacrifice or martyrdom more valuable than other kinds of death? Must we be willing to die for our causes? How does belief in the afterlife influence this willingness, perhaps through the view that death truly is revolutionary, cyclical as opposed to conclusive? Can death itself be a spiritual revolution?
From the American Revolution to the recent Egyptian uprising, revolutions have played a strong part in shaping civilizations and governments. Whether a revolution succeeds or fails, the effects can be felt for days, years, and even generations. But what are some of these effects? How do we view past technological and societal revolutions and how do they influence our present and future? Do revolutions solely consist of an exchange of power or must there also be a radical shift in philosophical ideas? Can society ever transcend beyond the point where revolutions are necessary, or is progress itself a form of permanent revolution?
The concept of space is closely intertwined with revolution, whether through the continual decline and development of physical space, or through the more abstract concept of emotional, social, and spiritual space. A revolution cannot occur without a space for it to manifest within. On the other hand, the notion of creating your own space can be revolutionary in itself, as asserted today by social movements advocating for the awareness of marginalized groups. How can we revolutionize the space around us to fit the needs of society? How does our own interpretation of the space we exist in and create for ourselves catalyze change? Is it more revolutionary to create or eliminate space between those around us?