There are a lot of ideas popping out of my head. At the beginning, when I saw the syllabus, I wanted to try to make an art piece about human trafficking or Enjo-kōsai, a Japanese term of the practice of “compensated dating” in many countries. I just wanted to try a controversial and serious topic.
I’ve already decided on using digital art as my medium and methodology. We are in the age of information where in one press of a button your opinions will spread across the internet (and the world) which I think is the best use for the topics that I’m going to tackle. I’m also an information design student and digital art is what I use the most. But through time, this might change. I have painting this semester, and it might actually convince me to focus on painting.
As of now, these are the topics or problems that I wish to tackle for the class:
1. Human Trafficking
Human trafficking, as many know, is a problem very evident around the world and especially in our country. There have many cases of this problem to the point that even children are being involved and the guardians/parents of these children are supporting or even initiating the practice.
So imagine catalogue magazine, and look it’s on sale! Oh, but it’s already an old copy, but go check the insides of the magazine anyway, look blurred faces children on sale. A young person such as I cannot change the world with an artwork but I can help people be more aware and never forget that these activities happen (which sadly, happens quite often, people forget) but as long you show it in a way that will stick in people’s heads, not only awareness, but actions might finally happen.
2. Compensated Dating
Enjo-kōsai is a Japanese term of the practice of “compensated dating.” Where a person (usually women around high school age to adult women) spend time with an older person and get luxury goods or money in return for their service. Although this practice doesn’t need to involve sexual activities (although it can), Enjo-kōsai is still an activity that makes people’s eyes bloom with curiosity.
If you’ve heard the term “Sugar daddy” before? If yes, then this is will be a familiar topic. I plan to tackle this topic in a way for people to understand that there are stories behind the scenes. Their stories do not have to have some deep meaning, but know that there are. Another is to realize that this activity is not safe, it may be fun at first, but it has dire consequences that others have to know.
But really, I don’t exactly know how I’m suppose to make this topic into an art piece, I don’t exactly know anybody who actually practices this activity. I’ve read stories about people who actually practice compensated dating but I cannot determine whether those were true or not.
Do you know the short story called “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin? It’s a descriptive story without a plot that talks about the wonderful lives of the residents of Omelas. But the only reason the happiness and grace of their place exist is because they’re sacrificing the happiness and the entire life of one child inside a cage under the city, after seeing the child some residents of Omelas (child or old) leave. Do you think it exist in real life?
What if I tell you that the time and place we are living right now is Omelas? Around the world, the bigger, richer, more industrialized countries are what they are not only because of their “hard work,” but also because of the existence of other countries that are in awful situations. Would you believe me if I said it’s all on purpose? And after knowing this, would you leave Omelas too?
Similar to the Enjo-kōsai topic, I don’t know yet how to tackle this and make it into an art piece, but I suppose it would be a type of piece that makes people question our world as we know it, as suppose to just an art piece that is inspired from the short story.
(image from: https://www.enotes.com/topics/ones-who-walk-away-omelas)