(Anne Elizabeth Moore is an author, editor, artist, teacher, and Groundswell guest blogger. She divides her time between Chicago and Cambodia, where she teaches young women the art of self-publishing.)
Perhaps by accident, Groundswell has invited someone who thinks obsessively about text and vocabulary and dialogue and communication to contribute to its mostly visual pages. One who, moreover, feels that what is missing from our society at large and the immediate network of artists and activists Groundswell is among, is space for analysis. Those of us who work toward transformative justice are fully, daily, frustratingly aware that this is work rooted in dialogue. And Paolo Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed reminds us that “the essence of dialogue itself” is “the word.” Emphasis his.
So: I make language-based work to contribute to a vocabulary of change. You can find some here, in German, Khmer, English, Spanish, and Arabic. For the next few weeks, I will make some here on this blog, with you.
Then, after that, I will return to Cambodia, where I conduct ongoing work with young women — doing what? Oh, the same exact thing: participating in a dialogue about social justice and human rights, although this one in the weird mixture of English and the Cambodian language called Khmenglish. It’s a project I’ve come to call The Advantage and Disadvantage of Zine, because we have so far focused on zine- and bookmaking. Incarnations of this project have appeared in Chicago, New York, LA, Southern Illinois, Providence, and South Texas.
Social change happens through dialogue, and dialogue occurs in shared language and over shared experiences. But sometimes, there are pictures, sure.