Mixed Taste: Zeno’s Paradox & Artivism

What you missed in Mixed Taste: Zeno’s Paradox & Artivism

People say “all good things must come to an end,” and that is true for Mixed Taste: At Home, the virtual rendition of our annual summer lecture series, co-produced with MCA Denver. Mixed Taste brings two unlikely topics together for one unexpected (and very fun) evening. We closed things out this year not with a sizzle, but with a bang, thanks to our two amazing speakers, fantastic poet, and mind-blowing questions from our audience in the live chat.

Didn’t make it for the livestream? We got you. You can still watch the whole thing on our YouTube channel now and always:

Watch Mixed Taste: Zeno’s Paradox & Artivism >

If a free hour to watch it is just not on the schedule (we get it, you’re busy), here’s a rundown of my favorite learnings. (Fair warning: math was never my strong suit.)

3 things Elizabeth Stade (Faculty at University of Colorado Department of Applied Computer Science) taught us about Zeno’s/Xeno’s Paradox:

  1. Logic is absurd. Ancient Greek philosopher Zeno came up with about 40 paradoxes that question some little concepts such as infinity, time, and space, but only a few of his paradoxical ideas survived the sands of time.
  2. For example, hold your hands out in front of you (as though you’re about to clap). Decrease the distance between your hands by half. Decrease it by half again. And again. No matter how many times you do this, your hands will never touch. By this logic, any distance can be broken into infinitesimal parts and reaching a destination is impossible.
  3. There are two ways we can understand the concept of infinity:
    1. Divergent — means something goes on and on, never-ending and out of control.
    2. Convergent — means something can get smaller and smaller but it’s impossible to reach a point of being the smallest. Dutch artist M. C. Escher played with this idea a lot in his work.

3 things artist, activist and educator Suzi Q. Smith taught us about artivism:

  1. The word “artivism” is a portmanteau of art and activism. It’s the idea of using art to advocate for a political or social issue. Artivism can take many forms: written or spoken word, photographs of protests, Diego Rivera’s paintings, or Banksy’s graffiti are a few examples.
  2. Activism is possible without art, but perhaps it’s not as effective. Art creates empathy and engaging the imagination is the only way we can create a new world. (Case in point: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous speech starts with “I have a dream.”)
  3. Art also makes activism accessible, compelling, and joyful, or as Toni Cade Bambara said, “The role of the writer is to make the revolution irresistible.”

A Poetic Ending with James Brunt

At the end of the night, we wrap up with a poem from a local poet inspired by both topics and written during the course of the evening.

A turtle isn’t just a slow moving animal
But a glimpse into infinity
Moving and moving endlessly into that void
Never letting itself be caught by the hare
The fast and persistent
Trying to reach that hand that closes together into a clap for tomorrow
I hate counting but numbers are my imagination
It’s what tells you how much you have of something
1 hurting heart 2 shaky fists 2 stomping feet
1 big voice and 1 tearful eye socket
Trying to create a new world where we are treated equal and I can stand up and say what I believe without being killed in cold blood
Free to create art that changes perspective
To infinity and beyond, Buzz had the right idea
“When every day is an act of survival you can’t help but be involved”
A line is made out of points and so is the human life
We are born
we live good or we survive living
Spacing out in the universe hoping for peace
“To see the world in a grain of sand”
You are Just a point in the world with no dimension
Art is pain because art is mathematics
Twisting the brain till an idea forms into the universe
1 revolution 1 million people screaming 1 system that needs to be broken
Heaven in a wild flower
Or an eternity in 20 minutes
Fading away into existence hoping that the generation after me fixes the things we have broken
And in the words of Woody from Toy Story, so long partner

Watch James Brunt perform his poem >

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us for the DCPA’s first major virtual program. We had a blast producing it and we hope you had just as much fun watching it!

Previous Mixed Taste: At Home Summaries:

July 15 – What You Missed in Mixed Taste: Polar Forests & Trendy Soul Food

July 22 – What You Missed in Mixed Taste: Keith Haring & Smog Meringues

July 29 – What you missed in Mixed Taste: Napping & Slovenian Zombies

August 5 – What you missed in Mixed Taste: Augmented Reality & The Cult of the Dead

August 12 – What you missed in Mixed Taste: Church Signs & Icelandic Hip Hop

Mixed Taste was originated by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Sponsored by:

With additional support by:
Peggy Finley