Why art?

This one's been bouncing around for like ever, but it's still good. by Super Rural.

I started a tumblr a couple years ago, as way to collect art, ideas, and images I loved looking at over and over again in a little bit more curated and journalistic fashion than the way pinterest allows (though I've got one of those too.) Given what I was doing at the time, i.e. so-called hard-hitting policy analysis on climate change, urbanization, and transportation, I felt a little guilty about it, but also knew that I needed some space to dream and think about other things.

Last September, I was invited to speak at a European Commission conference on innovations in sustainable urban mobility. Well, my talk was on something that sounded far less innovative - national policies on sustainable urban transportation. I have a true aversion to dry, text-only presentations on abstract concepts - these happen much too often in policy discussions and they're a real snooze.

But I was at a loss - I had some photos ready to go, but what could I use as images for abstract concepts? I'm not a graphic designer, so I couldn't create what I wanted, nor were there any obvious photographs that could be taken to illustrate what I needed to communicate. I started to dig around and thought of my silly tumblr which had so many images I loved for some unknown reason.

The reason, as it turned out, was connected to whatever it was I was ruminating about in my conscious mind and daily work. And the presentation basically made itself because I had been storing away all these ideas, only they were expressed in such a different way on this other forum. If you're curious, you can see the presentation here. The European Commission was so pleased that it wasn't another text-only presentation - and me too. Thank you to all the artists for being in the world and helping us see and experience what we can't articulate ourselves. (I know you probably didn't see your art applied in these ways - I hope you're OK with it!)