What if art could change the world?

Finding the transformative power in art

Beleaf’s question isn’t a new one, but it is really catchy… More than that, it’s a question that interests me as both a music listener and creator, and even more so as a Christian. I’m not really going to touch on the politics of the song (you should probably vote), but I do want to explore the central question: What if art could change the world?

For most, the answer is likely yes. We might not directly see it in action, but most people have at least one book/painting/film/song etc. that has left a profound impression on them. I could pull from hundreds of examples for myself, but I’ll go with something a little left field: Up. No your not mistaken, I am talking about the Pixar film with the talking dog. For those who have seen it, you’ll know it has one of the best montages ever (as proven by my opinion). The 18 year old me, sitting down to watch a “children’s” movie was simply not ready for it. It’s not just the montage though; the whole film whimsically takes you on a human journey of adventure, dreams, love, grief, and the general motions of life. It might seem like I’m joking or taking a kid’s film a bit too seriously, but screw it; it’s a great film! If you haven’t seen it, definitely go check it out.

I could go into further analysis of how the film depicts the oppression of human freedom under capitalist power structures (now I am joking… mostly), but let’s get back to the question. Did Up change my world? Well not in the sense that I had a massive revelation that transformed the way I live. However it did do something important; it made me reflect on my own life. In a world where it is increasingly easy to stay distracted, that’s a solid achievement. Up left me with a question: “What dreams are you chasing and are they worthy of chasing?” Personally I think this is what great art does. Rather than forcing a worldview on us, great art forces us to question our own. It’s when we do reflect on these questions and open ourselves to exploring something outside of ourselves that greater change can happen.

So what am I saying? Can life’s biggest issues be answered by a children’s film? No. That’s not to say art can’t offer any answers at all, but it would be silly to hold it as the ultimate solution for life. Obviously my faith as a Christian has a major impact on where I believe that solution lies and as a result my music most likely reflects this. However, I don’t personally feel like it’s my job to condense God into a three minute song. Nor do I feel like it’s my job to brainwash or ‘trick’ people into believing in God. I’m just simply exploring my own worldview to a beat, and inviting you to bop your head and join me. If I do believe Jesus is who he says he is, that’s sure to have some real implications on our daily lives as humans — in our struggles, our pains, our joys and our victories. That’s what I’m interested in exploring. If it leads to someone taking time to reflect and question their own position to God, then that’s great.

Like I said earlier, I don’t believe my music (or I myself) can ever have all the answers, but I do have some pretty good questions…