Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 49

ARTS & INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Anger and Anxiety Film by Guy Gotto (password: aia37) Standing in the middle of a circle formed by the collectively-seated Global Cultural Fellows, Consuelo Hidalgo scanned the list of questions in her notebook, raised her head and ask her colleagues: Do states deserve the leaders they elect? Nearly half of the Fellows stood up to signal their agreement, although these statements were qualified by bemusement at the wording. In the proceeding questions, Consuelo asked the Fellows to expose their positions on controversial subjects: torture, gay marriage, and euthanasia, etc. The changing configurations of standing and seated Fellows visibly demonstrated the group’s political diversity, in addition to its ethnic one. Consuelo’s exercise served as one of the opening tools used for today’s plenary discussions on Anger and Anxiety. Faisal Abu Alhayjaa had the Fellows form a line spectrum in the middle of the room denoting their level of anger and anxiety in the last month; there was a relatively even spread with a notable cluster in the middle. Arno Vinkovic introduced a short film the Anger and Anxiety group had produced with shots of Fellows answering questions posed to them over the course of the week, including Are you angry? or Are you anxious?. While few fellows admitted to being angry, most in the video described their myriad levels of anxiety. The questions helped the fellows make connections with two overriding themes: the shift from the personal and the political, and the role of art in channelling social anxieties and anger. Anger and anxiety may be related, but they are two distinct emotions. The Fellows took note of this diligently in their opening talks and small-group discussions. The smallgroup leaders and topics were: Faisal speaking to whether anger can protect individuals; Reem Alsayyah and the power of anger; Consuelo’s provocation to examine anxiety in context of global society; and Arno’s analysis of social anxiety in multidisciplinary contexts. All of them made connections among arts, anxiety, and anger. The discussions for today’s theme were colored by the populist outpourings in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the United Kingdom’s vote on Brexit. 48