Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blogger Manifesto Project, Part I.

"In the old times men carried out their rights for themselves as they lived, but nowadays every baby seems born with a social manifesto in its mouth much bigger than itself.” ~Oscar Wilde

{The Zurich Dada group at Cafe Voltaire...marching to the absurd beat of their own manifesto}.

Though Wilde obviously thought the practice of manifesto-writing was getting out of hand at the time he wrote those words {and little did he know, the trend would continue to spread rampantly into the early 20th century}, today the manifesto continues to be a fascinating, witty, perplexing, and often infuriating form of expression...

I became interested in manifestos as a genre several years ago, after reading many of the famous artistic manifestos. The manifestos for art movements such as Vorticism, Surrealism, Futurism, and Symbolism made me feel equal parts fascinated and infuriated -- they were so staunch and irrational in their opinions! What drew me to these raucous, outspoken documents was their nerve, their sheer audacity. I'm not what you might call an audacious or even stubbornly opinionated person {though I've been working on finding that side of myself}, but for some reason, the notion of writing a manifesto of my own has nagged me for some time now. This obsession with manifestos has also turned into a deeper curiosity about the role of manifestos in today's world: particularly in the blog world.

Manifestos are defined as: "a public declaration of the purpose, principles, or plan of action of a group or individual." While manifestos were originally political in nature, they have since addressed issues spanning topics from parenting and gardening, to technology and fashion. A manifesto can be as much about lifestyle convictions as social and political convictions. I have come to believe that the creative exercise of writing a manifesto can teach us a lot about ourselves, our beliefs, and our priorities. I think in some ways that our blogs are like subtle, unspoken manifestos of what we love, what we are drawn to, and what we find of value. And I can't help but wonder: what would your manifesto say if you could narrow your convictions and passions into one, condensed package of words?

  • Would it be funny and cheeky?
  • Serious and somber?
  • Eclectic or pointed?
  • Beautiful or ugly?
  • Poetic or pragmatic?
  • Political or aesthetic?
  • Youthful or wise?

All of these thoughts have brought me to start a new series of posts that I'm calling the "Blogger Manifesto Project." I imagine this project to grow beyond me and this blog, because I think with the contribution of other bloggers, it has the potential to be amazing! So, over the next few weeks and months, I will be gathering together a group of bloggers that I feel have a distinctive voice and style, and challenge them to write their own manifesto to share here on Nothing Elegant. The range will be broad and the topics will vary. It is my dream to gather a group of talented voices in many categories: interior design, photography, fashion, shopping, music, crafting, feminism, inspiration, art, cooking, etc.

Thanks for bearing with me on this long post, and I hope you will stick around for this exciting project. I challenge each and every one of you to try your hand at writing a manifesto for your life, your loves, or your blog -- I did, and I will be sharing mine next Monday!

::Follow this link for a huge list of other manifestos through history :: These are some of my favorites: BLAST, A Cyborg Manifesto, and The Humanist Manifesto.

7 comments:

lostinaspotlessmind said...

Ooh, this looks like an incredibly fun project! Can't wait to read yours :D

Blood Milk said...

o! i hope i get to be a part of this project!
x

Jaka said...

It's interesting that you should post this now. I'm on the verge of birthing a new project that centers around a manifesto that a friend and I wrote a few months ago. I'm looking forward to seeing who you gather together and hope that you and yours can be part of my project soon, too.

KIRAFASHION said...

Oscar wild is a genius, I just saw the movie Dorian Gray...it was nice to remember this great book...

okiefeminist said...

I love it! Totally agree:

"I have come to believe that the creative exercise of writing a manifesto can teach us a lot about ourselves, our beliefs, and our priorities. I think in some ways that our blogs are like subtle, unspoken manifestos of what we love, what we are drawn to, and what we find of value."

Or not so unspoken ;) as the case often is with folks like myself! *spoken with a twang and punctuated by a nervous laugh*

Artfulife said...

What a wonderful idea! Can't wait to read them all.

Poesis said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog dear Tara, and I'm *really* honoured that you thought of me. (I also learned so much in just this single post of yours!)

I'd love to read yours next Monday to get some flavour of what a proper "manifesto" should be like for the project... I've never thought of one for myself but since my hubby usually teases me by saying, "please, do not be reticent about your views and do express stronger comments" (in a sarcastic way!), I suppose this will be a wonderful and fun writing exercise for me.

Is there a deadline or appx how long the manifesto should be...? I need to start reading some!

xx