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Creative Saviour Complex

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During my last year of college, I had the dream of saving my home, Nigeria, with code — of using my skills to “make a difference.” I found out much later that rather than being the bearer of good things, I was suffering from a condition I dub Creative Savior Complex. After that realization, my attitude towards art and activism changed significantly. In this talk I will firstly catalog the symptoms of Creative Savior Complex in the hopes of those suffering will recognize it in themselves and then go through the silly, satirical and more personal projects I started making after that shift. I want to encourage people to not be reactionary (especially in times like this) and think more critically about their creative activist work. To make small, specific, and even silly critiques of the world around them before espousing solutions.

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Creative Saviour Complex

  1. 1. Yeli @YellzHeard omayeli.com
  2. 2. Creative savior complex
  3. 3. Creative savior complex ✅Misunderstanding of the problem
  4. 4. White savior complex a white person helping non-white people and ... ❏ The help is self-serving ❏ They believe themselves to be better than the people they’re helping ❏ Don’t believe in consulting the people they want to help or that those people are capable of helping themselves given the right circumstances
  5. 5. The White Man's Burden Take up the White Man's burden — Send forth the best ye breed — Go bind your sons to exile To serve your captives' need; To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild — Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.
  6. 6. “If we are going to interfere in the lives of others, a little due diligence is a minimum requirement.” - Teju Cole @tejucole
  7. 7. “The people closest to the pain should be closest to the power.” - Ayanna Pressley @AyannaPressley
  8. 8. Creative savior complex ✅Misunderstanding of the problem ✅[insert creative tool] is the answer
  9. 9. Creative savior complex ✅ Misunderstanding of the problem ✅ [insert creative tool] is the answer ✅ No concern for *actual* impact
  10. 10. Creative savior complex ✅ Misunderstanding of the problem ✅ [insert creative tool] is the answer ✅ No concern for *actual* impact ✅ The opportunities to “help” are invariably in line with the creator’s career and learning agenda
  11. 11. ✅Something I want to learn ✅Will look good in my portfolio ✅Does good (?)
  12. 12. motherfuckingwebsite.com
  13. 13. Creative savior complex ✅ Misunderstanding of the problem ✅ [insert creative tool] is the answer ✅ No concern for *actual* impact ✅ The opportunities to “help” are invariably in line with the creator’s career and learning agenda ✅ More interested in aesthetics of activism
  14. 14. Stupid Shit No One Needs and Terrible Ideas Hackathon @StupidHackathon
  15. 15. Unfriend the Poors, JB Rubinovitz Hypochondriapp, Emily Xie Outcognito Mode, Harold Cooper Infinite Folders, Aaron Montoya-Moraga Egg Timer, Pam Liou
  16. 16. “When you produce something that has no value on purpose, what you're really creating is a critique.” Sam Lavigne, @sam_lavigne
  17. 17. @MyPresidentIs
  18. 18. https://github.com/dariusk/corpora
  19. 19. ❏Botwiki- bot starter template ❏Tracery - generating text ❏Corpora - data
  20. 20. @ArtConnoisseur_
  21. 21. @Y_Under_YBot
  22. 22. @MixDiversity
  23. 23. twit-original.glitch.me
  24. 24. face-the-music.glitch.me
  25. 25. ❏p5.js- drawing on a canvas ❏clmtrackr - face detection ❏tone.js - sounds
  26. 26. “The function of saying nothing, is that it’s a precursor to having something to say. ‘Nothing’ is neither a luxury nor a waste of time, but rather a necessary part of meaningful thought and speech.” Jenny Odell, @the_jennitaur
  27. 27. dweb-data-zone.glitch.me
  28. 28. dweb-data-zone.glitch.me
  29. 29. The Internet can often be a mirror for real life. We see the structural problems we face offline reflected in online publications, tweets, and Google searches. If web browsers are our window onto the Internet and thus, the world, browser extensions can be a way of saying This is what I want the world to look like and sharing that vision of the future with others.
  30. 30. “You can use the power of words to bury meaning or to excavate it. If you lack words for a phenomenon, an emotion, a situation, you can't talk about it which means you can't come together to address it let alone change it.” Rebecca Solnit
  31. 31. http://tinyletter.com/yeli
  32. 32. “What is important, what corrals you, what bullwhips you, what drives you, torments you, is that you must find some way of using [whatever it is that hurt you] to connect you with everyone else alive.” James Baldwin
  33. 33. Yeli @YellzHeard omayeli.com

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