Witam, Welcome, Bienvenidos i Willkommen!

Posted in Main on November 24, 2008 by mocopilo

So here it is, the inevitable intention at the creation of my virtual happy universe. Yes, mi feliz universo, which I am so vigorously trying to build in the real world, however at times it is deemed as ‘almost’ impossible. With this said, I hope to receive comments from ‘you’ my colleagues, friends, family as so forth. One technicality is the language in which I shall write here. As, I feel most comfortable writing in English I will do so, however, any comments received will be answered in whatever language the comments were written (of course I have in mind solely the use of Polish, German or Spanish). I say this as my social circle encompasses the use of these languages. Buff, but to properly write in all is always a challenge. Well, like everything else in this world!

First, I would like to take a moment and pay tribute to the creation of this blog to someone very dear to my heart. The name of the blog speaks for itself. Here, I would like to post my thoughts regarding, well whatever is, was, or shall be on my mind. And, use this blog as a mean to stay in contact with ‘you’: my friends and family or whoever randomly ended up on this page. My current physical location is España, and mental location is Goa, Middle Earth and (not sure where) but in search of the lack of ethical responsibility.

Hmm.. I shall also intend to write a short intro for those who do not speak English, this I will do in due time. I say this as I am fully aware of my unreliable and indecisive nature. Therefore, I see the creation of this page as a way to keep the relationships between those close to me and an opportunity let you know what is on my mind.

Nareszcie powstal we mnie zamiar stworzenia mojego wlasnego szczesliwego, virtualnego swiata. Po hiszpansku okreslamy to jako; mi feliz univeso. Ten virtualny swiat probuje z vigorem stworzyc w naszym realnym swiecie, co czesto wydaje sie rzecza niemozliwa. Komentarz od kazdej osoby ktora przypadkowo wejdzie na moja strone, bedzie mile widziany. Znajac najlepiej jezyk angielski bede sie nim poslugiwac, uzywajac jezyka polskiego z pewnoscia zauwazycie wiele bledow. Nie mozna byc najleprzym we wszystkim. Najpierw chcialabym podziekowac osobie ktora pomogla mi wpasc na pomysl stworzenia tego blogu, ktorego nazwa mowi sama za siebie. Chcialabym wyrazic swoje mysli ktore chodza mi po glowie jak rowniez byc w kontakcie z tymi ktorzy sa mi bliscy choc zyja tak daleko. Fizycznie jestem w Hiszpani ale myslami jestem w Goa, w Middle Earth ( Tolken); i w poszukiwaniu braku etycznego obowiazku (Rozprawa naukowa ).

Graphic Novel: From Communism to Capitalism, an immigrant perspective

Posted in Main on June 1, 2009 by mocopilo

Introduction
This is venture of a spontaneous idea, an impulsive creative idea which will undertake politics in Poland during the communist period, the life of a family that emigration in search of the ideologies of the west, and a self-discovery journey of a girl with a hint of fantasy. The project is a creation from my internal conflicts with my past and discoveries along the way. I will use an imaginary world, with an autobiography to show the struggles and successes of immigrant children. The relationships in the story will deal with every emotion, limitations, identity, and personal strength of following ones dreams. Hereby, I am presenting my ideas of how I perceive art, why I believe it is important and how this idea could develop into a project.

Why is it important to use art?
It is vital to use different forms of art as I believe we are naturally drawn to creativity. Our senses are heightened and we can relate deeper to the message the artist is trying to portray. The sound of soothing music, attaches to a feeling or emotion bringing it forth allows us to become more aware of this feeling or emotion. The art of music makes me appreciate the beauty of sound. The ability of music, hearing it, is in a way a form of manipulation. It manipulates my connection to what I am feeling. Art is an internal door that opens; it allows an organic flow of my personal relation to the work of art. It is a way to your hidden or oppressed feelings. With an open door there is more room for the release of emotions or feelings. Your sense of being in touch with what you feel is strengthened by art.

If I were to search for music to represent peace, I would pick an artist that composes a melody bringing peace to my mood. One such artist is Ludovic Einaudi, with the splendid melody of piano and violin; one can dissolve into the world of emotions. Its beauty devours your body. Artwork is a tool of liberating your relation to the message in the work of art. A sweet melody, a captivating film, a vivid portrait can heighten our senses and we become more aware of what we are feeling when portraying the work of art.
Art brings us closer to ourselves, to what is underneath, to what we are feeling. It allows one to be true to what one is feeling, or what is hidden behind the masks, what lies underneath the thick skin. This is why art is relative. It all depends on our own perception of the artwork. This makes art such a powerful tool, it allows for our own interpretation. With the use of art, as in photography you are touched by an image and the image is frozen. This moment in time is frozen. You interpret art from your own perspective, personalizing the message the artist wants to relay.

By reading and interpreting any form of art be it a book, comic, or painting you are allowed to step into the creativity of another’s imagination; you are stepping into someone’s idea. Into a creative idea that become a story, an imagined world and you as reader are allowed to re-live what the author created. This is beauty. Art is a way of connecting us to others, to connect this incredible energy of creativity.

In addition, I believe art is vital to our well being. This idea is also argued by Eduardo Punset in a book titled The Happiness trip. Here the author tries to provide a scientific formula for happiness. One component is art. Punset states that a principal factor of happiness is the feeling of competence and autonomy and art allows everyone to have an experience with the use of art, overcoming our individual limitations. He defines this concept with an example of an individual watching a dance, or a painting; he states that art gives us “ways of getting away from our own limitations, of tripping towards happiness…” (Punset 2007: 128). Punset takes a scientific look at why art has an impact on the human psyche. He continues that art is as factor of liberation, communication, and stimulation, “art acts as a powerful mental stimulus” it “alters our consciousness; it helps us to go beyond reality and to touch the sky of happiness” (Punset 2007: 130).
With my constant personal search for this meaning of happiness and the freedom to be creative I combined both of these concepts, art and creativity as factors of happiness. This lead to the creation of the protocol.

Development of an idea
My idea to develop a graphic novel is based on four very important motivators in my life: the freedom to be creative, my immigrant past, search for identity, and the meaning of happiness. My first inspiration came from the lecture on media and its use as a tool. The animated film titled Persepolis was another inspirational factor. Marjane Satrapi, first published the comic that later developed into an animated film. Satrapi describes her story of living in Iran in the midst of war, revolution, and her immigration to Vienna and Paris (Satrapi, 2007). Through this medium she shares her very personal perspective, and the story of her country.

With the idea of an autobiographic comic or graphic novel combined with fantasy, I want to show the politics and life under communism. Including the dream of the west and search for prosperity that was a motivating factor for many Polish immigrants, like my family. I want to explore the idea of the ‘west’ and the life of more opportunities under the system of Capitalism. The struggle of immigrant children, by showing the life of a little girl who is forced to leave her home and friends into the world of the unknown where she is confronted with issues such as: discrimination, integration, responsibility, family relations, oppression in school, new cultural discoveries, and the separation from her roots.

Moreover, the depiction of the Solidarity movement as a nonviolent movement that was a burification point in the fall of communism. Exploring how the repercussions of this movement on families, in particular the life of this little girl. It is a story of the search for happiness which is portrayed by imigration to the capitalistic ‘West’. I have ideas to show this achievement of this dream represented by a more comfortable life in relation to work and materialistic goods. However, the girl is overwhelmed by the dystopia of this world, the idea stems from the classic film of Metropolis by Fritz Lang (Lang, 1927). The director depicts the lives of workers and owners under capitalism. In my script I want to show the change of values, repercussions; and struggles that are behind this search for prosperity desirable with the immigration to the ‘west’ under capitalism.

As I mention earlier from a scientific perspective Eduardo Punset relates unhappiness to consumerism in our modern world. Based on the theory of modern psychology of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, Punset states “the increase in unhappiness in today’s world can be explained by excessive investment in vacuous material goods, to the detriment of more intangible but lasting values” he continues by adding “modern society has invested too much in refrigerators, dishwashers, cars, cranes, highways, and digital equipment and too little in intangible values such as commitment to others or happiness” (Punset, 2007: 10). This relates to my ideas of my very own perception as an immigrant child whose parents emigrated from Poland due to the idea of a better life, defined by the ‘west’ and the possibility of obtaining the mentioned above tangible materialistic items.

Another inspiration was the film Good bye Lenin by Wolfgang Lecker. In this story of family relations in an epoch of communism and its fall, it is a tale of history and people dealing with social, political and economic changes. While watching the film I could relate to the ideas of cultural discoveries and the influx of goods, depicted by empty gray counters at grocery stores to the fun park atmosphere of beaming new colorful produce.

Why a graphic novel?
An autobiography in the form of a graphic novel/comic allows me to liberate the script, as an artist I can tell a story of characters which I create. I have all the freedom to make each character as I wish. It is my imagination and the freedom to experiment. It is about my creativity, the story I want to tell, the message I want to sink in with the audience. The freedom to express this message in any form I wish is amazing. The characters take a life of their own; they develop with each stroke of my pencil. With the stories of graphic novels, one can venture out on a journey of creativity, plunging into this imagined world of characters with graphics that increase ones perception and allows a plunge into the script. The characters become alive; one is invited into this world of vivid pictures, characters that speak and drawn on the sensitivity of ones sense to see this world that an artist imagined.

With the use of graphic novels one can tackle social issues, politics, personal relations, fear, hate, jealousy, greed, ecstasy and joy, basically any form of expression or emotion. Art is a form of personal expression; an artist tells a story and invites the audience into a glimpse of this world. The audience seeing a piece of artwork, hearing a melody, tasting a dish, enriches the experience. Art makes us realize or makes us more aware of what we are feeling towards a particular issue we are dealing with.

In addition, I also believe a graphic novel connects one to a childlike state; we are drawn to the imagery. It allows us to experiment with the issues of interpersonal relations, politics, ideology, emotions and whatever else the artist imagines. Graphic novels allow us to tackle or transmit a message, which has a profound meaning although it is done in a simple way with pictures and text.
A wonderful example of this is the graphic novel of Maus by Art Spiegelman (Spiegelman, 1986). Spiegelman shows gruesome images of brutality during the Nazi regime in the form of cartoons. He tells the story of his father during the Nazi occupation of Poland and how he survived the Holocaust, incorporating his troubled relationship with his father. The drawings with text have a simple but powerful message. One frame depicts a Nazi by a sketch of a cat checking the papers of Spiegelman’s father, Wladek who is a Jew. With the text of “Das haben die Deutschen gemach sehr gut, immer sie haben alles gemacht sehr systematisch”, Spiegelman sends a profound message ( Spiegelman, 1986:59). The systematic work of the Nazis resulted in the Holocaust. This message is present in the script; however it is depicted by one frame. Spegelman also plays with the stereotypes of ethnicity by using animal characters to represent different nationalities. This adds on to the remarkable and creative way to make an impact on his audience.

The script
My idea of the graphic novel is a story of a little girl, Mocopilo. She has a special gift, the gift of extraordinary intuition and ability to feel the energy of others. This wonderful gift allows her to truly listen and help those around her. This was inspired by the book of Michael Ende, Momo (Ende, 1984) as well as the methods of non-violent communication by Marchall Rosenberg, where Rosenberg shows the use of language in a non-violent way and the importance of listening (Rosenberg, 2003). The philosophy of Osho also inspired this idea. Osho states that if you attentively listen you forget yourself, and if you are unable to forget yourself you will not listen (Osho, 2007: 70).

Mocopilo is a very bright little girl, loves to pick mushrooms in an enchanted forest, sit in the grass braiding flowers into necklaces and bracelets. Her favorite activities are sitting in between the roots of ancient trees. This makes her feel as though the tree was embracing her. She loves to have her hair loose, twirl for hours in the grass, spend the days at the summer house of her grandmother, where the garden is full of flowers, and she can eat gooseberries and sit under the plum tree.
However, born in the 80’s in the epoch of communism she becomes an immigrant of an ideology of capitalism. The story is of a little girl who is forced to abandon her enchanted world due to the search for prosperity, also mistaken for happiness. This search means a farewell to family, friends and her beloved little puppy, Kizi. As she parts with her world she is unaware of what this actually means, what adventures await her. Although her older sister is always there to support her when Mocopilo is sad, as her sister is a fairy but she must not allow anyone to discover her secret. Mocopilo’s favorite person is her grandmother, who also had this incredible gift of intuition, on the other hand, she is a magician who was sent from a the land of magic to show the human race the power of empathy, through the language of love and the true meaning of happiness. Her amber magic ring protects her from negative energy of greed, selfishness, power, violence.
As Mocopilo and her family leave their country, a shadow casts over them, the shadow of sadness, of violent and/or no communication. The incredible gift that Mocopilo possessed slowly fades away. She looses her gift and the story depicts the struggles to regain this gift. It is a story of a self-discovery journey filled with the dichotomies of human relations and emotions.

The story will be fiction and non-fiction from a personal perspective of life under communism in Poland, the conditioning of constant comparisons with the ‘west’ which was full materialistic items not available during this time in Poland. Situations such as the idea of ‘life is better in the west’. How this is portrayed by children. The comparison of friends having Barbies brought from the west, the sharing of a coca-cola over a period of a few days to savor the flavor, and/or the happiness of eating a bananas. Discovering furniture on the streets in Germany, used by immigrants in their new start. For a child it was a wonderland. I would like to talk about the repercussions of emigrating from ones country.

Two frames, an image of the beginning and the end.

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First frame:
A sketch of a small car, called ‘maluch’, it is a Fiat 126 mostly produced in Poland. It is typical cultural representation of a car in Poland. The Fiat has a connection with the politics of Poland during the communist period. I used it in this sketch as it was the car we had, and the car in which we immigrated to West Germany. The representation of the stacks of suitcases is what we looked like, but it was also a typical scene of Polish families, although very few, took vacations with this little car, packed on the inside and outside. The four people in the car represent my family. The sickle and hammer of course symbolizes communism, the eagle is the national coat of arms of Poland shown on the Polish flag. The fence is the emigration during the communist, the house depicts a typical German house, and the text “Wind of Change” is visible in the wind blowing from the east to the west and the changes taking place.

Second Frame: Mocopilo
This frame is a picture of the little girl at the end of her self-discovery journey; the picture depicts her connection to nature, as the flowers on the name, in her hair, and the ancient tree behind her. The tree has a relation to her past, she climbed in between the gigantic roots to receive embracement from the trees, but also it is a Celtic tree of life, which represents the interconnection of the world. These are the representations of the girl and her connection to nature, her favorite pastime activities before the emigration. She is also wearing, which is not very noticeable, a typical polish costume. It comprises of the flowers in her hair, the red beaded necklace and a top with colorful designs. The text in the frame reads “Here & Now”; this is a philosophy of the character that after the end of her journeys lives with this philosophy.

In a book titled Creatividad Osho states, “La persona viva de verdad es una persona del aquí y el ahora. No vive desde el pasado, no vive para el futuro; vive solo en el momento, para el momento. El momento lo es todo” (Osho, 2007: 84).

Who is my audience and why?
I am directing this graphic novel to youth and adults. I would like to create a fictional story based on an autobiography and tackle issues of ideologies, communism, capitalism, dissatisfaction of oneself in relation to others, crisis of identity, language and cultural barriers, social statues, definition of happiness, consumer societies, and many issues that immigrant children who develop into adults deal with. The story is not directed to children as the concepts are too complex. This of course is open for change, as I believe with the development of the story this could change.

Art and Peace
How is art related to peace? Art can give us the possibility to see another perspective, to use art as a form of transformation of conflict, internal and external, it gives us the possibility to change perspectives. Studying the Peace Master with the methods of Elicitive Conflict Transformation, I believe art can be used as a tool for the transformation of internal and external conflicts. My means of elicitive conflict transformation are the creation of a graphic novel regarding my internal conflict and those of other immigrants and who ever else can relate to my story. In my opinion, Peace, first starts with yourself, with inner peace and the ability of expressing your creativity. Art is creativity in its purest form. Art gives us the opportunity of different interpretations of peace, experimenting with our creativity for the transformation of conflict.
Osho in the book of Creatividad, proposes his philosophy of a three-dimensional human, who has the three C’s, “conciencia, compasión and creatividad”. Where conciencia es ser, compasión es sentimento y la creatividad es acion ( Osho, 2007:15). In my script I would like to use compassion, in other words empathy and awareness and my own creativity of making this project. This is my own interpretation of peace, the ability of expressing my creativity and hope that I could be of help or support to others through this project.
From a scientific perspective again Punset states that visual arts and music generate a feeling of well-being like other things such as food, sex, and drugs (Punset, 2007:124). For example, regarding music he states that in resent research it has been revealed that music, “by acting on the central nervous system, raises levels of endorphins, the brain’s own opiates, as well as other neurotransmitters such as dopamine, acetylcholine, and oxytocin” (Punset, 2007:124).

My projects relation to art and peace is also based on the methods of Marchall Rosenberg, non-violent communication (NVC). My characters in the story will apply methods of non-violent communication to transform conflicts. In my script I would like to use the two parts of NVC, expressing honestly through the four components and receiving empathetically through the four components. I would like to incorporate the dangers of judging yourself by comparison, as well as judging others, and issues of autonomy, by choosing ones dream, goals, values, integrity, creativity, interdependence, acceptance, closeness, empathy, honestly, love, trust and understanding (Rosenberg 2003:54). I want to show relationships based on honesty and empathy and the use of methods, such as NVC with art that promote internal and external peace. The transformation of conflict through the use of the language of love, NVC, to me represents a perfect relation of art and peace.

Conclusion
What does this all mean to me? It means that I am free to express myself and be creative. A form of freedom to face conflicts, transform them and send a message to an audience. It means a discovery of myself, fining my internal peace and dealing with my internal conflict while hopefully helping others do the same. It means a door of creativity that has been opened.