Save the world (and my future job)
A friend asked me what it is that attracts me to the field of development studies. I heard myself talking about equity, ethics, idealism, change and I was critical about it all. As it goes in conversations one topic leads to another, in this case the theme of our thesis. I talked about the topic I have in mind: partnerships between the public and the private sector, its dangers and immense opportunities. She interrupted: for the past fifteen minutes I had been giving critic on development aid so why not give prominence to that theme in my thesis? No, that’s what we have artists for (okay, and some academics). TINKEBELL, a controversial Dutch artist, for example.
TINKEBELL, pseudonym of Katinka Simonse (1979), became known because of her provocative art: cat-killed-bag-made or her “Save the Pets” project where 95 hamsters were running around in so called hamster balls. I want to talk about her new, not yet finished, art project called “SAVE THE WORLD” in which TINKEBELL does world saving interventions across the globe to “show what happens when we force our (Dutch) view of the world on other cultures”.
Thanks to TINKEBELL, a big heart was painted in the neighbourhood Rimac in Lima (see youtube fragment and this link), 69 turtles in Shanghai were saved as well as one Gambian streetdog, a home in Guinea-Bissau was IKEA-pimped (see youtube fragment) and one man in Beijing is intensely happy now. The next idea is to make a naked calendar [Dutch only] to help (to save) Philippian prostitutes.
In her opinion there is Western superiority in development aid and of course, that statement lacks nuance: certainly not all development aid is fuelled by Western concepts anno 2012. Nevertheless, she caught a hot theme (who does not know anyone who set up their own development project?) and reached more listeners than the best scientific article on this topic ever did.