We connected with Ella Wylynko from GOSHI, a youth artist collective in Perth, Australia to discuss the current state of youth activism and their guide to Playing the System. A video series exploring how youth are playing the systems they’ve been left with while searching for positive change in the state of the world.
Youth around the world are becoming more and more mobilized politically. Climate change and its implications tend to drive the dialogue. Is that a big part of the conversation in youth culture in Perth?
Isolated, alone, lacking culture and incredibly conservative all seem to be the general descriptives used when referring to Perth. While this may apply to the older generations, I can say for certain this is not the climate that surrounds the youth of Perth and the conversations being held in classrooms, bars, skateboard parks, beaches and cafes. This is not the conversation being held on stages, in lectures, in youth committee groups and on youth boards. This is not the conversation in the slightest.
While some youth remain disengaged from politics and social activism - and lets be fair not everyone needs to be - most young people in Perth, and most young artists specifically are taking a stance against the current federal government and are articulating their discontent and satisfaction with certain positions being taken. Climate change, following the Same-sex marriage vote, has really started to enter the picture.
Perth is environmentally unique. We live on stolen land, resting on a culture never granted sovereignty, reliant on our perfect seasons and unfortunately mining companies that support our economy. However, due to the growing movement towards animal rights, environmentalism, sustainability and conservation and due to the incredible capabilities of social media, young people are growing increasingly aware and agitated at the snowball of issues that aren’t being resolved surrounding our environment.
Climate change is over-taking the conversation.
Playing the System brings up an idea about a new kind of activism, where you change the system from within instead of directly confronting it. As youth slowly infiltrates this system, where do you think this will take us?
Playing the system is about infiltrating the systems already in place; making them work for us and changing them to be more ethical and sustainable. This can occur from the minute to larger scale liberalism, capitalism and nationalism. So what is the end goal? To encourage (as ad-busters puts it) a ’new world order’ in which we use our democratic system of government to stand for the people properly and recognise and respond to the voices in a positive influential way, rather than to just get votes. But we want to stay smart about it, rather than create a greater divide between generations but unite it instead. As so many social justice movements fail to harmonise both sides and further create a gap between them. The final goal is to live in a world that doesn’t favour those who happen to be born in to certain circumstances. One that lets everyone thrive. Be heard. Be recognised.
The desire and need for drastic societal change is definitely in the air around the world. How do you think today’s youth can change things to guide us to a more sustainable future?
Sustainability comes in many forms; environmental, economical and political are the three largest. Todays youth are recognising the need for a uniting of these three realms and are vowing to educate themselves and others about how this can occur. Of course there are still those pursuing STEM subjects, but they are equally as important for informing the decisions being made, along with an understanding of the arts. As we move towards a more interdisciplinary world we are crying for a mindset that is about collective decisions rather than independent ones. I see us changing the future through our respective fields, but personally I believe art will be the biggest driver. Not in a philosophical, pretentious sense; in a ‘design influences your mindset’ ‘advertisements persuade you do buy/do shit’ ‘articles, films, artwork all make you feel, make you think, make the inaccessible ideas accessible’. Art will showcase exactly what is wrong, all the views, all the ideas, all the possible solutions and guide us towards being more sustainable, more ethical and more appreciative of the beautiful world in which we are lucky enough to inhabit. That is what GOSHI stands for.
What do you say to those who think it’s too late to change and that we are doomed to fail?
You’re probably right.
No, I’m clearly joking. However, this does seem to be the overshadowing cloud that is starting to encompass us all. But, as many people within the older generations say and history tells, humanity has never and will never be perfect so we are all just progressing as fast as we can. Progression itself is a mindset that didn’t exist in ancient indigenous cultures as such. Progression is another world view. But it’s the most positive and powerful one we have. Personally I believe the scariest thing we have to face is technology progressing so fast that is transcends the progression of our consciousness. So until that happens, it’s not too late - we start changing our old ways, implementing new ways, learning to live lifestyles that we haven’t before and making more conscious, self-aware decisions. And of course we start playing the system on a personal and global scale.