Arjun Bali was born in Jodhpur Rajasthan, India. He was raised in the theatre of injustice that needed constant advocacy against oppression. He chose the power of narrative storytelling as his revolutionary option and went on to study English literature, and then visual and development communication in India. He also experienced Japanese culture as an exchange scholar in Osaka. His paranoid objects are carried in two pieces of art titled ‘1984’ and ‘THIS TREE,’ which connected him to Doing Things with Stories.
His narrative change works are expressed in poetry, writing, directing films, design, and painting. He has and still works with Bollywood, television and advertising companies from India to the Netherlands. His most transformative narrative work is a music video on HIV/AIDS for the NGO Breakthrough India titled ‘Maati,’ which has been used as a tool for change in over a dozen countries.
His focus is on helping others stand up against injustice and oppressions in society, especially through literature and the TV/film industry. As a filmmaker and narrative change maker, he would like to bring awareness and kindness as an inspiration to the heroes of change through the tools of his craft.
The following two images are meant to be used as ‘visual punctuations.’
They are to be used as centrefolds, opening out to poster size, within a book. Here on the website as part of this article. The first image is the = sign. It is repeated 1,984 times. One, bottom centre, is in red to symbolise the same coloured blood that flows within our veins. The rest are to be filled in by the many people who interact with it. It can be filled with anything. Anything that represents Equal to you. It could be your flag, your alphabet, your doodle, your mini story, hashtags… feel free to express yourself. Rewrite the 1984 Orwell wrote about, and which we all have witnessed in more ways than one in the last few decades.
The second image is a tree with labels for leaves. Empty boxes, actually. These, too, have to be filled with your impressions after reading Doing Things with Stories. This tree has to be filled with hope, colours, smells… and inspirations from the book.
In 1948, George Orwell wrote 1984 about a dystopian, authoritarian world that would take away our individual freedoms away.
These 1,984 Equal symbols are for us to change the Orwellian nightmare most of us find ourselves in, which has been accepted as the new normal. While the world has progressed by leaps and bounds in technology, food production, medicine, engineering, environmental issues, and just about everything we set out to do as people, we also find ourselves in the darkest hour of human history.
The last 100+ years, we have seen wars that killed millions and they continue in each of . These wars are being fought not only with guns but also with false narratives. Unkind narratives that hurt and maim people for stepping out of ‘line.’ For being different. For challenging the powers that be. For asking for equality. For food. For education.
In ‘1984 Equals,’ I invite you to fill each of the white ‘blanks’ with words, colours, ideas, stories (meta links), pictures, doodles, food. For change, hope, kindness, representation… for the world as you would like it to be. In your languages.
This is meant to be a collaborative narrative, a thought cloud, a change cloud.
The one Equal in Red in the last line is the colour of our blood. The one truth.
I’m not sure about ‘our’ neighbourhoods here as it seems too localised. Consider changing? Many neighbourhoods / places around the world
Response from Arjun: I would insist on keeping our neighbourhoods because by this I mean that there is some form of war and conflict in each and every persons’ neighbourhood. So if we replace it with “many neighbourhoods” or “places around the world” it suggests that there are some neighbourhoods where that doesn’t exist.
This is your tree. You have slept in it. Dreamed up different worlds in it. You have climbed it many a time. Swung from its branches. Had a meal in its shade or shared its fruit. Run circles around it. Hugged it too. We all know this tree.
This tree you will colour in your hues. In the blank spaces you will fill words, thoughts, ideas from this book, from these stories, or stories you want this tree to be. If you stare long enough, this tree will reveal its secrets. It will reveal other stories. It will reveal its dreams, horrors, aspirations, and love for you.
Share them with me.