Citizen Art & Visual Literacy Essential Understanding Language, literature, and the arts reflect the values and beliefs of a society and impact the transmission of culture. Social Contract In order to live in society, human beings agree to an implicit social contract, which gives them certain rights in return for giving up certain freedoms they would have in a state of nature. Thus, the rights (and responsibilities) of individuals are the terms of the social contract, and the state is the entity created for the purpose of enforcing that contract. Also, the people may change the terms of the contract if they so desire; rights and responsibilities are not fixed or "natural". However, more rights always entail more responsibilities, and fewer responsibilities always entail fewer rights. -Jean-Jacques Roussseau Student Activity Turn to your elbow partner and provide at least two examples of a modern social contract. Constitution of the United States : Preamble We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Artist’s Purpose “I liked the idea of using individual license plates from each state in the Union – [they] work together to form this bigger message. That was the same spirit and design of the real Constitution.” -Mike Wilkins Question One How does Wilkins’ artwork reflect a modern social contract? Question Two How does Wilkins’ artwork address the Essential Understanding: Language, literature, and the arts reflect the values and beliefs of a society and impact the transmission of culture. Optional Activity If you were to create this same type of art today, how would you represent a modern social contract?
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