On the role of the artist

Frowning,

shaking head,

sighing,

keeping on looking at the pictures,

making comments,

frowning,

shaking head,

sighing,

scrolling down for more images,

expressing sympathy,

frowning,

shaking head,

sighing,

sharing,

Look at these images oh poor them isn’t that horrible how can one do something like that there’s no moral what if that happened to us aren’t the politicians going to do anything is it still safe to demonstrate they are not even human anymore

 

and what if I choose not to react in the way that is expected of me? and what if I don’t want to look at these images at all? and what if I refuse to read the papers and to watch the news? and what if I dare to speak the truth that one by looking at these images experiences more secret discomfort and uneasiness than sympathy? and what if I want to bring these images to the world in another way, to invoke other feelings, to leave other impressions?

and which position should I take, that of an artist, or that of a Somebody?

 

I’m afraid to voice my thoughts. I hesitate to defend my arguments. I struggle to find words that match the formless ideas in my imagination.

It’s important to express your opinions, they would say. But I don’t know if my opinion is right.

Let us hear and discuss about it, they would say. But I don’t think any argument can be wrong.

The more reason to share it, they would say. But I doubt the point of discussing when knowledge is insufficient.

Maybe by expressing my assumptions I’d be imposing my thoughts on others. Maybe it’s what has repeated over and over again in history. Ideals we have, courage we have, the will we have: we want to change the world, we want to improve humanity. Love we have, hatred we bear. We express, we discuss, we fight. We turn to others for help: family, friends, neighbours, volunteers, activists, philosophers, scientists, politicians,

artists.

 

Please spare me of such a great anticipation. Please don’t expect me to make art that speak to and for humanity. Please don’t expect me to get involved.

I wouldn’t know how to make my works speak with the voice of thousand demonstrators, how to represent the ideal of million men in one canvas of a square meter, how to scale down all the colours and facets of the society into green, black, blue, red, violet, yellow, orange, circles, squares, triangles, octagons, straight and scribble lines, how to revive history on a flat surface, to call to mind vision of the future, or to capture either the ingenuity or the chaos of the moment.

I wouldn’t know how to express my ideas without offending others, how not to make caricature on the suffering of the sufferers, how not to show envy for the success of the successful, how to offer sympathy without making others feel pathetic, how to please the ideals of one society without driving back those of another.

I wouldn’t know how far I should go in my comments and critiques, how long I should stay persistent and cling onto one manifest, how much of my daily life I should change to match the ambition present in my art, how far I should step out of my own comfort zone to reach the spectators, how much I need to know of general culture and politics so as not to make a false judgment.

I wouldn’t know how not to violate individuals’ privacy in the process of gathering and handling materials, how to use persuasion to get people to collaborate, how to respect others’ possessions, how (not) to make the population aware of their social identity.

 

Please spare me of the hope that my message will reach anyone.

Art raises the consciousness in people, they would say. But maybe only of those who are already conscious?

Art influences the way we think and look at the world, they would say. But maybe only to those who already look and think?

Art represents the spirit of a time period in history, they would say. But maybe only from the point of view of a certain group?

 

 

Frowning,

shaking head,

sighing,

keeping the board up high,

screaming slogans,

frowning,

shaking head,

sighing,

walking in group,

wagging flags in the air,

frowning,

shaking head,

sighing,

sharing,

Have you seen the images oh poor them isn’t that horrible how can one do something like that there’s no moral what if that happened to us aren’t the politicians going to do anything is it still safe to demonstrate stay together they are not even human anymore we will get through this time of crisis

 

and what if I choose to react in the way that is expected of me? and what if I keep looking and nourishing myself with these images? and what if I read the papers and watch the news? and what if I appear sad and cry and sigh and express sympathy? and what if I bring these images to the world, hoping for identical reactions?

 

Too subtle. Too direct. Too weak. My voice dies out against all the voices of thousand people. My thoughts silence among the footsteps of thousand men.

Listen to me, I would say. But there are countless other opinions to hear.

Mine may have an influence, I would say. But so are others.

Let me know if it is right or wrong. But the wrong and the right mingle.

 

I’m afraid to voice my thoughts in a sensationalistic way. I hesitate to defend arguments that are impersonal. I struggle to find words and ways of expression that will be able to connect individuality to universality.

 

Art only raises the consciousness in people who are already consicous, I would say. And I don’t want to be the ignorant.

Art only influences the way those who look and think think and look at the world, I would say. And I want to keep eyes wide open and to have a good head on my shoulders.

Art only represents the spirit of a time period in history from a certain group’s point of view, I would say. And I want to be one of those who can see and tell stories about the present.

 

Letters, syllables, accents, words, phrases, points, lines, curves, circles, triangles, rectangles, octagons, black, yellow, red, violet, blue, white don’t seem to be sufficient to express a thought, an opinion, an ideal, a hope. But against the urge they help to speak out the unspoken, to write down the unwritten and to give form to the formless.

I wouldn’t know if my voice is heard, if my words are read, if my images are seen, if my ideas are discussed.

I wouldn’t know how my work can reach another individual, what this individual thinks of my propositions, how this individual may react to my opinions, how long it would take till my ideas become clear, what the best way is to acheive the aim of the visual communication.

I wouldn’t know if my thoughts are wrong or right, if they can be both or neither, if my approach is too imposing or rushing, if I’m intruding into the comfort zone of others, if there is any influence and if any influence is needed at all.

I wouldn’t know what in the world around me I should pay attention to, what amount of knowledge I need to possess to understand and to be understood, to be convinced and to strengthen conviction, what I should or should not mention, what to caress and what to offend, what to criticise and what to praise, what to underline and what to let go, what to give and what to take.

I wouldn’t know how it feels like to be in the shoes of those I fight for or against, how it is to look at the world from the point of view of someone who has had a different life, if truth or conformism should prime, if what I support at the moment won’t be a mistake in the future and what I’m against a good choice we should have made.

I wound’t know how to defend arguments that are doubted, how to be certain of anything other than uncertainty.

 

Please spare me of the urge to know and to comprehend.

Societies are made of individuals, they would say. But it’s not evident to find one’s position in it.

To react as an artist is to adapt a position in this society, they would say. But I don’t know if this intervention has any significance.

Add the significance to where needed, they would say. But one’s notion of sense is different from that of another.

Maybe it has always been the way things evoluate. Maybe it is needed to have a pushing hand. Ideals we have, courage we have, the will we have: we express, we discuss, we fight. We turn to others for help: family, friends, neighbours, volunteers, activists, philosophers, scientists, politicians,

 

artists.

_by Cu_

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