Discussions of Day 1


  • Hello all,

    I joined this circle a bit overdue and there are indeed many intriguing contributions to read through and soak in. I am also having a bit of an inner quandary here given my professional practice both as artist and curator/art coordinator. So instead of answering the original question I will shift slightly.

    One thing that I have not yet noticed in this discussion topic is the importance of active engagement of the society itself (understand, the public) with the artist’s work or with the arts overall. I am wondering whether it might be that the whole relationship between the general public, both as individuals and in collective sense, and ‘the artworld’ and its members does not constitute partly for the essence of this problematics. Passive and disinterested audience, or audience initially discouraged by the nature of contemporary art has the power to anesthetise any well-meant impact of a socially-engaged artist. Of course, this goes back to the question of civil passivity, but also to the inaccessibility and elitism of contemporary art.

    To make current artworld more transparent and localised may be one step for art to have greater, more direct impact on the society.

  • Profesor Ewa Łętowska while commenting on the current situation in Poland remarked "There comes the time in life of everbody that thay have to say either a big "Yes" or a big "No". I think that this statement is quite universal. When it comes to artists, they are very sensitive to what is going on around, on the one hand, and very creative on the other. So, their "YES" or "NO" is usually very visible and very audible. Is it a curse or is it a blessing? In my opinion, the latter.

  • Just Some thoughts: art has impact when iT interacts with public, one person or many. What the impact is depends on the artwork itself, the intention of the artist and the context of ITs presentation and then on the condition the receiving person(s) is in. That are many variables.
    The next question is what kind of impact artists want to have on their surroundings and how to achieve it: just through the artwork itself, through the process of making the artwork and who gets involved (target groups, usual art lovers or other groups) and/or where You present the artwork.
  • Hello, really lots of interesting inputs so I am sorry if I repeat something that has already been said. I think it might be unfair to ask an artist or intellectual to compulsory have an impact on the society or to plan a specific input unless as Chris put it is mentioned in a specific contract, more to any other citizen. I strongly believe arts impact on our mores, development and understanding of the world. I am a strong supporter for arts in schools and for facilitating access to arts and artists.

    However the decision of engagement should be a personal choice and not a standard or an expectation. Being an artist does not make one being a political or social competent or benevolent being.
    These last days we saw in Bucharest artists stating that they do not want foreigners among them. Probably I feel a bit more sad that artists had a xenophobe discourse however I should I have expected more from them?
  • Hello everybody,

    I find it interesting to explore the role of arts and artists past criticism: from what it is now (the truth-telling function of critical art and activism) to imagining of what might be (visionary art). Such acts of utopian imagination might be unrealistic, dream-like, impossible. But they create, open up spaces to imagine new possibilities. And once these seemingly improbable alternatives are visualized, the audience is disrupted with the question: “what if…?” Can that be the way intellectuals and artists impact society?

  • Dear all,
    I think that artists and intellectuals do not necessarily need to consider their impact on society, but those who do or, rather, claim they do, are in too many cases, and most particularly in western societies, unfortunately too remote from the new realities of society. Hence the lack of impact of their art. I am certainly not blaming them; it is just that, like the rest of society, they haven't been able to decipher the immense societal transformation that has been going on in the last years/decades. Yet it is most certainly artists, perhaps even before scientists, who will at some point be able to describe the new societal configuration and possibly trigger, by a chain reaction, solutions to the immense problems (e.g. political radicalization, environmental risks) we're currently facing.
    Now, how we manage to create new conditions likely to enhance artist creativity and accelerate a such urgently needed phenomenon remains the question...

    • Bruno,

      I agree with you in general terms. Art has become very much a fancy of the fancy myself.

      But, what about those artists who are maybe 100 or 200 years ahead of their time? They may seem deaf, blind and mute. They are not. 

      Also many of us have already contributed to this description and this description is already being implemented in parts and in day-to-day conditions. Do they get visibility? this was discussed in a different theme forum. Media. Media. Media. What do media do? Media and establismnet = slaughterhouse.

  • artists must always understand their impact on society. Today, contemporary art is no longer able to interpret reality and for the first time in history it is regressive. The artists have lost the true sense of responsibility and also  the sense of  analysis and interpretation of our and next world

  • This is not real food for thoughts. Just sharing my feeling for a while.

    In the madness of our days, while watching the news and feeling helpless and weak, the thought my art could be a small contribution to raising a voice from the bottom of sorrow and pain is sometimes an unsaid hope. But if it really does... 

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