There was a lovely article in today’s Guardian about reducing our noise footprint on the world. Consider the silence of the last month my contribution to that…
There have been dozens of highlights over the last few weeks – gift after gift after gift. I need some distance to be able to articulate them, but as I sift through scribbled notes and half remembered quotes in my notebook today (my last day in the uk), I keep coming back to one page. It’s some words I wrote down from the Francis Alys exhibition at the Tate Modern. They were written on the wall – an exploration of the poetic and the political.
Society allows (and maybe expects) the artist – unlike the journalist, the scientist, the scholar, or the activist – to issue a statement without any demonstration: this is what we call “poetic license”.
This condition leads to a number of questions:
– can an artistic intervention truly bring about an unforeseen way of thinking, or is it more a matter of crating a sensation of meaninglessness that shows the absurdity of the situation?
– can an artistic intervention translate social tensions into narratives that in turn intervene in the imaginary landscape of a place?
– can an absurd act provoke a transgression that makes you abandon the standard assumptions of the sources of conflict?
– can those kind of artistic acts bring about the possibility of change?
– how can art remain politically significant without a doctrinal standpoint or aspiring to become social activism.
I think I’ve been anxious over the last few years that what we do is somehow indulgent. I’m going home realising it might actually be essential. If we have the capacity to be poetic, then we also have an imperative to do so. This is why we must be evocative, to imagine new worlds that have no words to describe them, no theology that yet surrounds them…
It’s a good thought to fill 24 hours on a plane flight. I’ll be home in two days. See you on the other side.