A reflection on art, power and politics
I feel more hopeful about the future with Mozart than with Merkel. I get more happy with Satie than with Sarkozy. Bob Dylan’s poetry seems to me to have more lasting value than Obama’s rhetoric. Indeed, I wonder whether all museums and galleries in the world will not still stand when Pentagon has become irrelevant and converted into the UN World Culture Centre. And I get the sense that Robert Rauschenberg was more creative in his field than my prime minister is in his.
Natalia # 20 (In front of Gerhard Richter)
© Jan Oberg 2011
Art can take us to new horizons in a time when politics, economics – not to mention the military – have lost credibility with virtually everyone and hardly offer meaning or hope.People in power do what they have always done, grab as much as they can, play their games and close the roads to a better future for all, visionlessly. If anything gives me hope today, it seems to be the creativity of the arts and innovative entrepreneurial businesses that work for the good of humans, society and Nature. The arts can do that as long as they don’t aim to serve as decoration – calculatingly expensive at that – in the rooms of power. And I think the arts are going to win: Occupy Wall Street and 1500 other places around the globe! Arab Spring! Russian Perhaps Spring. Satire! We don’t give a damn about obedience anymore! We do something else, poetically – anti and pro in one. Nonviolence is political art. Violence – such as bombings and occupation – is no art. It can’t be. It is destruction-only! When Gandhi bowed down in Dandi and picked up salt there on the beach, it was art, it was a happening, an installation. The art genius, the Charlie Chaplin of world politics, signaled the beginning of the end of the British Empire. It’s all about the ability to SEE the potentials in what is – and realize it, express it – “being the change you want to see.” Isn’t that exactly what people do in the arts? What do you think will shape human future most constructively?