Monday 29 March 2010

they'll do the asking themselves

Over at the RSA's arts and ecology blog, William Shaw argues: we shouldn’t be asking artists to make art about climate.

I agree to some extent that the practice of artists and performers, and how sustainable that practice is, can be considered separately from the content of the work. But not entirely separately. I agree that's it's impossible to trace the causal links between works of art and political engagement. I agree, also, that you can't ask artists 'to do climate'.

But we are living in a period of transition which is changing the nature of our imagination as profoundly as the Renaissance. (See, for instance, our world is a science fiction.) I've written elsewhere that over the last 20 years the IPCC reports have changed the way we think about ourselves:

it has led us to rethink the parameters of cause and effect, and costs, and personal responsibilities, and the interdependence of countries, and the trade-off between our lives and future generations 

It would be hard to see how artists could fail to want to engage with that.

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