09

Sep

11:18am
Ben Lunn Britain
What is our responsibility?

What is our responsibility?

Ben Lunn Britain//11:18am, Sep 9th '21

The art world, like many elements of culture, have drifted further and further away from the social reality, becoming increasingly a social currency for the middle and upper classes. This has been developing in many different forms – be it the promotion of ‘art for art’s sake, increased reliance on charitable status or increased dependence on wealthy donors, cuts to education, or cuts to arts funding from state sources.

This has created a situation where politics in the arts has been forced into a very narrow ‘acceptable’ window – where liberal concerns like ‘how do we get the LGBT community better representation’ or ‘what does a decolonised arts education look like?’ However, politics focused on class or challenges the norms or material problems that plague society is almost actively pushed away from the discussion entirely.

The elite level of the arts has found itself in an incredibly contradictory situation. A situation where they are open to admitting – there aren’t enough of the X community in our art circles – but never looking at the material problems which stop that very community from being able to explore the arts as a profession. In short, admitting things are not great, but not fighting to change things.

Many artists, like all workers, are disconnected from the means to be able to produce culture i.e. artists do not own venues/galleries and other factors. This means, like all workers, this alienation from the means of production restricts our ability to live and create independently. Unlike other workers, artists have a difficult conundrum produced by the class nature of most art workers. This means, the politics at best are liberal – namely a positive spin on the system, not an emancipatory solution.

With the class and power dynamics that exist in the arts, it is no surprise artists have drifted from the masses – do you chase the people of influence and increase your chance of work and stability, or do you find a way to engage the masses without any stability, and increased chances of poverty?

Image

Click here to subscribe our monthly magazine

So, what is the responsibility of an artist?

In short, we have two battles to fight. The infrastructure that holds the arts hostage needs overhauling. We need a vision of egalitarian art, which simply allows arts to exist to promote a nation’s culture and because they are a voice of the populace – as Lukács points out art is a totality of society.

Alongside this improvement of our rights as workers, we as art workers need to be more increasingly engaged with the masses. As Mikis Theodorakis, Hanns Eisler, Grupo Pancasan, Mayakovsky, Jana Natya Manch, and numerous others have shown – the masses genuinely love art that is built for them. This is not, encouraging some Zhdanova vision of slightly kitsch ‘heroism’, but simply engaging with the masses as equals means dialogue is created where workers can be challenged and represented in the arts.

In reality, the arts are a reflection of our society – as workers our priority should be on improving that society. Though this improvement most often means fighting for reforms, a win on each front is a big victory for the workers as a whole. As Hanns Eisler said ‘music does not win a revolution, but it

does help’. We have to be realistic, when in a period of revolution, the arts can be an important propaganda tool, however, in times of stable peace, the arts can at best poke the metaphorical bear, or at least celebrate the needs and desires of the masses.

Image

Our responsibilities as artists should never be bogged down in the formalism of aesthetics or style or experimentalism, but simply we should focus on how we can better the world of those around us – either through action or our art. We should not avoid engaging the masses, we should address their concerns as our equals and do everything we can – either artistically or practically – as artists, as the intelligentsia of our time, we should continue to serve our class.

A report on the nationwide general strike in the largest democracy of the world
Own Correspondent//2:16am, Nov 27th '20

A report on the nationwide general strike in the largest democracy of the world

There was a nationwide general strike today in the largest democracy of the world, India, at the call of all central left and democratic trade unions although existence of democracy is under serious....

Read More
Music as an expression of protest against class and racial divisions- part 4 of 4
Gordan Stosevic Slovenia//1:21am, Dec 14th '21

Music as an expression of protest against class and racial divisions- part 4 of 4

This led to him being indicted in 1957 for contempt of Congress, as was the case with many other prominent figures including the famous screenwriter Dalton Trump and the artist Will Gere Sieger who were....

Read More
Living in an Age of War: Russia, Ukraine and the Way Out
Special Correspondent The International//10:51pm, Feb 27th '22

Living in an Age of War: Russia, Ukraine and the Way Out

The events that have unfolded in Ukraine have been very unsettling. As Ukrainians flee their country and the west imposing the harshest of the sanctions in Russia, it is imperative that we delve deeper....

Read More
PATRIA O MUERTE! In defense of the Cuban Revolution
Sumedha Chatterjee from Ireland//1:18am, Jul 20th '21

PATRIA O MUERTE! In defense of the Cuban Revolution

Cuando me veo y toco, yo, Juan sin Nada no más ayer, y hoy Juan con Todo(When I look at myself and touch myself, I, Juan with nothing just yesterday And today, Juan with everything)For Nicolás....

Read More
From gypsy witchcraft to protestant Fascists- an attempt of a social study of British society with The Peaky Blinders
Stella Bauml Austria//1:05am, Jun 30th '22

From gypsy witchcraft to protestant Fascists- an attempt of a social study of British society with The Peaky Blinders

“Past the square, past the bridge,Past the mills, past the stacksOn a gathering storm comesA tall handsome manIn a dusty black coat withA red right hand” -From the Intro of season one, “Red Right....

Read More
Cuba Under Fidel
Work of The International//11:41pm, Nov 26th '22

Cuba Under Fidel

Fidel Castro's administration brought Cuba to the attention of the world due to a number of factors, including his steadfast commitment to communism, his criticism of capitalism, and the economic and social....

Read More