I’ve been recently interviewed by Cari Williams of Recipe For Anarchy.
You can read the whole thing clicking HERE. However here I want to post the answer to the very last question, because it touched a very complex and important topic that certainly deserves many more pages (or books) of analysis, but it summarizes my current view on art.
In your opinion, what is the role of art in shaping society?
The role of art in society is a complex subject.
The definition of art is never fixed, it changes continuously, often imperceptibly. Hence it is always necessary for the artist to question and find that definition anew.This is especially critical in today’s society where technology overwhelms the senses with continuous and dissonant stimuli.
It’s something humanity has never experienced before, thus art can’t be regarded with the nostalgic eyes of renaissance nor as the bohemian “desperately beautiful” any longer.
Here I’m going to reformulate Art as something different. Not as a statement but as a dialectic response, often a question (Quest-ion).
Also, what I’m going to say mostly refers to the personal work of the artist, as opposed to the commercial. Many artists inevitably juggle both approaches, but it’s important to cast a light on the whole of it first.
Any forms of artwork aren’t inherently beneficial per se, as most think.
Art is a play on the symbolic, which is the very fabric of the psyche.
A perverted psychotic artist will produce perverted artwork, perverted myths and confuse further.
We just have to look at the nefarious effects of implanting old religions among foreign people, but also how language shapes ideologies.
When the roots get infected the tree starts to die.
Which is why the artist has the responsibility of seeking wisdom through his life as he expresses the Symbolic through art form.
This way he becomes a voice of the times in a much bigger context, and perhaps, ideally, the work reawakens and puts in place the archetypal content of the artist in the first place, and maybe of some of those who resonate with it.
But this is not what’s happening these days. Art is seen as a type of self-celebratory activity that justifies itself by itself. It’s the narcissistic Oscar Wildian “Art for art’s sake”.
This is not at all how I live art, which is why I often find myself very disconnected from the way “artists” out there work and think.
It’s not enough to get good at pencils, writing, singing or whatever medium we might choose.
The true work of the artist is within themselves first. That’s the hardest bit and the one everyone overlooks. Who wants to face the Shadow?
But there’s no other way. The artist generally picks a path of two: art and Art. Often handling a bit of both.
The first one, art, is an established path, art directed, full of promises and tin trophies, but one that doesn’t produce anything new. It’s the path of commercial art where the work must have a specific function. Popular and acceptable. Interesting voice of today, good for future archaeology, but often very stagnant.
Then there’s the hard path, Art, a wild forest, pretty dark and solitary. It’s the path of the artist who listens to an inner call, knowing that it’s an unforgiving journey that will force him to change and shed many skins, but ultimately it’s the only true rewarding path, because it’s full of the spirit of ancestry.
Here the artwork (or LifeWork) becomes an expression of the journey rather than a narcissistic self-serving feast of hedonism or a means to an end.
When we start to resonate with the Work (whatever it might be) there’s a sense of rebirth, like pieces of a puzzle finally matching.
It happens because we discover our legacy, art is no longer the queen’s mirror of vanity.
Of the two paths it’s only the first that sometimes leads to the dionysiac idea of beauty as “pleasure of the senses”. Dorian Gray falling in love with the painting of himself. I’m the means AND the end. Uroboric incest.
But why should we be surprised?
We live in a very hedonistic society and a lot of “artists” are accomplices of the collective neurotic confusion, not the saviors. Rather the unconscious gatekeepers of the establishment, parrots of the collective imaginary.
Many people are so disconnected as to say nonsense like: “Why do you worry? It’s JUST a drawing/song/movie/word, etc”.
“Just”, as if that thing was meaningless and had no psychological impact, as if it came from nowhere to go nowhere else, as if there were something else regulating interpersonal relationships other than the Symbolic (language).
This dramatic fallacy is the result of hardcore positivism, the modern form of psychological blindness that has gone tragically viral in our days.
So the hard Work has to start with words.
Speech is the key, always and inevitably. It’s not by chance that speech is the first thing that starts crumbling in social networks, beginning with writing and reading.
And it’s for this reason that in the past masters of speech and spelling were considered Magicians, the spellcasters.
Artists fulfill the same role.
It’s not a matter of seeing who’s the best artist, who deserves the award, who gets the money, but a matter of individual responsibility.
So how to begin? The initiation start with a big fire.
Something has to burn, like in those metaphorical scenes where we see a certain character going through a significant transition and throws all he has into a big fire, even his own clothes, and then sits in front of it, naked, looking into the flames devouring all the things he’s not.
This is how the Quest begins, the first step out of the cage, the leashed-mind or governed-ment.
An Art form that isn’t a Quest is not art.
I speak of what I know, and I don’t know much, but this is what I live. It’s not a theory for me.
So here’s what I’ve been cooking. My an-archontic recipe.