An artists’ protocol: seven artistic strategies

DAVID BERRIDGE: I’ve been asking people what role the artist can play in debates on climate change. To think through what people told me I juxtaposed responses to this question and a quotation from the Peoples’ Protocol on Climate Change. I wonder if  the idea of the artist that emerges will satisfy any of the demands of the protocol.

First here is an extract from the protocol:

“We, the people need a platform that raises real solutions, registers our voices, and articulates our demand for social justice. Real solutions go beyond “business-as-usual” technology – and market- fixes along which powerful interests have set and confined the climate agenda. Real solutions require the reallocation of the world’s resources between and within nations for equity and social justice; the reversal of neoliberal globalization; the restoration of people’s sovereignty over resources, economies and institutions; and the compensation by the corporations and the Global North of the poor and peoples of the South for the losses they are forced to bear as victims both of climate change and the social system that is behind it.

Socially just solutions also make for scientifically and ecologically sound ones. Using natural resources equitably and democratically , and supplanting the drive for private profit with the fulfillment of social needs as the principal economic goal will reset human society’s relationship with the environment on a far more sustainable path.”

And here are some things I was told about  the role of artists:

They are like mirrors of society they present different angles of climate change

Well [the responsibility of artists is to] use paint that is er not poisonous (laughs)

How artists well mmm by doing events in the way that artists are innovative and sometime they have some ideas that might provoke people

Because I think that in one way or another people need to be provoked because you think this is something that will not have an effect on me

Because by making events or exhibitions or whatever and trying to show it effects all of us…

Artists they have this obligation, so to say, that they should use their artistic skills to show other people that we have a problem yeah

I  tried to transcribe something of the speakers rhythms because these, too, tell about the artists’ role in climate change debates. A certain stuttering and hesitation towards efficacy  -  I write after taking part in today’s climate change march through Copenhagen – also  an intertwining sense of utopia and cliche.

So, trying to distill from these insights, here are seven artistic strategies. Check any art work for how it fulfills all seven:

(1)  Mirrors

(2)  Poisonous paint

(3)  Innovative

(4)  Provoke

(5)  It effects all of us

(6)  We have a problem

(7)  Laughs

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Posted: December 12th, 2009 | Author: David Berridge | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »