Page 1

What sort of relations between arts and politics for a planet 4° Celsius warmer - or may be 6°, or may be not in 2050 ? Sciences-Po Paris, Programme d’expérimentation en arts et politique

par Mawena Yehouessi


Mawena YEHOUESSI

What sort of relations between arts and politics for a planet 4° Celsius warmer —or may be 6°, or may be not— in 2050?

Bluntly speaking, this question comes with obviousness: that of the utilitarian potential of art, essentially as a communication tool, and such, serviceable to politics, the sphere of the social deed. Successes of the “Sidaction” campaigns (especially thinking of Dimitri Daniloff’s video) or any other daily masses of mass mobilization are, in this regard, good and common illustrations of a political use of arts. Hence the interest, not to say the requirement, is high in exploiting this potential, without qualms, as it aims to contending a major environmental threat like the upcoming one but also one for which the human responsibility would be ascertained. However, before embracing such a promethean posture and looking for suitable means, a number of legitimacies are to be questioned to find out why art, so willingly rebel, should commit itself to serve politics or act for science/technology/industry, in a cause for which it bears no responsibility at all? If the need to save humanity seems a sufficient motive, is it for art to endeavor to restore a status quo ante which has nothing to do with its own mission that is just saying emotions, this language of the soul? Or, given the failure of science and politics, isn’t it for art, the time for a new prophecy, a new takeover, provisional, to bring humanity back on tracks it has been diverted from by the rationalist imposture? To address these limitations and paradoxes, we shall begin to remember: 1) How the global warming issue is settled, its stakes and risks. The evocation of the scientific controversy existing about this environmental threat brings up to question the legitimacy of science to pretend asserting universally and undeniable truths. 2) The historical position of art: anarchist, it never ceases to be tamed by the prevailing thinking: dialectic of recognition, ontological to an approach that consists in ever opening new paths just to abandon them, as they become common places, official art. 3) The purpose of politics: born from art and science, this Métis plays by tricks and wisdom, upon emotion, upon attraction for novelty and upon reason, to put everything including art, the innovative, to its service. Now, it has also become state religion, what are its means of action? It is that the "maybe not" included in the original question is acceptable only at a rhetorical level, where one can examine and challenge any projection made as springing from one or another scientific movement. In speculative terms, diverse consensuses can and should be negotiated, mutually supporting each other, when it is not the case in terms of praxis: facing reality, the need is for effective actions only. Regarding technology trends to derive from scientific conclusions, forecasts leave no choice to our times: after Asia, is now occurring the demographic takeoff of Africa, with nearly 2 billion inhabitants in 2050. The unrest comes when one imagines the arising needs: energy, related gas emissions, agricultural lands thereby reducing forest carbon sinks etc…. Hence, the precautionary principle is no longer, just optional. Beyond this global warming issue, what is at stake from now on and that only art, the subversive, can denounce, is the future of this direction of mankind, based on a dominant technological culture whose overweening pride used to claim solving everything, including the question of individual happiness...What it is now about is a new meaning, more humble, of science and therefore of knowledge, that constantly question their foundations, accept themselves as conventional didactic constructs What is at stake, is that new mission for art, the prophetic, to announce an evolution of mankind, reminding us choices we had the intuition of, all time but the avatars of history have not let us deepen so far.

1


The global warming issue The facts The average temperature of Earth as a whole is not stable. It varies with time, as evidenced by analysis of geological layers. The heating is usually very slow: 0.2 degree between the year thousand and the end of the 19th century. Nowadays, the phenomenon occurs at an unparalleled rate in the past: in hardly a hundred years, the average temperature of the sphere increased by 0.6 degree. Worse, simulations by computer seem to indicate that the warming will accelerate and the average temperature could increase by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees by the end of the 21st century. This is the phenomenon of global warming. The temperature variations of the atmosphere are due to various factors: solar activity, number of revolutions of the Earth… Most scientists believe that the major cause of the current warming is a different phenomenon, called the Greenhouse effect: in an original way, much of the Sun’s energy reaching Earth is stored by our atmosphere rather than reflected back into space. This energetic encapsulation comes from excessive emission of gases carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide which block the re-emitted radiation, absorb its energy and so doing get heated, warming the globe. The most likely cause of the acceleration of the greenhouse effect and global warming since the end of the 19th century is the impact of mankind on his environment. Huge amounts of greenhouse gases are indeed released into the atmosphere by various modern activities like fossil fuel use in industry and transportation, and agricultural practices such as deforestation and cattle-rearing (fodder cultures). It is estimated thus that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which contributes significantly to the greenhouse effect has increased by 30% since the beginning of the industrial era. Their effects: Effects of the warming are evidenced by the withdrawal of some glaciers, the rising of few inches of oceans level and the reduction in thickness of the Arctic icecap. The acceleration of the phenomenon during the 21st century should increase the average level of the oceans and vary the weather conditions with extreme heat waves and periods of heavy rain falls. The effects are felt on the human populations with more floods, more periods of drought, less drinkable water supply, development of diseases like the malaria (as mosquitoes multiply in moist environments), disappearance of certain low-lying coastal areas or islands. In the long run, one can even foresee phenomena such as the melting of the ice sheet covering Greenland, which would result in a rise of 6 meters of sea level, with disappearance of the majority of the present coastal regions of the world. © O. Esslinger 2003-2009 Measures required: Kyoto VS Copenhagen: Concluded in 1997 but came into effect in 2005 (due to the long process of ratifications), the protocol of Kyoto saw nearly 200 countries committing to reducing emissions of greenhouse effect gases by 2012. This represented a huge and worldwide awakening in regard to the gravity of the situation. Copenhagen conference was to take a more ambitious action pursuant to Kyoto, the main objective being to limit the global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, threshold for irreversible consequences for the planet. To get there, the gases emissions should be reduced by 50% before 2050. The day before the end of the conference, the president, delegate of the UNO, informed that it “took note” of the “Copenhagen Agreement”, which "gives it the same validity as if it had been accepted”. Secretly concocted by a handful of heads of states (South Africa, Brazil, China, France, USA) anxious not to lose face, this text of some three pages does not include a single quantified commitment to reduction of gases emissions. The failure of Copenhagen was seen as a significant victory for industry lobbyists demonstrating their resilience in collusion with reactionary forces of political power. The controversies: They relate to the following points:  Existence of a global warming: within the scientific community, it is no longer the existence of global warming which is put in doubt than its width.  The causes of the warming: in 2007, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) estimated the probability that the warming be due to human activities, higher than 90%. The certainty is however not absolute and the question is still under investigation, involving both measurement and modeling observations in climatology.

2


In addition, two subjects generate important debates, without being strictly spoken of a controversy, since many solutions are suggested:  The consequences of global warming: this issue is very discussed since these impacts will depend on the extent of the warming. Moreover, the current level of our knowledge in this area is very low.  The actions to carry out for fight: this question is much discussed as it is to totally reconsider our policies in social, economic, technological, environmental, health or even moral fields. Causes The controversy is nourished of what all the studies were made within the framework of climatic experiments. These are then probabilistic models that comprehend myriads of variables and try to simulate behaviors occurring over particularly long time periods: now it is established that the more variables one takes into account and the less is it possible to correctly simulate the behavior of each, in its peculiar kind, not telling about interaction with its experimental siblings… hence, the more the final result is skewed, ontologically to the experiment. It is also established that from a researcher to another, the choice of the selected variables varies for both objectives and subjective reasons. Ultimately, the theory of falsifiability as developed by K. Popper, just like the recent discovery of the possibility of formation of life from arsenic instead of nitrogen, against the quasi unanimous modern doctrine (on which the Nasa based all its exploration program) both show how the choice of a peculiar variable instead of another may lead to untruth. The controversies couldn’t but swell then. Consequences of the controversies: New poles of truth. New? It is interesting to remark how curious it seems that arts and politics, both belonging to a same epistemological scope of the externalist type, are here summoned by science, which is theoretically to be considered the base of internalist rationality. In more simple terms, rationality, for lack of ability to prove itself and even when it seems, doesn’t succeed in, once again, wining humans’endeavor – nor their industry – concerning a change of behavior announced to be inescapable: it lacks consensus. This deficiency brings to question the scientific subjectivism itself and the limits of its speech as an exhibition, in a peculiar moment, of a prevailing opinion upon an aggregate of “selected facts”. With doubt so definitely thrown on the ability of the scientific enterprise to ever infer any truth, unique and universal, realism imposes us a more modest – as subjective – way of observation, an ethnoanthropological view, as for the stalking of universal determiners of the march of humanity. In the absence of the scientific truth, which has now been put into doubts, we are tempted to appeal to another “human ground” which have not changed ever and which, from Shinto in Japan to the Great Spirit in Americas, to Vaudun in Benin or witchcraft in Rumania etc. anchors humanity in another dimension, another way of being and acting: the religious. The "disenchantment of the world" in the strict sense of Weber, author of the phrase, meant the evacuation of magic in the solving of the problems of the world. It appears now, another illusion if not even, another imposture of the rationalist spirit: the least stay, out of West, is enough to convince. The limits of this disenchantment are evidenced, from inside, in front of the slightest human suffering through the many mystical and psychiatric shelters each of us invent, added to the emergence of recurring waves, such as the New Age movement and from outside, with the resilience, or even better, the good health of animist and spiritual/magical practices all over the world: when the people of Benin, establishes in 1990 a liberal Constitution that everyone hails as a model for Africa – the next demographic super power of the world- they don’t fail referring to the manes of their ancestors, a concept that would get to laugh more than an occidental person: a tour in Ouidah, 24h, is enough, to freeze that smile into a doubtful amazement. Just as if the campaigns of India, Berry had burned all of their various sorcerers and mages… We need then to return to Marcel Gauchet, in the eponymous book, to see how this “disenchantment of the world” never applies but to a particular speculative climax of European Christianity, indeed decisive to the progress of humanity and that helped influencing the world, in the meaning of the Enlightenment, but whose next evolution is unknown, by the admission of the author himself as he acknowledges that Christianity remains, more than any other religion, the one that bears the greatest potential of a return to the primitive religiosity ... And what does M. Gauchet evokes as the first religion if not this famous animism which celebrates the right place of mankind, in harmony with the world and nature? And what is invoked by all those religions apart of those of the Book ? From West to East, South to North, they had been celebrating with the most genuine and constant an unspeakable order uniting life and death, earth and cosmos, man and nature? And what else is the purpose of art and from the very beginning?

3


Position of art At least since Antiquity, philosophy wonders about the nature of Art. However, ancient esthetics sometimes differs significantly from posterior ones and the Greek word τέχνη (technè), which is the nearest equivalent of the word “art”, referred to all activities been subject to certain rules. It thus includes at the same time, knowledge, arts and craft. The Greek Muses are not all related to the arts as defined later and poetry, for instance, was not considered as a "technè". Roman civilization does not either distinguish clearly the fields of art or knowledge or craft and, according to Galen, the term "art" means a set of processes for producing a certain result, "Ars est systema præceptorum universalium verorum utilium, consentientium, ad unum eumdemque finem tendentium." (“Art is the system of universal teachings, true, useful, shared by all, tending towards a single end”) In this meaning of the word, which prevailed until the end of the Middle Age, Art is opposed both to Science, conceived as pure knowledge, independent of the applications, and to Nature which produces without thinking. To the idea of rules of production, the consideration of the required effort in this activity is added. We are still far from the present meaning. Astronomy was a “liberal art” while the spectacle of “theatrica” remained a “mechanical art”. Until the Renaissance, there is no precise difference between the artist and the craftsman: is called “artist”, a craftsman whose production is of an exceptional quality. This understanding was yet universal which makes that no author of the masterpieces of primitive art (statuary from negro art, for example) tested the need to be identified by posterity, sufficient to be paid as a craftsman, for the proper performance of a codified ritual work, the consecration of which did not even return to him. The difference starts to be clearer when artists get to emancipate themselves from corporations to pledge allegiance to academies and the order of nobility. It is at this point in time that the now familiar sense of the word "art" begins to emerge. It is from the Enlightenment century that date the concept of art now generally accepted. Starting from a reflection on sense and taste, a conception based on the idea of beauty is finally settled. With Kant, esthetics acquires its own theoretical meaning for which the Romantic Movement will give paradigmatic examples. The importance of observing rules then passes to the background while the artist's intention, which affects our senses and our emotions, becomes paramount. Since inception, art, a producer of emotions, said the divine, the unspeakable and so organized the world:     

The Beat of the Heart, the march of the hunters, the warriors Trances, rituals punctuating all important stages of life, passages from birth to adulthood, to death Oral epics, sung, transmitting moral values, knowledge systems Ostentatious monuments (cathedrals, Lighthouse of Alexandria, Taj Mahal) .showing the greatness of a people, a king while the desert sky at night teaches the greatness of God Most generally, the human emotion, this indescribable blues although so palpable in music (e.g.: the Concerto No. 21 for Piano and Orchestra by Mozart).

Through this devotion to emotion, to the instant expression, Art has continued to bring its weight for a long time, feeding itself with, as well as it participated in shaping social revolutions until the idea that the essence of the majority of artistic movements registers in a controversial and then properly sociopolitical, cons-culture (even sometimes tinged with a strong ethnic identity or community). To take one more example, in Dubuffet (1901-1985), the "imperfections" involuntary stains, chances, false shapes, unwelcomed colors are sought and exploited by the painter. No awkwardness, nor any spirit of derision. While traditional art was based on the illusionist perspective reflecting a hierarchical vision of the universe, there is no more perceptive center here, but a fragmentary cutting taken from the material world. The result, instead of describing a confined space, is an intense movement of the eye that nothing shall limit, a “materialistic” fascination in agreement, in our century, both with the abandonment of the ancestral spiritual order and the latest discoveries of phenomenology. It is in no time, a technical disability: in the paintings of Dubuffet, for the illusionist perspective to stop and to disappear before being replaced by a view in overhang, it was necessary that the world changes and collapses around him. (See JL Ferrier’s article, “Cultural Objects” in Encyclopaedia Universalis) From the formal aesthetic demands of the Parnassian "art for art’s sake”, to the disruptions caused by the ready-mades of Duchamp (1887-1968), everything in entitled to the name of art. With Duchamp,

4


the understanding of academic art, which until then did only consider the value of a work in terms of the efforts and work exempted for an edifying purpose, is knocked down: the heterogeneity of the means of expression and the complexity of his works, from painting (“Nu descendant un escalier” in 1913), to the most hermetic installation ("unfinished" in 1966) not forgetting the ready-mades (“Fountain”, 1917, “Porte-bouteilles”, 1914) declared art works by its sole volition associated with his th constant claim of a "right to laziness", made him impossible to classify in any movement of the 20 century. In the sixties, just out of the war, between decolonization and cold war, the power of words backed in force, bringing its batch of dedicated artists: from the social, political and poetic cinema of Fellini to that certainly more referenced of La Nouvelle Vague; to the literature of the Sartre and Camus but not silencing butō or hip-hop in other combat fields. But since then, gradually, the market value of art has taken precedence over its anarchist and revolutionary dimension. Avant-garde as become synonymous with scandal, abstruseness and elitism in a caricatural way. Worse, in the present time, the pragmatic fact and the thought seem indeed separated. Shock and originality (relating to the form) override the global thinking. Rather the concept is nothing any more than formal, sort of a shell emptied of its “true substance”… The fragmentation of the disciplines, the staggering of the separately thought tasks: despite being bound by a factual result, they do not avoid the pitfall of a quasi-worthless social effect. It is then necessary to wish, in urgency, a new awareness of the value, other than just pecuniary or th purely esthetic of art. At the turn of the 20 century, two essential data of our new sociological landscape are new technologies and ecology, with both their promises and own threats (pollution, social fascism, etc.). If the artists have always been ahead of the social body to feel and describe emergent realities, imagining the present and dreaming the future, the awakening of the conscience of that new situation thus appears to be crucial, rather than any elitist art, based on the access to a certain education or social class reservation only. Place of politics. As a polysemic concept, politics covers at least three meanings:  Politics in its broader sense, that of civility or Politikos, indicates the general framework of an organized and developed society.  More specifically, the political meaning of Politeia states for the Constitution and therefore pertains to the structure and functions (methods, theory and practice) of a community, a society, a social group. Politics covers actions, balance, internal or external development of this society and its relationships to other sets. Politics is therefore mainly related to the collective, to a sum of individualities and/or multiplicities. It is thus accordingly, that political studies or political science are extended to all the fields of a society (economy, law, sociology, etc.)  Finally, in a more restricted view, the meaning of Politikè, or political art refers to the practice of power, that is to say struggles for power and representativeness among men and women of power on one side and the various political parties they may belong to, as for the management of that power. First, politics, that Plato is the first philosopher to identify as such, aims to take care of the souls of the citizens, through education. For these reasons, politics is the science of good in general, and is therefore superior to all other sciences and technics, which is why Plato designates it as the royal art. Machiavelli embodies a radical break from the Christian political tradition and, as such, appears as the first modern political thinker. According to him, indeed, “a new prince in a city or a conquered province should make all things new”. For Machiavelli, three principles must guide politics: strength, respect for laws, cunning“. For Machiavelli, the prince does not need to make profession of being a gentleman. These political ideas are coupled with a theological interpretation also renewed. In fact, according to Leo Strauss: “Since characterized as tyrannical a way of acting that the New Testament allots to God, he leads us to the conclusion, no, he says indeed, that God is a tyrant”. Secondly, to be exerted without meeting opposition, the political power has always attempted to justify its legitimacy. This may be based on:  Tradition and heredity, case of the traditional regimes, monarchies and aristocratic systems;  Divine will, case of theocracies of monarchies by divine right;  The term of the right of peoples and individuals (popular sovereignty) in the case of democracies but also by authoritarian regimes claiming the popular will, case of some fascist regimes;

5


  

Merit and quality of its leaders, which theory induces plans governed by "wise men" (case of certain local or tribal authorities), middle-class oligarchies (poll tax) or technicians; The concern for the efficiency of the political action, officially for the good of the people even if it is - temporarily or permanently - not thought capable of exercising power. These are schemes inspired by positivism, technocracies; Chance (sortition).

It is thus in the first meaning of the word art, (cf. Galen quoted above…) as an utilitarian application of specific techniques that politics may be understood as an art. because we cannot imagine a decent running of human beings and the city, only dedicated to the esthetic of art for art’ sake, according to the modern understanding of the term “art”. As well, the original meaning of technè, cannot be applied here as no set of techniques duly registered is enough to produce politics as it invents them as needed. It is then this latitude in the choice of the means that bases the obligation of accountability of politics: conversely, this requirement imposes to politics, in a pro-active ethical way, the constant need for legitimacy thru the goals selected and the methodologies chosen. Thus, these needs rank politics into the field of sciences and yet, there is no domain, with such vaguer contours, determinants and models of interaction than the social one, which mingles psyche and all the individual determinations with all the unexpected occurrences of economic events and structures. It cannot be question in such places, to apply academic solutions, duly stamped in regards to situations by nature, unexpected, unforeseen and unforeseeable. We have to cope or anticipate them by trickery and wisdom. This is the place to which this Métis belongs, born of arts and science. The relation between art and politics Art and politics, originally far from being opposed, rely in and on the genesis of all human societies. Evolving as the thinking does, it is through the development of the technical and ideological systems of representation that art was maintained like paradigm of the human expressiveness. Since its inception, art has remained a fully-fledged language expressing the manners and feelings of an era or civilization: from primitive figuration (the question being of a systemic depiction of what we believe the world is and the forces that emerge from it) to decorative or expressive realism (encompassing narrative and didactic values, as well as political commitment or rebellion) until the very embodiment of the invisible subjective idea (abstraction just crystallizing what expressionism, cubism or surrealism reminded to the Western classicism/cartesianism, namely the subjective watch of an "I"). This has always been through a model that would consider itself as universal – objectively as for divine – as much as in an extimate way , inter-subjectively). The containment Art, the art market, finds its support in the so-called cultural policy, in Occident at least. As for politics, art is a way for its seat, if not the exaltation of its power. The modern understanding of culture is their joint: defined as social heritage, brand of a tradition, specific mode of the human expression, it belongs both to art and politics. UNESCO reports, "In its broadest sense, culture may be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of a society or a social group. It includes not only the arts and literature, life styles, fundamental rights of human beings, value systems, traditions and beliefs."(World Conference on Cultural Policies, Mexico City, July 26 to August 6, 1982) An important thing to remember though is that art, politically, appears as anarchist, constantly creating new rules just to better break them. It is the reason of its perpetual motion, its changes, smooth or violent. It never develops but by rejection of a system whose limitations and shortcomings it observes and reveals. The essence of most art movements is controversy, possibly followed by socio-political inclusion, but always first, in a cons-culture (dress, political, technological) and sometimes tinted with ethnic, communitarian identity. For instance, Butō was created in 1960 by Japanese Tatsumi Hijikata. This dance of the extreme and of the heightened exacerbation, this “dance of the dark body”, aimed to propose an alternative to the question that arose in 1945 of what still could mean any aesthetical show in Japanese culture after the unconditional surrender and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Exploring unpublished continents glimpsed by the emergence of contemporary dance in Germany, more or less between cabaret and Mary Wigman, it finally coped with the necessity of shaping the body as a corpse, as materiality. And if it provoked rejection, even disgust, in the Japanese culture of the time, at the

6


contrary it was welcomed with total fascination throughout Europe, the appearance or self-referential parody of the western scene being unfortunately absolutely unnoticed. So far, paradoxically, if the forms of protest are appreciated or even valuated, it is most often so as to minimize the content of rebellion itself. The political content of art has a lesser and lesser influence in politics. “Protest art” as well as the "right-thinking” one both lose political clout. It is compromised or masked by an interest essentially aesthetic and a taste for provocation but certainly in a purely punctual way (within a specific context) and without ever reaching the level of a demand of a deep structural order (not to say systemic). Victory of structuralism (cf. Lessing and Goethe) over historicism (see Winckelmann), actual claims of Parnassian “art for art”, legitimate culture (cf. Braudel) and massive extension of a dramatic show, departed of any serious claim, art seems doomed to a sort of tame by and for politics. How else to explain the impact of Guernica compared to the relative silence harvested by Banksy graffitis on Israeli-Palestine West Bank in 2005? The hell of a nerve of the artist welcomed, its own empathy outlined above, the performance has really hit the nail only on the point of view of the need to recognize the street-art as art movement (which could have market value, enter museums and be studied in history of art). Though the street art could be seen as a legacy of narrative representation and as such should have been given recognition for its activist orientations instead of just being confined to his only appearance of provocation? Mass access to “culture”: Consistent with this institutionalization of art, Malraux in France, began in the early 60’s to build the Houses of Culture, “modern cathedrals” for the purpose of “making available the major works of humanity to the greatest number of French people”. This State support was never denied since (see the cultural politics of the 80’s, the F.R.A.C.s being the prime example, as well as the CDN and CCN): multiplication of schools and institutions promoting a future elite of artists and critics, people feeling the need to focus on art (or to be seen as such) sometimes without any real taste or education, but conscious of the opportunities provided by the art/luxury/showbiz industry… all factors promoting/deteriorating art in a constitutive tragic way, never wavered. Similarly France, in its relations with its former colonies, initiated within the framework of cooperation, the French Cultural Centers (FCC) whose role is to identify on-site strong cultural potentials and help them achieve. Hence the success of many francophone African artists, such as Cyprien Tokou Dagba, Frederic Bruly Bouabre, Romuald Hazoume who are now stars of the international scene. If we can only congratulate them on their success, we must also remain vigilant and warn of the possible hyper normative potential of an institutionalization that may eventually lead to a biased production under a mixed standard unstated, unintended but obvious… The best proof of this hiatus is in the attendance of the events of this kind of art where can only be found the same international travelers and local elites, all trained to the same mixed culture known as "culture of the world". Native and indigenous don’t have the means nor the keys to understand and appreciate this art, they have to suffice themselves, as a sign of modernity, of vulgar art, originally supposed to be European: religious iconography; more conventional, you die. "Massive consumption, underground self-satisfied elitism or as a refuge from decommissioning, these three new reports to Culture seem to forget curiosity, the love of art as a quiet breathing, a loophole, the raising of the world. Perhaps because Art has given up being all that, "wrote The Strategist, blogger (on monde.fr, in his article of 21.01.10," The three states of Culture. ") Not that any work should always contain in it, a strong political claim, but simply, art being at the origin, this manner of speech with the divine, it had a direct impact at all levels of political life, that is to say within the very organization of the City. Speeches, myths, architecture where then the pillars of the seat of power, even if only as a manifestation of the glitz and since ancient times. Thus, for example, construction of the Pompidou Center was among others, aimed at halting the Paris art scene decline and to maintain its status as a major place in contemporary art worldwide, more and more challenged by New York, while also entering into this kind of ostentation. Likewise, any President of the Fifth Republic must now leave to Paris, his monumental site. The limits of the collaboration between art and politics: Art and politics do not know how to maintain a relation without suspicion, of a cohabitation’s type.

7


In a contemporary approach, in his highly-controversial Nobel Lecture "Art, Truth and Politics", Harold Pinter distinguishes between the search for truth in art and the avoidance of truth in politics. He asserts: “Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory [of the artist] since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power”. On an other hand, according to Heidegger, Art is a poem as regard as it says the Being and is such as an implementation the truth, its rise or it occurrence, its opening” Another reason stems from the fact that sensorial aggression (visual, auditory, tactile) is in all circumstances, much stronger than the verbal, analytical one. The rejection of Goya’s Maison du sourd, of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, in history, take a large part in this factor: the treatment they inflict on the human figure. If the painters are often accused of "distorting", the charge stems from a single cause: the difficulty for the eye to capture that between it and reality, there are no cases where society does not squeeze in between with its beliefs, knowledge, ideology. We could remark this same preliminary repulsion towards Chinese music, when our Western ears, accustomed to the kinship of our Middle-Eastern and African neighbors, laboriously cross the distance from the twelve-tone to pentatonic scale which was not unknown though. This fundamental feature, which we admit for literature and also science, remains to be taken in account for fine arts: the primacy of the social order on the perceptual one. Artistic creation, however, is never a reflection. It would be as questionable to submit it to the constraints of sociological determinism as to see it like a more or less faithful copy of external reality. While it is true that a painting does not arise out but of an environment, it does not, quite the contrary, necessarily generates the means to express this reality. There are long periods of "vacancy" in the history of art and there is neither automatism nor compliance. The work of Watteau, about which Groethuysen explains that the twirling characters are the plastic equivalent of the intuitive mind, brilliant, ironic and twisted, that succeeded in the eighteenth century, the spirit of geometry that characterized the severity of the previous century, did not renew any of the fundamental structures. It kept on reproducing the legacy of the past: the narrative idealization, the illusionist space, etc. Nothing transpired of the scientific development that rattled the foundations of philosophy and transformed language. So art has mission to extract the metaphysical truth. Shouldn’t its research be placed then as paramount for the organization of human life ? love of wisdom (philosophy), communion of minds and bodies (religion), life in society (politics). but so, indeed in a pragmatic way, registered in life? Thus we also must avoid the pitfall of a metaphysical value of art as its basic feature claims concrete commitment. In this place, for example, dance arises as an original promised land in the sense that it is the theoretical below of all art (for a long time neglected by the aesthetic philosophy and history of art), but also its mystic and societal beyond (trance, nightclubs, funeral ceremonies etc.). Gilbert Rouget, in his book Voodoo Initiatory, tells us how 60% of the time of initiation of the future priestesses of Voodoo in Benin, is devoted to dancing and singing... Speaking from a body to another (see the concept of kinesthetic empathy), the narrative of a particular matter as much as the incarnation of the abstract idea, back to the consciousness of oneself and of the group. Maguy Marin's style in May B (a tribute to Samuel Beckett), for example, appropriates relevance to the purpose of literature. The gesture and rhythmical relentless precision of 'May B' stresses both awkwardness and human alienation. Some febrile movements, mechanical, re-echo to violence, sex drive, fear, but not only. The range of emotions expands with humor and imagination, conveying the idea of sharing, kindness, but also laughter, enlightenment of the idea...The spectator appropriates the language of the inarticulate characters, their groans, their slow gait and limping as many subversive, gays and dramatic moments. Conclusion The reaffirmation of art’s mission, in this context of current criticism of science and of clarification of politics issues, requires restoring links between disciplines: The first kind of links refers to a quest for meaning, a need for global understanding, the ideal of a unified knowledge opposed to the analytical approach and the bursting of information marking our times. The second is a social need in which interdisciplinarity does answer concerns for solving complex problems. Multidisciplinarity is the juxtaposition or federation of multiple disciplines around a common object of study. Each one contributes to understanding the object of study according to its issues,

8


concepts, theories and methods. There is no, strictly speaking, relationship between the disciplines, but rather a complementary in their perspectives: it brings a precious variety of points of view. Interdisciplinarity implies an interaction (and not only the addition) between these disciplines. As a dialogue, an exchange, it involves a joint effort of articulation. The consequence of this dialogue is a partial reorganization of disciplines at the issues, concepts, theories, methods or objects. So there are processing and enrichment of the specific views. Finally, trying to identify the features that can cross disciplines, let’s think about the concepts of “energy”, “rhythm” and “force”. At a higher level, transdisciplinarity has the meaning of “beyond”. It is the integration, the production of new objects, new methods, new theories, new disciplines which include and surpass referenced disciplines: cybernetics, astrophysics, ecology. (cf. Vincent Valentine, UQAM) As part of a world advertised as in an environmental crisis, the question of the impact of art is not an issue to be discussed and the expressions of resistance are not lacking: Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist born in 1956. He belongs to the "Land Art" movement, which uses natural or found objects to create sculptures in the concern of revealing and enlightening the character of environment. This movement considers its works as "ephemeral art", whatever the degradation of time can vary from several seconds to several years: ice sculptures that only last season, sand sculptures on a beach disappearing at the first trip, even buildings of stone or metal do not undergo natural entropy. His proper intention is not to "put his mark” on the landscape but to work with it instinctively, so that his creations appear, however briefly, a contact in harmony with the natural world. He is particularly interested in time as made evident by the evolution of nature. "Movement, change, light, growth and alteration are the soul of nature, the energies that I try to convey through my work" (in his book, Time). The actors of “Arte Povera”, refusing to play the game of assigning an identity, refuse to be called a movement: what links them in a common attitude. Being an artist of Arte Povera is adopting a posture of defiance against the cultural industry and the always wider consumer society, in the strategically inheritance of the guerrillas’ bangs. In this sense, Arte Povera is a socially committed stance on the revolutionary mode. This refusal to identify politics and this position is demonstrated by an artistic focus on process: the creative act is may even be settled to the detriment of the finished article. In sum, in condemning the identity of the object, Arte Povera resists any claims of ownership. It is an art which claims to be basically nomadic, elusive. The poverty of art may be a concept that poses negative prohibition of means in achieving the works, but requires a theoretical richness to be guided. ATSA, Socially Acceptable Terrorist Action is non-profit organization founded in 1998 by artists Pierre Allard and Annie Roy, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. Both create in public works in the form of disciplinary interventions, installations, performances or realistic staged; motivated by the desire to challenge people about social causes, environmental heritage. ATSA is focused on its artistic quality, imagination and playful percussion, media visibility and a speech based on well-founded material, to bring together the public and the media and encourage more people to play its citizen role by participating actively in the betterment of society. This approach is that the aesthetic and symbolic about the art is also a tool for interaction and public education. Their artworks, very unifying and offered free in streets, are human and sensory unusual experiences that question the urban landscape in order to restore the public dimension of open space to meet on reflection. Among their notable works, "The State of Emergency" which is an interdisciplinary festival (photography, cinema, arts, performances...) in the form of a refugee camp in the city center, extended since 1998. It can therefore be trusted to art to express these radicalism now urgent, while the political front arbitrating between several competing interests, can only betray them all as in Copenhagen, even when periodically calling for sterile General Convention and always profitable masses of showbiz. What will come out of the present ecological crisis, like it or not, will first deal with an ethical revolution about nanotechnologies, as they are to be really intrusive while the latest avatars of energy geostrategy is distributing new cards. What is at stake is a new awareness of man, tired of the fruitless promises of science; when the African will take his place, massively, to participate, with all his fellow human beings, in new economic paradigms of growth reduction, to the rehabilitation of a new animism that had been abandoned for rationalist illusion. But meanwhile, why not dream of a worldwide artists’ mobilization during a "Year of the Planet" in which all would agree to work jointly and particularly if not exclusively, on the one subject of the preservation of the planet and the reduction of the famous climate threat? Mass mobilization but communitarian address, each one reserving the right to bind itself or not to other subgroups. Here, for once, an issue that could affect us all. Why not play it utopia ?

9

Sc-Po SPEAP_Mawena Yehouessi  
Sc-Po SPEAP_Mawena Yehouessi  
Advertisement