IMHO – In My Humble Opinion
… just my personal wise-ass opinion of the moment
(subject to change if good arguments convince me to do so)
please scroll down…
To all my fellow artists
What art is and what it is not and which purpose it serves or should serve , if any at all, surely is a matter of opinion.
My very personal definition of the „role of art“ is this:
„Art – in all its facets and manifestations reminds human beings of who they are, who they were and who they could and can be“
I am calling on all creatives who, like me, derive a special kind of responsibility from the freedom of the arts and therefore , at least every once in a while, feel obliged to give voice to certain things that need to be said.
If we are really serious about the arts contributing to the identity of a human, and therefore also to the fates of humanity in general, there certainly has rarely ever been a more important time, for most of us, to dedicate ourselves to this task – at least for a while.
After more or less one year of living in various forms of a „Corona Lockdown“ which purportedly is without alternative but has dire consequences for us as individuals as well as a society we have to ask the question „How and in what kind of world do we want to live? “ more clearly again- even in the light of the serious dangers of the Covid-19 virus.
It is up to us to make this question and most of all the answers to it, that we and our fellow men come up with, loud and big; so loud and so big that even the elected representatives in committees, boards, town halls and parliaments hear and see them and can not ignore them any longer!
Right now we may not have the stages, halls and galleries at our disposal and most likely it will take a little until we can fill them with life again – but nonetheless we have more ways than ever to make ourselves be seen and heard – our streets, our cars, our houses with their walls and windows and shop windows, t-shirts, posters, banners and loudspeakers at protests, our smartphones with their messaging apps, the internet with all its platforms, forums and online shops and last, but not least, our own websites.
So: Let´s step forward – with our texts, our lyrics, our songs, our sculptures, paintings, drawings and photos, our light art, our dances and performances – and all the other forms in which „being human“ takes shape.
Let us prove that art is not just a „Zeitgeist-driven decoration of human existence“ but a source of self-awareness, a source of solace, hope, joyfulness, high spirits and courage and more than anything – besides love – :
THE source of recovery and transformation of the human spirit from „having to be a human“ to „wanting to be a human“!
Let us make our best possible contribution, so that – after waking up from this nightmare – we do not find ourselves in another nightmare:
A world in which we have to ask for permission to be a human!
An alle Künstlerinnen und Künstler
Es ist sicherlich Ansichtssache, was Kunst ist und was nicht und welchen „Zweck“ sie ggf. erfüllt oder erfüllen sollte.
Die „Rolle der Kunst“ definiere ich, für mich ganz persönlich, so:
„Kunst, in all ihren Facetten und Erscheinungsformen, erinnert die Menschen daran, wer sie sind, wer sie waren und wer sie sein könn(t)en.“
Mit diesem Aufruf wende ich mich an alle Kunstschaffenden, die, wie ich, aus dem Beinahe-Privileg der Kunstfreiheit eine besondere Verantwortung ableiten, Dinge an- und auszusprechen und sich zumindest hin und wieder berufen fühlen, dieser Verantwortung auch Rechnung zu tragen.
Wenn wir es wirklich ernst meinen damit, dass Kunst einen Beitrag zur Identität des Menschen und damit auch den Geschicken der Menschheit als Ganzes leisten kann und soll, dann hat es für die meisten von uns wohl selten eine Zeit gegeben, in der es wichtiger gewesen wäre, sich zumindest für eine Weile in den Dienst dieser Aufgabe zu stellen.
Nach gut einem Jahr Leben in verschiedenen Formen des vermeintlich alternativlosen „Corona-Lockdown“ mit teilweise erheblichen Konsequenzen für uns als Individuen aber eben auch als Gesellschaft müssen wir, trotz der ernstzunehmenden Gefahr, die vom Covid-19-Virus ausgeht, die Frage „Wie wollen wir Leben und in was für einer Welt?“ endlich wieder deutlich stellen.
Es liegt an uns, die Frage und vor allem die Antworten, die wir selbst und unsere Mitmenschen auf diese Frage geben, laut und groß werden zu lassen; so laut und groß, dass auch die gewählten Vertreter in Vorständen, Gremien, Rathäusern, Landtagen und Parlamenten sie hören und sehen und nicht mehr ignorieren können!
Wir mögen dafür im Moment keine Bühnen, Säle und Galerien zur Verfügung haben, und es wird aller Voraussicht nach noch ein Weilchen dauern, bis wir diese wieder mit Leben füllen können, aber wir haben dennoch mehr Möglichkeiten als jemals zuvor, uns sicht- und hörbar zu machen – unsere Straßen, unsere Autos, unsere Häuser mit Ihren Wänden und Fenstern und Schaufenstern, die T-Shirts, Plakate, Transparente und Lautsprecher auf Demonstrationen, unsere Smartphones mit Ihren Messenger-Apps, das Internet mit all seinen Plattformen, Foren und Onlineshops und nicht zuletzt unsere eigenen Webseiten.
Also: Bringen wir uns ein – mit unseren Texten, unseren Gedichten, unseren Liedern, unseren Skulpturen, Bildern und Fotos, mit unserer Lichtkunst, unseren Tänzen und Darbietungen – und all den anderen Formen, in denen „Menschsein“ kreativen Ausdruck findet.
Lasst uns beweisen, dass Kunst nicht nur „Zeitgeist-getriebene Dekoration menschlichen Daseins“ ist, sondern eine Quelle der Selbsterkenntnis, eine Quelle für Trost, Hoffnung, Heiterkeit, Lebensfreude und Mut und vor allem – neben der Liebe:
DIE Quelle zur Wiederherstellung oder Verwandlung des menschlichen Geistes vom „Mensch-sein müssen“ zum „Mensch sein wollen“!
Lasst uns, so gut wir können, unseren Beitrag leisten um dafür zu sorgen, dass wir nach diesem Alptraum, den wir gerade erleben, nicht in einem anderen Alptraum wieder aufwachen:
In einer Welt , in der wir erst um Erlaubnis fragen müssen, um Mensch sein zu dürfen!
On the current “Climate movement”
One thing upfront: I believe that the existence of mankind and the way we humans interact with our environment has an effect on our planet´s climate – as everything else on earth inevitably has to varying degrees and with different consequences.
To me the physical world is a world of cause and effect.
With that in mind it doesn´t take a genius to at least imagine that tons and tons of chemicals being blown into the air, conducted into seas and rivers and seeping into the ground every single day have an effect on the dynamic environment we live in.
As far as I am concerned: I think pollution is no joke and our planet surely would be better off and provide a more healthy environment if there was less of it.
I do not see myself neither as an “environmentalist” nor as a notoriously careless polluter.
I do not fully buy into either side of the argument when it comes to “climate change” and what could be done about it but basically I think it is a worthy cause to fight for a “better world” – whatever that may be – and I am thankful to live in a society where people are allowed to let their voice be heard .
All that being said I would like to utter a few of my own thoughts on the topic of “how to facilitate a more responsible and productive way to discuss and finally handle the matter at hand rather than blaming, demonizing, agitating and exploiting people -especially young children and teens- for various open and hidden agendas” as I perceive happening now.
I feel a little ambivalent about seeing children attending and holding “climate protests”:
On the one hand I think it is great that young people do have an eye on “the issues of the world” and that they stand up for something they care about.
On the other hand I think it is a shame that adults have not managed to simply let them be kids who spend time worrying about where to pin a poster of their favorite band rather than being deeply scared and absolutely convinced the world will explode within the next few years if they don´t get the movers and shakers of the world to immediately and radically change course.
Now, I do not want to get too political about it as that would be a different discussion and one that requires real dialogue rather than a written monologue like this – nevertheless I am quite angry at politicians on one side and so called “activists” on the other side of the issue who are using kids for their very own purposes and agendas (and no: I don´t think they are all evil or wrong).
I find it ridiculous that some politicians pretend they were somehow miraculously woken up to the fact that something must be done about “the climate” – as if they didn´t have any incentive (or sometimes even sincere intention) to do so before. And now, all of a sudden I am meant to believe they changed their minds in awe of the eternal, unfailing pure wisdom and profound knowledge of children? Come on!
Just for the record: This is not to say that children and kids are dumb or don´t know what they are talking about (I think quite the opposite is true) but there are things owed to the complexity of our world that require more than just brains and good ideas to eventually take effect.
And then there is the far end of the other side claiming that “the system” is the root cause of the problem and that it has to be changed to fix everything, whipping people up into a frenzy on purpose with highly emotionalized rhetoric that so often leads to some kind of “us against them” that eventually stifles any real discussion (as does the complete dismissal of the issue by some politicians, by the way).
A huge portion of the media that has obviously decided to dramatize, sensationalize, implicate and comment according to their bias rather than solely investigating, questioning and reporting does not seem to help the situation either.
So where are the adults that stand up for some grown up reasoning, an honest discussion and a sincere attempt to explain to the children and some of the “activists”, who hide behind or spearhead them to secretly or openly push their very own agendas, that the world will not blow up within the next three years but that – goddamn yes! – something has to be done about the environment to make sure that our planet remains liveable and hopefully enjoyable for many, many, many, many generations to come.
Where are the adults in the corridors of power that not only acknowledge the problem but actually do something about it, starting right away with what actually can be done right away?
Where are the adults that point out that “the system” (namely “Capitalism” – I prefer calling it global free market ) – as flawed as it may be – is not the root of the problem but one of our most important assets and best tools available for handling this and other problems and make reasonable, sustainable progress.*
Where are the adults that point out that mankind is an evolving species of vast curiosity and ingenuity which will always strive for “more / different / better” due to its very nature but sometimes had and has to learn the hard way that “progress” is a double edge sword and then has to deal with often unwanted consequences or “side effects” of prior actions or inactions.
Mankind has proved more than once that it can and does.
Where are the adults that are willing to put an end to politicizing and exploiting kids and children and really get to work to shape and maintain the world in a way that will allow these youngsters to enjoy their childhood as (care)free as possible and let them happily take over as adults when it is their turn to shape the world responsibly and to the best of their abilities?
Now, here is to you, Kids of the “free countries” , a.k.a. “Democracies” as these are the only ones I feel eligible to address the way I do, knowing that there are millions of kids who are living under completely different circumstances that do not even provide them with anything close to a “childhood” :
Kids, you live in the best times that this world has ever seen, although admittedly there is a lot of room for improvement and there are still intolerable fooleries, atrocities and tragedies going on that are beyond belief for any modern civilized human being that has at least an ounce of functioning grey matter between the ears and a whiff of empathy in his or her soul.
Nevertheless: The free world is a world of opportunity for everyone and due to its dynamics it provides the best opportunities for real change within and even of “the system” itself.
You have the opportunity and even a right to express all your opinions, concerns and ideas.
Thanks to the internet you can share and develop them with larger communities than any other generation before you was ever able to.
You have easier access to way more resources than any other generation before you. You have access to housing, water, food, electricity, heat, transport, information, entertainment, education and health care – in a nutshell: The basic conditions are great (not that they couldn´t be improved and not that actual living would be easy for everyone).
So and but:
If you think that a product, service or a company sucks , e.g. for its´ negative impact on the environment – and you want to do something about it: when it´s your turn – find a better way to do it and support or build a (new) company that does it better and that will find its´ place in the market because it does things better.
Don´t condemn technology – use or adapt it so it helps the better ends you have in mind
Don´t condemn other opinions and ideas but use them as a sharpening wheel, litmus test or simply as an inspiration for your own opinions and ideas.
If you think that politics and politicians suck and you want to do something about it: Go into politics and become a better one!
If you think the media sucks and want to do something about it: Go into media and change it!
If you think adults suck:
Be reminded that all adults once were kids and teens who at some point in their lives thought and felt more or less the same way you do right now.
Most adults care about kids and want them to grow up safely, healthily and happily, having lots of fun before “life gets serious”
I am one of them
*01/2022: Oh boy, have I learned some lessons about the “free world”, our “system”, the economy and the “free market” during the last few months.
Well, I could go on and write a huge new piece on all those insights and where I was definitely wrong for almost all my life but I think as a footnote to this piece right here it’s enough to state for the record that I have come to the full realisation that the “free market” is definitely not a “market of the free” which leads to its´ own ramifications and that among those who have been fooled I am one of the biggest fools because I also fooled myself about the true nature of “the system”
I’m almost a little embarrassed by myself.