Artist / Citizen

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In 1958 I wrote the following:

'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.'

I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

[Harold Pinter]
Nobel Lecture, 'Art, Truth & Politics'

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What does this time demand of us?

Beyond the borders of our own world. The world that grinds on around us.

Objective reality.

What does it demand of us?

What is happening on the larger scene? In the bigger picture? What is going on in the world and how does it impact on us?

As individuals we - as we are constantly reminded - have many rights. We have the right to enjoy our lives, to embrace our individuality; to explore ourselves; to find our potential. You only have one life, so live it.

But always this microcosm - our own little world - must be balanced with the larger picture. Because, like it or not, it is within the larger picture that we all have to fit. It is the land upon which we stand. If it shifts and moves then our houses - with their bright walls, and individual flourishes - will come crumbling down.

So we must always be asking: what does this time demand of us? Is there a quake coming? Must we take a break from papering the walls and prepare for it?

At one point the larger picture may have demanded that we question everything; that we push boundaries and shatter paradigms. Maybe this was the project of post-modernism, and maybe it served a useful purpose - not necessarily for the individual, but for the larger picture. Maybe a spot of post-modernism was what was needed.

The citizen was required to become an artist; to explore their assumptions; to poke and prod and push.

The beautiful landscape wasn't good enough anymore. Maybe it represented complacency, a stifling status quo. And so it needed to be undermined, subverted. Nothing was as it seemed. Solid became liquid. Things melted into other things. Male became female, female male.

And now it is the right of every individual the poke and prod and push their own boundaries. Or at least to go through the motions.

But what does this time demand of us?

Where once the citizen was impelled to become the artist, now, perhaps, the tables have turned.

There are too many artists. And not enough citizens.

It is long overdue that the artist once again become the citizen. That we begin to solidify, to choose a path; to draw our boundaries.

To say: this is true. And this is false.

We are lost within our post-modern playground. We don't know which way is up anymore.

It is time to grow up.

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Nobody knows, and nobody can ever know
The perils of radical subjectivity
Individual + Villager = Balance
Rights and Responsibilities
Life Amongst the Rubble
Walk a Straight Line