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Question 16: Do you think an artist has a specific role to play in society? If so, what is it?
The artist has an important role to play in society as long as he or she is not aware of it. The artist is a mirror and we have to pay real good attention to what we do with our mirrors, where we place them. I don’t like to be eating in a restaurant in front of a mirror, I don’t enjoy looking at myself eating. I don’t want to make my society look at itself while it’s eating, that’s not fair, that’s not nice. So the artist is important as long as he or she doesn’t forget their place. As artists in society we are not in a privileged place, we’ve never been. I have a problem with the way we’re now structuring our culture, we give the artists a privileged place in society. Now that bothers me, because we will lose the function of art. Do I have an idea as to what this function is all about? We’ve always done it. Homo sapiens has always sought to represent his experience in a visual way, so it’s something we need to do, so it’s important in those terms. It’s something we do, period, so it’s important. It must be important otherwise it’d be a vestige. Why draw deer on cave walls? So that’s where the importance lies. Do I need to know what that importance is, do I need to feel like a Bob Geldof and try to eradicate famine in Africa? I’m simply Pierre LeBlanc, so I have to be aware of my place. I am a person living in a society and I am lucky enough to be able to look at society while I participate in it, and then take my observations and put them in a public context. That’s an important thing to do. But I think the least amount of thinking I do about it, the more important it can be. Because then, you become too self-conscious, you become too conscious of trying to look intelligent. That’s a phase I went through and I try to forget that stuff. I acknowledge my importance but I don’t make a big deal of it.