Select a number to view video excerpt and read transcript

Question 16: Do you think an artist has a specific role to play in society? If so, what is it?


I think artists absolutely have a role to play in society. I think they tell us who we are, in ways that most people don’t consider in their day-to-day lives. They look at things very closely, they look at all different relationships, intricacies, how everything works together and they present that, so that people can see it and say: Oh yeah, I never thought about that. Also, the world has a lot of ugliness in it; it’s our job to make things that are beautiful and pursue that. That’s probably not a popular line these days, but we’re custodians of that whole tradition of telling us our stories, who we are, what we’re doing. It’s a denial to think that we don’t need that you know. Whenever you look at a great civilisation… what do you think of when you think of Egypt? You think of all the cultural artefacts that they created. When you think of Greek society, you don’t think of their bureaucratic systems or their monetary systems or the economic networks they had, you think of their architecture and their artefacts and their sculptures. That hasn’t changed. You still need artists to do that because without it, you just don’t know where you are or what you’re doing.