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Question 16: Do you think an artist has a specific role to play in society? If so, what is it?
I think there are three sectors in society. The first one for me is art and culture, because it defines your identity. Then it’s politics, because it defines your action and the third is the economy because it defines your survival. I think that art is extremely important because that‘s where a society’s visions and ideas are generated. All individuals must dream, it has been clinically proven. They done experiments on people where they were wakened as soon as they began to enter the alpha stage, when the brain waves allow dreaming to occur and they developed mental problems. It’s the same thing for a society. A society that does not dream, a society that has no vision is a society that will perish, that will end up disappearing. This is a problem these days in the Western world, I think, because we don’t really have a vision, this is, we seem to be on automatic pilot. There’s also a weakening of art, I feel, there’s confusion in art, also as to the role of the artist. And this is why art is such an important field.I think that the role of the artist in society is to wake up consciousness; artists are able to formulate its dreams and ideas. They’re the ones that make us say, Yeah, I had thought of that, but now, I see it. At the same time it’s a dangerous role, I believe, because you take risks at the emotional level, in your own personal lives. It’s very hard to be an artist, because you’re always dealing with emotions. When you look at how people… artists deal with things that most people have settled for themselves a long time ago. Artists are the ones questioning things, always saying maybe things should be otherwise. Of course this triggers a very high degree of emotional stress, while it is work that is not highly valued most of the time. It’s a bit strange that work of this importance is not more highly valued. When you look through history, have we retained the name of one business man or business woman? We remember the Medicis because the Medicis were Michelangelo’s patrons. It’s because they sponsored Michelangelo, because they were associated with Art. It’s the same thing for the Rockefellers, they were associated with art. So I feel that art is like memory and that is very important when speaking of art. I think that a society that has no art has no memory and will surely disappear. Nomadic societies, for example, don’t have art and it’s very difficult to trace the history of nomadic peoples. So art is linked to sedentarity – sedentarity made it possible for art to emerge.