Sunday 25 January 2015

Cellphones As Paperweights

I'm skeptical of most art's ability to do much in terms of making the world better. This could easily be interpreted as me being skeptical of art itself as a tool for improving the world. I could easily be accused of overlooking how art provokes discussion, challenges norms, entertains and inspires audiences, and motivates empathy.

But it's not that I don't recognize these benefits. It's that I believe art can be so much more powerful than this.

We're in the early stages of art being used to save lives and reduce suffering in a predictable and scientific way. Compared to this, I don't much care for provoking discussion. Most art probably does more good than harm but using a life-saving tool for the self-actualization of the rich is like using a cellphone as a paperweight.

Paperweights do more good than harm too but if you found out yours could connect you to Google Maps, you'd pick it up off the desk and start keeping it by your side. 

I'm not skeptical of art as much as I am of the artists - those who would rather challenge gender norms in the West than eradicate malaria in the South.

While the artists create on firmly weighted down paper, the third world's living in poverty and the rich are missing their calls.

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