Artists us a Minority

Nikola Kitanovic - Text about situation of the artist in today world. Today society threating artists us minority.

The artist has been seen as some kind of disabled person since the most ancient times. So, for example, we are pretty sure that Homer was blind, or we know that aristocracy in ancient Greece would let their children become musicians if they would become disabled. This custom was kept in many European countries until the first half of the twentieth century. For example, bards, purveyors of traditional oral poetry were mostly blind or otherwise disabled people. We should also be very careful when talking about the talent of artists. Talent is something that marks the artist, makes him different from other people, but that talent also determines the artist, forces him to creative work, making him produce great works of art. In other words, the artist is not talented because he wants to be so; talent is rather something one is born into, as a defining part of one's internal structure. From this perspective, the artist is not the one who chooses and who has the right to choose, but the one who is chosen quite independently of his will. It is very important to understand why the phrase "professional artist" is unacceptable. In fact, there are various types of art that require good knowledge of some craft. For example, a sculptor must have good knowledge of the materials used in his work as well as the processing technology (primarily mechanical) of those materials. A painter also has to learn a lot about drawing, movement of hands while working, the colours and much more. A poet and a prose writer must know well the language of their written works. Good knowledge of the craft in the area in which the artist works in practice is often referred to as: a professional artist. This professionalism is related to the craft (and it often comprises some knowledge of the history of art, often regarded as a kind of theory), but it has nothing in common with the talent that the artist has in himself, nor with the power of his art. Knowledge of the craft is an advantage for a great artist, as he builds his works with great skill, but the core value of his work still depends on the strength of his talent and the inspiration to create such a work. Any interested majority could learn the craft secrets and skills. However, the talent and the power of inspiration is exclusive and reserved only for very selected few. The criteria by which one is chosen are not known to the man as a reasonable being. This can be compared with the following circumstances: a little baby is born in a territory, state, region or whatever, where he has a different skin colour or different needs than other babies who are born there. This little baby is the absolute minority, and her whole life is predestined so that it will always be a minority. Unlike other babies, baby-artist does not have a home country (or a country in which her skin colour or her needs are treated more favourably - this is especially true for example of sexual rights and in particular the rights of homosexual persons), where he could go later, as an adult, and where he could be treated as an equal person. States, state systems, systems of power and force exercise a very unusual sport in relation to the artist. As a matter of fact, these systems are working quite diligently on extinction of living artists, by being imprisoned, killed or worse - driving them to suicide. We do not need to look for the evidence of this in the distant past (many believe that it is long gone), because we have very fresh examples from the twentieth century. In the twentieth century horrible genocide of Jews, Gypsies, Russians, Poles and many other nations and minorities was made, during the World War II in Nazi Germany. However, throughout the twentieth century, both in Germany and in the huge number of other countries in Europe, but also in all the other continents, even before the Nazis, during the Nazism, and after the victory over Nazism, we were witnessing genocide of artists. The horrific Nazi slogan used against the Jews, that the only good Jew is a dead Jew, was copied as an extremely inspiring motto of the entire twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty first century - only good artist is a dead artist (paraphrasing the famous Nazi saying: when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun). The current regimes shall certainly negate the aforementioned motto which was present as a general practice until a few decades ago. However, we believe that this negation comes too easily, in a too relaxed, and a very irresponsible manner. The Western democracies have highly developed a sports discipline that could be named: marginalisation of a living artist. Those practicing this sport have an elaborate hoax used as an argument. Given that every type of art is linked to some craft(s), the product of artist's work is promoted, marketed and interpreted as - a commodity, and the artist is exposed to the so called labour market. Since the product of the artist's work does not only depend on the craft and skills, but in the essence it depends on the artist's talent and strength of his inspiration, his product by definition is not a commodity but a public good. Of course, we are having in mind the productive base of artists, such as poets, novelists, composers, painters, sculptors and the like. Within some of these types of art, an artist can make a compromise with the time in which he lives, or rather with the market - create a popular work of art that can sell decently well, and make his living from that, while creating his more serious works. This is not uncommon in some of the arts (especially the visual arts), in fact, some of the most important works created by mankind were produced in such a way (mostly by order of rich patrons and religious or political authorities). However, in some arts the compromise is simply not possible, because there is such a minimal art market. Depending on the era in question, there is always some type of art that is at such a disadvantage. For example, today, in the so called postmodern era, the role of the composer and the poet is completely marginalised. In terms of global politics, but also from the standpoint of national and state policy, it is an extremely marginal issue whether someone still writes poetry or composes classical music. In other words, if all living poets and all living composers of classical music today committed suicide, political systems of today would not have experienced a loss. This fact alone suggests that the artist today is an excessive minority that nobody cares about. There is a serious responsibility of the system in relation to the fact that there are artists in society and that they are a minority. This minority is so marginalised that even civil society, international organisations, or institutions of international law are not paying attention to it. It is interesting, for example, that UNESCO protects global public goods, each country protects its cultural and historic public goods and that is fine. But neither UNESCO nor states like the European democracies do have an institution or method which would protect the actual living artist. In other words, our civilization is diligently protecting by laws what we have received as a heritage from previous generations, but there is no law or the system that would protect what we are creating for the future generations. Every living artist, in addition to his work, is determined by two circumstances: existence and exponentiality. The first factor is the right to life, to legally provide for what is in most systems called - human life. In other words, the artist must not be hunted, as a pray that anyone can catch whenever they want. Even in hunting wild animals there are laws and regulations that govern the matter quite strictly and with good reason. Hunt for artists is simply not regulated by anything and he is the only species, apart from mosquitoes, which can be exterminated with impunity. Regardless of whether you consider the hunting of an artist as direct killing, or rather, as offering his work as goods in the labour market, in both cases we are talking about crime and it is a crime against humanity, the inhumane treatment, conscious and intentional crime committed by the system, the society, both globally and locally, against minority of individuals. To put it simply, the first principle, the existence of the artist, or the right to life, is just as vulnerable today as it was in danger at the time of Nazism, or Communism, or at the time of the Inquisition. The second principle, exponentiality, is a little difficult to understand, and we will try here to simplify the interpretation of this principle, aware of the risk that over-simplifying things can lead to banality in their comprehension. For centuries, and perhaps a millennium, mankind has been circulating a dangerous and completely false slogan that could be summarised in the following statement: if an artwork is really worthy, then it does not need to be recognised in the time of its creation but, sooner or later, it will encounter its true interpreter, perhaps centuries after the death of the artist, and this work will then be recognised and honoured. There are also some rare examples which support this claim, if we're talking about a period of several centuries. If we are talking about shorter periods, then the artist's fame lasting for decades after his death is a very common occurrence. At first glance, everything is correct and fair. But even if it were true, this slogan is not fair, especially not fair to the artist, because he is not able to enjoy the fame that is given to his work a few decades after his death. It is fair to us, subsequent readers, observers, listeners, that is, consumers of art, but it is certainly not fair to point it to the creator of that work. However, this is not the end of the exponential rights of artists, because it is a much wider area. During the war, or any other destructive activities of mankind, unacceptably many famous works of art are destroyed. We have a great example from ancient times, and that is the burning of the Alexandria Library. During the twentieth century there were many such scary examples. In this context, the case of Alexandria Library is no exception, but the rule. It is also not uncommon for an artist who lives all his life on the margins of society, to destroy his work in a state of heightened mental tension, believing that being an artist he is in fact deprived of something, that he has a disability, the disability that creates his talent. It has not been rare that a great artist who lived on the margins of society destroyed his works, and often raised his hand against himself. Consider for a moment the fate of an important work of art, created by an artist from the social margins. From the moment of creation and during the life of the artist, then after the death of the artist, and until it is recognised as a public good, this work has a myriad of threats. History and jurisprudence have no assumption of how many important works of art were destroyed in such sensitive circumstances. Any speculation about the number of such cases would be inhumane by definition. What so-called positive practice shows is certainly that the number is far higher than the number of works that managed to survive the sensitive period. Therefore, the principle of exponentiality is essential to human civilization, for future generations, because it is our right to participate constructively in the future. As human beings who live in this time, we have the right that the works created by the artists of our time are handed over to the future generations. Their works are our legacy to the future of civilization. In this context, the society has to take responsibility in relation to the artist and the artwork, and the principle of exponentiality of art is not only the artist's personal principle, but it is a universal civilization norm that should be respected. Otherwise, in the near or distant future our time could be valued just like we now value the Middle Ages.