Day 2

Manifesto on Artists’ Rights by Tania Bruguera

Overview digital gestures

Art is not a luxury. Art is a basic social need to which everyone has aright.

Art is a way of building thought, of being aware of oneself and of the others at the same time. It is a methodology in constant transformation for the search of a here and now.

Art is an invitation to questioning; it is the social place of doubt, of wanting to understand and wanting to change reality.

Art is not only a statement of the present, it is also a call for a different future, a better one. Therefore, it is a right not only to enjoy art, but to be able to create it.

Art is a common good that does not have to be entirely understood in the moment one finds it. Art is a space of vulnerability from which what is social is deconstructed to construct what is human.

Artists not only have the right to dissent, but the duty to do so.

Artists have the right to dissent not only from affective, moral, philosophical, or cultural aspects, but also from economic and political ones.Artists have the right to disagree with power, with the status quo.Artists have the right to be respected and protected when they dissent.

The governments of nations where artists work have the duty to protect their right to dissent because that is their social function: to question and address what is difficult to confront.[…]

Artists suggest a meta-reality, a potential future to be experienced in the present. They suggest experimenting a moment which has not yet arrived, a situation of ¨what if that were this way.¨ Therefore,they cannot be judged from spaces in the past, from laws trying top reserve what is already established.

Governments must stop fearing ideas. […]In moments of high sensitivity (wars, legislative changes, political transitions), it is the duty of the government to protect and guarantee dissident, questioning voices, because these are moments in which one cannot do a way with rationality and critical thought and it is sometimes only through art that many emerging ideas can make a public appearance. Without dissent there is no chance of progress.[…]

Artistic expression is a space to challenge meanings, to defy what is imaginable. This is what, as times goes by, is recognized as culture.A society with freedom of artistic expression is a healthier society. It is a society where citizens allow themselves to dream with a better world where they have a place. It is a society that expresses itself better, because it expresses itself in its entire complexity.

This text excerpt was chosen for the Festwochen supplement as part of theco-operation with DER STANDARD.

Textcredit: Speech read in Expert Meeting on Artistic Freedom and Cultural Rights Hall#21, Palais des Nations, seat of the United Nations Organization Geneva, 6 December 2012
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