The Journey of Art in Times of War
Thinking of my own responsibility as an artist in a time of war, I began to consider the obligations of artists and was struck with the sense that many artists do not feel compelled or obligated to craft something that attempts to shed light upon the often shady reasons for warfare or upon the propaganda that may foment it.
Why would an artist not try to weave immediate dissent into his or her works, be it painting, music, film, plays, etc? For me the need for art in the world is great, and during times of strife, upheaval or war, it is, in my opinion, most important, appropriate and even obligatory.
With the premise of responsibility one might explore the following questions:
1. Are artists obligated to create, pro or con, art that touches upon aspects of current wars?
2. If artists do not are they basically forgoing some unwritten rule of their particular craft?
To explore these questions one must, I suppose, first consider the definition of war and the feelings it may illicit.
Wikipedia, defines war as "...a reciprocated, armed conflict, between two or more non-congruous entities, aimed at reorganizing a subjectively designed, geo-politically desired result."
Merriam Webster defines war as" "a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations."
In his book, On War, Prussian military theoretician Carl Von Clausewitz calls war the "continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means." He goes on to add that war is like a duel, but on “an extensive scale”.
Clausewitz’s description of war is certainly vivid and concise (if not somewhat flippant), but is it valid? Is war so easily defined and at the same time so difficult to bring to a close once it's waged? How can something so simply defined create such epic bloodshed and long lasting destruction? As a poet and playwright these questions swim beneath most, if not all, of my works.Continued on the next page