I was reminded today, attending the MFA Symposium at the UCA Farnham, of the importance of artists. Far from just putting work out there for everyone else to scratch their heads at in wonderment, good artists research, analyse, interpret information through a myriad of creative filters and then present it, all the time referencing writers, critics and artists before them – because the inescapable truth is that we constantly reference the world around us, our culture, our DNA. The phrase that comes to mind is that we are, as T S Eliot and before him Bernard de Chartres put it, dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, ie we need that which has passed before us to give us an understanding of that which lies ahead of us. So, in that context, I was both impressed and disappointed with my fellow artists in the room whose presentations were aimed at bringing together their research to date, something like a justification of what went ahead and what they were doing in consequence.
Of course, I accept that the artist is also an activist, and satirist, and historian, and archivist and possibly also a scientist and many more other things all rolled into one, but to me the ethical responsibility of the artist is also very important. There was one speaker whose work left me