AUSTRALIAN ARTIST BILL HENSON IN SOME/THINGS CHAPTER006
BORROWED OPINIONS /
[...] All of these things feed into the public imagination and so the idea of risk, the idea of danger, the idea of damage, all of this stuff is very exciting for the media. And when our elected representatives, politicians, are a part of that power structure, then the 24-hour news cycle unfortunately starts to set policy. So you have one scandal and then another one and then another one and every week it’s a new one. One week it’s a race riot, the next week it’s a volcano and then there’s an air crash and then it’s child murderers. It’s a machine that needs to be fed.
In Australia, more than in Europe, the idea of what culture is, or art if you want, has been progressively marginalised. It’s been made to seem less and less important, and increasingly you have politicians in Australia who say the arts are basically suspect. It is all nonsense because what they look at is activity, which drives the world— and activity is technology and sport, or science and sport, if you like. Because that’s how they see the world. this business of the arts becomes, to them, more and more an incongruity, more and more a politically suspect, marginal activity carried out by pretentious or weird people who are social misfits or something.
You get that a lot in Australia with politicians; they have no interest at all in culture, they have no interest in the arts and they think it’s kind of creepy. In that kind of environment the controversy of my pictures makes perfect sense because it’s not important to them, it’s just weird. They would never attack the entertainment industry, they would never attack big business, they would never attack the retail sector, they would never attack the mining sector where Australia gets all of its money digging up rocks and selling them to China. They would never attack that, but the arts, they are very happy to attack that if they can gain some political mileage...
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