We cannot look away

A message to my fellow participants in Culture Shock Chapter 1 next week

Two young women in the US watch the election results
Two young women in the US watch the election results






Artists, scientists, fellow human beings, we cannot look away while the ugliest side of us rolls back all that is good in us. Everything our parents and grandparents worked for and fought for is threatened.

In a post-truth world, where a proudly ignorant, misogynistic, white supremacist, homophobic climate change denier can speak to so many, historic dangers are resurfacing like some foul regurgitated toxin.

Our grandparents defeated fascism (or so we thought). Our parents made a society that cares for those in need and treats the sick with the latest science, regardless of ability to pay at point of access. We ourselves created a culture that values all human beings equally, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, identity. It’s a society that understands we cannot continue to put intolerable pressure on our planet. It’s a society that enables the arts and science to make great leaps forward, and these great leaps move society forwards.

As it’s almost November 11, I’m reminded of Jeremy Deller’s ‘We’re here because we’re here’. We are indeed here because we’re here, and there is something about the way that that art installation came among us all, sacrifice and progress; past, present and future, that feels even more urgent and necessary now.

As artists and scientists, arts people and scientific people, our role is the same: we are here for our humanity, to fight ignorance, to question (and encourage questions), to seek to understand and to build hope.

This is a new Conradian Heart of Darkness. We cannot look away.

Copyright: Claire Gulliver (2016). May be reproduced for non-commercial purposes only, provided that credit is given.