August 8, 2007 - Utopia Station - What now is the role of the artist?
August 8, 2007

What now is the role of the artist?

Detail of The Map of Friendship between Art and Philosophy
by Thomas Hirschhorn and Marcus Steinweg

Utopia Station
Le Monde Diplomatique

August 2007 

It is possible that we are in the process of experiencing a new relationship between art and practice. Alarm clocks ring sixty seconds every minute, works of art follow reality, again calling for a hundred flowers to appear, things fall apart. The arts are entering the space outside themselves, looking hard to the future. It is an all-out search. Many see a state of emergency. What now is the role of the artist?

This question cannot be answered abstractly. The effort to answer concretely has led to a centerfold. It begins a collaboration between Utopia Station and Le Monde Diplomatique.

In the centerfold of the August issue of Le Monde Diplomatique, you will find a Utopia Station. It has been given over to the artist Thomas Hirschhorn, who in turn has invited the philosopher Marcus Steinweg to collaborate on a map. Their Map of Friendship is founded on a handshake.

Like an open site, the page extends beyond the hand; it deepens. Passages appear. Like any map, they give the main lines, main roads, links, an orientation, and then accept the fact that the small details will blur, since in reality no map attains a 1:1 ratio. This world does not belong to Borges. Reality is always bigger than the map. Look carefully and you will see blood. The artist and the philosopher make their contribution to a situation in which they know full well that they are neither first nor last.

This page is a Station but it is also an object designed to be taken away, to enter other spaces, to be used. Think of it as a reality. Think of it as a step, a work-in-progress.

Available at newstands and bookshops throughout the world.

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