The Pacific Standard Time gathering of artists, through the generosity of the Getty and Hammer funding collaboration, portends an invaluable insight and commentary regarding the creative voice in Southern California following the armistice and conclusion of WWII. David Wiles has written definitively on the role of artists as a citizen within society. The author states: “Today we are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as being, preeminently, individuals—that is, unique personalities complete with feelings that we assume are peculiar to ourselves—and it is an article of faith that we are endowed with free will that equips us to make democratic choices. Seen through this contemporary lens, citizenship is a function of ‘me’, not ‘us’…Our modern common sense is challenged when we try to get inside the head of Aristotle, who declared nearly two and a half millennia ago: ‘It is clear then that the state is of its nature prior to the individual’. Most of Aristotle’s contemporaries would have agreed with him, and reasonably enough, for no human being can grow up or survive without social interaction. From the Greek perspective, there was no distinction between selfhood and citizenship, because it is in the nature of developed human beings to gather themselves in communities. A view from the ancient world gives us a critical purchase on what it is to be a ‘citizen’ and will help us understand how citizenship could, should, or might relate to what we have learned to call ‘the arts’.”
What are your thoughts/ideas/comments on David Weil’s attempt to tie the artist to citizenship through free will?