North Korea’s response to The Interview, and the discussion of whether artists are responsible for other people’s reactions to their work it provoked, reminded me of this TED video:
And also Dylan S Hearn’s discussion of the Facebook emotion manipulation experiment.
I still believe, as I commented on Hearn’s article, that most artists don’t owe a special responsibility for their art.
However – unlike many people denying artists bear responsibility for the actions of their audience – my stance is based on the existence of a wider responsibility; that of each person to take reasonable steps to avoid harm to their neighbour.
If I suggest a particular group are being oppressed by a secret cabal in a government then I can foresee it might provoke action. If I write my theory down and use all my skill to make it both plausible and emotionally compelling I can foresee it is more likely to provoke action. So, the artist’s responsibility comes not because they are an artist, but because they are more likely to produce an outcome; in the same way that people releasing podcasts on religion, politics, or macramé have a greater responsibility not to imply violence is a solution than a person talking casually to a friend.
Art is stronger without censorship, but that does not mean artists are exempt from the responsibilities that each citizen bears.
Do you believe artist’s bear no responsibility for what their audience does? Do you believe certain topics should always be off-limits?