Against a culture of stupefaction

Against a narcotic culture whose primary desire is stupefaction

Andrea Scrima talks to Rainer J. Hanshe, founder of Contra Mundum Press

The Brooklyn Rail, Dec/Jan 2012-13

“Often, typically before disasters or in the midst of excruciating crises, many artists believe or feel that their work is meaningless and without value. Who is an artist before a surgeon or scientist? But the fact that tyrants and political regimes of every age have been threatened by art again and again, condemned it as degenerate or poisonous, and have silenced, brutalized, or murdered artists because of their work (and it is happening in our own time) only serves to illustrate how significant art is, that it is our one greatest power — the unique power of the individual, the singular force of the marginalized, and therefore, a political force. I would even go so far as to say that the ‘enemy’ of art experiences it more acutely than its devotee or acolyte, for the latter is generally too ‘pious’ and adoring, whereas art’s ‘enemy’ suffers its transformative threat more, is even endangered by it, hence their terror. It is the Platonic fear of art’s power over the ‘soul.’ And the fear of the destruction of the polis, but destruction only leads to new creations, to mutations that take us into new territory. What we have here is something inordinately potent — art is a life force, the vital breath that sustains us in the midst of our most excruciating trials. It is the powerless individual’s animating energy.”

Read the full interview here: against a culture of stupefaction.