Theatre director, festival director, actor and currently Director of the TPAM performing arts meeting in Japan, Hiromi Maruoka reflects on the earthquake, the nuclear danger and the role of art and its use in critical situations.
"As far as I know, at least among Japanese and European performing arts
professionals, in recent years, concerns about reduction of public support for art
due to the economic crisis and political reactionism have been shared, and such
themes as the raison d'être of art or what art can do have been discussed. I do
not intend to express doubt about the necessity of these discussions at all, but I
think there are assumptions that art might not be able to survive or that we
might not be able to explain why art should exist if art cannot do anything are
in the background of these questions. What I would like to say here is, as a
number of forerunners have said, that art always exists no matter how bad
situations are. What art can do or to what art can contribute are not questions
about the condition of art but questions about what benefits society can draw
from art. I would like to reaffirm again here that art itself always exists and the
fact that art exists as art is enough for art...."
"Society cannot continue to exist without renewing itself, but an opportunity to
renew itself does not exist inside society itself. It seems that society rarely
explicitly expresses necessity of art, because society tends to behave as if it is
autonomously sufficient, in other words, as if it does not need 'outside'. However,
fundamentally, society needs art for its own survival..."
A moving response to all of us who are asking Japanese colleagues, "What can we do?"