On arts, literature and its defenders – Andrea Wulf in TLS:
‘As we hurtle towards climate catastrophe, some of us might have lost hope, but I believe that art and literature can still make a change. Most of our environmental debates – at least in the political arena – are based on data projections, statistics and figures. This scientific approach is, of course, incredibly important, but I think we also need artists, poets and writers to help us change our behaviour. At the heart of this is imagination. How can we understand what is at stake not just intellectually, but also emotionally? Sometimes an artist can visualize the threats of climate change more effectively than a scientific report can, or a novelist can paint a portrait of our potentially terrifying future more evocatively. Take the Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, who brought blocks of glacial ice from Greenland to London, Copenhagen and Paris. With these melting ice blocks he created a tangible experience of global warming and disappearing Arctic ice – more powerful and visceral for some of us than plain numbers. In 1798 the young German poet Novalis wrote that the “sciences must all be poeticised”, an idea that seems more important today than ever before.
Andrea Wulf is a historian and the author of Magnificent Rebels: The first Romantics and the invention of the self.’
Read the article here.
If art is there to change our behavior, what do we do with art when our behavior has not been changed?
And what’s the basis for the belief that ‘poeticized science’ will change our behavior?
And how do we know that these changes will be positive?
Where does sheer propaganda end and where does the poeticized science begin?