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In order to continuously reinvent itself and its values, any open society should be capable of constant self-criticism. This critical reflection requires a ‘conceptual open space’ in the public domain that provides room for experiment with new thoughts and ideas, independent of established beliefs or economic interests.
The visual arts work in and from this space, and help define its boundaries at the same time. Art and its practitioners can be considered autonomous within this space. This does not mean that they are separated from society, but that they reserve the ability to observe society from ‘the outside’; much like a painter does when he takes a step back from his easel to view the painting from a distance.
From this open space new ideas and thoughts are developed. They can incite discussion, bring along new insights, or create new experiences. The role and function of the open space is to constantly imagine alternatives to the status quo, and to continuously question ourselves and our values. This is an indispensable process within society, without which society stagnates.
The existence of this conceptual open space is not guaranteed – especially in a society that sees itself as the end of history and whose only measuring standard appears to be an economic one.
It is the position of Platform BK, that the government has an obligation to ensure market independence in the arts sector (and other sectors). It must enable a viable counterpart to the commercial art market, by having other expectations to the arts than corporate or private funders do. By not focusing on short term profits, the government’s investment can provide continuity and a climate of trust, which is vital for the development of new vulnerable ideas and to the well-being of society in the long term.
Platform BK wants to mobilize the arts sector to define, research, expand the conceptual open space, and to relay its importance for an open society.