The absolute starting point of my Radical Gallery Proposition is that all human beings are equal. Someone pointed out to me the commonality of this objective with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. This person happened to have a copy of the Declaration associated with the fascinating performance series ‘acts of memory’ and printed in the context of the Brighton Festival 2011.
I read the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and three of its articles particularly stood out in relation to thinking about what the Declaration might imply about art.
Article 1- All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
If all human being are born free and equal, is it implicit that this can change after birth?
Article 27(1) – Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
The first half to the statement is all-inclusive and creates an ideal of communities having a cultural life. However, the second half the article states that everyone has the right to enjoy the arts. This suggests that ‘the arts’ might be something different than the cultural life of the community. Worse, it possibly implies that the ads are something separate from everyone. The right to enjoy the arts is not the same as the right to create art to be an artist.
Article 27(2) – Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
I find this potentially problematic. It suggests that ownership of art is possible. I would question this. Ownership of the object, the transmission mechanism, is possible but not the idea/experience in the artist and viewers’ head.