If you’ve been following our weekly articles, right now you’re acquainted with some of the things that are wrong, and we want to change, in the contemporary art sector. We’ve talked about centralisation, opacity and unequal opportunities, among other things. But, why is this so important to us, in art2act? In fact, why is art so important?
Art as a witness of history
We’ve seen art’s positive impact on a healthy economy and we’ve also seen how it can be used as a tool for social change. We’ve seen how it can be a powerful social escalator and how it plays a major role in academic success. But maybe we should start by looking at art as an infinite archive through which we can access culture and history way before humans could write. Thanks to art created 60,000 years ago, we know that Neanderthals were capable of abstract thinking (see cave paintings from La Pasiega, Spain), we know how tribes would hunt in Indonesia 40,000 years ago (see Sulawesi's cave paintings), and how they would live in the Sahara Desert 8,000 years ago (see Ennedi cave paintings). Art can tell us, of course, the same history you would find written in history books, the one told by those in power. But it has also told us, throughout time, the history of the people, the history of everyday life no king or queen wanted to tell. Pieter Bruegel the Elder showed us how medieval cities were in the Netherlands and Jean-Baptiste Greuze showed us how peasants lived in France in the 19th century. Today, as is as multiple as are our currents of thought, and is deeply touched by the connections that exist between them, which characterise our global world.
Ennedi cave paintings, 6.000BC. ©David Stanley
Art in the collective
Besides allowing us to create records of time, art allows humans to experience life in ways that other creatures cannot. It helps us to express our feelings, desires, and worries to those that surround us. Art reminds us that we are not alone and that we are all living the same universal human experience. We may live events, develop connections, and make a difference by sharing our inner feelings via art. It can alter people's ideas, teach ideals, and transfer experiences across place and time. It allows individuals from various cultures and eras to connect with one another through sights, sounds, and tales. Art allows us to capture and analyze more than just our own personal experiences. Nothing else can make us feel the way art does. It makes us laugh, weep, and think about ourselves in ways we wouldn't normally think.
Art in the individual
This, of course, has a strong positive impact on our wellbeing. Art simultaneously engages with our senses, our thoughts and our emotions. To get into the science of it, when you look at a piece of art, the visual center of your brain processes the shape, color, and orientation. On the other hand, this piece activates the brain's anterior temporal lobe, the area of the brain involved in logical thinking, trying to understand the use of the piece. Finally, your brain will also engage some activity in the posterior cingulate cortex, the region connected with inner thoughts and feelings. As a result, it stimulates changes in your brain chemistry which will translate into stress and anxiety relieving, better creative thinking and problem-solving skills and therefore higher self esteem and an overall improvement in your quality of life.
The paramountcy of art is tied to the nature of our human-made world, and whether we design it to be a source of comfort or suffering, art is a sweeping notion that has played a capital role in the history and development of humankind. That is why, in art2act, we’re deeply engaged in supporting art creators. We see how important their work is and how much of a transformative impact it has in our societies and in ourselves, as individuals. By creating a platform that improves efficiency and brings together different stakeholders of the sector in an open and democratic way, we will create an ecosystem that fosters a positive feedback loop, generating culture and art on its own. Blockchain technology is the main tool behind this, artists are its catalysts.