Arts Manifesto

The Army of the Broken Hearted as an arts collective has taken a particular approach – the school of artists as the school of prophets. For now we will call it the prophetic aesthetic.

  1. The art of the prophetic aesthetic is concerned with its own moment in history.
  2. The art of the prophetic aesthetic is concerned with how its own moment in history fits in the wider historical process.
  3. The art of the prophetic aesthetic is concerned with its own people – that is, the people it manifests itself among.
  4. The practitioner of the prophetic aesthetic tells the people’s story to the people and so reveals their identity as a people by virtue of their shared story. It re-peopleises.
  5. The prophetic aesthetic distinguishes between the sheep and the shepherds, between the people and their leaders. They hold the shepherds accountable in the eyes of the sheep for their actions regarding the sheep. They energise the sheep towards a critical consciousness regarding themselves and their shepherds.
  6. The prophetic aesthetic tears down and it builds up. It deconstructs the oppressions and illusions that hang over the people, and it construct the alternative community.
  7. The prophetic aesthetic aims to give solid form to the apparent and yet elusive power structures which oppress the people, since it is hard, as they say, to kill a phantom.
  8. The prophetic aesthetic asserts that a people who no longer participate in the creation of culture are, in that respect, a dead people. Therefore, the rich minority who hold the monopoly on the creation of culture through mass mediums in the name of profit are, in that sense, killing the people. This is the essence of mass culture.
  9. Therefore, the creation of culture must be restored to everday people outside the absorbing and monolithic structures of mass culture.
  10. Therefore, art itself must be wrestled free from the pacifying and compromised narratives of mass culture.
  11. The work of the prophetic aesthetic is forged in dialogue with God.
  12. The work of the prophetic aesthetic is forged in dialogue with others.
  13. The practitioner is the least important party in his/her own work. The art of the prophetic aesthetic is for God and for the people. Both, equally, necessarily. It is the relation between these two parties that definitively concerns the prophetic.
  14. On the other hand the practitioner is utterly indivisable from his/her work. They are not an impartial conduits for a message. They themselves are the message. The word they speak must be absorbed into their life and their life must be absorbed into the word they speak. This is the essence of authentic culture.
  15. The practitioner of the prophetic aesthetic probably has a day job. Their art must grow out of the common experience of the people. Their art cannot be pursued as a career path out of the common experience of the people. The prophetic aesthetic is for the people and of the people.
  16. The work of the prophetic aesthetic is not designed for dissemination via the mediums of mass culture. Its fulfilment is in its actual, local and vital manifestation, among the people who may be met and known by the practitioner. Any mediation of the work must be strictly understood as replication and not the work itself.
  17. The work of the prophetic aesthetic is not designed for consumption by a mass audience. The work of the prophetic aesthetic must always be for the edification of the people that the artist lives alongside, face to face, in dialogue. Family, friends, enemies, colleagues, and the other dwellers of their own towns and cities etc.
  18. The prophetic aesthetic treasures public space for its expression.
  19. The prophetic aesthetic treasures domestic space for its expression.
  20. The prophetic aesthetic does not treasure commercial space for its expression.
  21. Since the prophetic aesthetic necessarily concerns the people, it is not to be merely recieved. It invites dialogue, response, and participation. The prophetic aesthetic seeks to pose questions to be answered and problems to be solved, regarding the moment of history that we occupy as a people. It invites everyday people back to the humanising commission – to create their own culture.
  22. The prophetic aesthetic begins and ends in God who preceeds and outlasts the present empire and its constructs – that the oppressions and enslavements of our times might be subject not only to scrutiny but also to power, and that the Source of liberation might be different in kind to the source of oppression.

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