I've been working in what is known as the arts for over a decade now and it struck me today that in all that time I have never seen anybody working in this field genuinely listen to anybody else's viewpoint. Of course there have been times where I've seen people give other people a tip about another artists' work or some small thing they could improve, and on occasion this has even been pursued by the receiver.
Yet I can't recall any instance, not even one, of a situation where two people disagreed, with person a arguing against person b's standpoint and where b let go of their standpoint simply because they couldn't refute the argument made by a.
Such a straightforward acknowledgement of a shared reality is something I've seen happen almost everywhere else in my life. I've seen it occur between footballers, chefs, racing drivers, chemists, botanists, video game designers, lawyers, skateboarders, logicians, philosophers and religious figures. But in my experience the free spirits of the arts are somehow surprisingly dogmatic and unable to veer from their own hard-won viewpoints.
In the most recent outline of the cultural policy of the Dutch government, two defining features of visual arts were found to be 'research and discourse'. Yet what's the point of discourse if there is apparently no receiving party for one's arguments and the best one can hope is for is to find a room full of people nodding enthusiastically along to whatever you are saying.
The irony of writing this in a blogpost with a limited audience unfortunately did not escape me.