I now look to you, Oshrat Kotler,
to close the case for the proposition.
First let me take this opportunity in thanking you for inviting me.
It’s a great honour speaking in front of you this evening for me.
Actually you made me want to go back to my university years.
A young lady over there, you touched my heart.
You are so brave.
So can one seperate the art from the artist?
A profound question, indeed.
Especially for me as I’m a true ambassador to the arts,
and believe that an artist has been gifted with an ability
so unique, so ethereal.
But for those who are not artistically inclined,
such as us, the commoners,
it leaves us with the feeling of awe.
One could suggest that a gift as unique as this
should be above any earthly rules or limitations
that it should be left alone to flourish in an arena, over artistic freedom
I think we can all agree that good arts, arts at all,
我认为我们都同意 艺术 优秀的艺术
deserves and needs freedom.
But can artist be freed of any moral judgements?
What if the artist is inhuman?
What if they abuse people, inflict pain,
or even cause permanent damage to others?
Should we continue to admire the work,
put them on the pedestal,
and courage them to continue with their artistic creativity?
On one hand,
what will we lose as society by setting moral boundries to the artist?
Would we still have art at all?
On the other hand,
where do we draw the line when it comes to limitation on freedom?
Not only artistic freedom, but any form of freedom.
In order to address these profound issues,
we need to reflect,
I believe on the purpose of art,
the role it has within society,
and then ask ourselves,
what is the purpose of human society at all?
Why was it established in the first place?
The first signs of art of beautiful cave wall drawings
were found to exist in the Stone Age,
some forty thousand years ago.
Was this essential for survival?
Researchers cannot determine.
But what about modern society?
Does humanity need art in order to survive?
Can we go on living without it, for example?
比如 没有它 我们能继续生活下去吗？
The answer is of course we can.
We can go on living, loving,
没有艺术 我们仍能够继续生活 相爱
bringing up our children, without art.
But we choose to embrace it because it inspires us.
It gives us pleasure. It help us to express ourselves.
Society needs art because it transcends us to a higher level of existence.
I believe that it was Oscar Wilde who claimed that
‘Through art, and only through art,
we can protect ourselves from the severe dangers of existence.’
No doubt a monumental quote.
But what if the danger is evoked by the artist himself?
So once again,
when should we separate the art from the artist?
Where is the line of acceptance and forgiveness for any immoral behaviour?
Or maybe there should be no line at all.
Let me use this point, quite an extreme example.
Ludwig van Beethoven was a musical prodigy,
but with an unpleasant disposition.
Those that encountered him described him as rude,
见过他的人 都说他对别人 包括对自己的同行
impolite and intolerant to others, including fellow musicians.
Not really a character that you would choose as a friend.
Regardless of this, we admire his work, his creations
尽管如此 我们还是膜拜他的艺术 他的作品
and have been celebrating his music for the past two centuries already.
Wilhelm Wagner, on the other side, was a brilliant composer too.
Even so he was boycotted in Israel for decades,
due to his anti-semitic views,
the close connections his family had with the Nazis,
and the fact that his music was embraced and valued by the Nazi regime
This also applied to Richard Strauss,
who had an official role in the Third Reich.
So why are we able to separate the art from the artists
in the case of Beethoven,
but not in the case of Wagner or Strauss?
In order to answer this question,
we need to go back to my initial question:
why was society created at all?
The challenge of human society is portrayed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
in the social contract is, and I quote:
”To find a form of association which will defend and protect with
the whole common force, the personal goods
of which associate and within each
while uniting himself with all may still obey himself alone,
and remains as free as before.”
Thus comes to exist, the social contract in the civil state
that preserves and protecting individual,
by substituting justice for instinct in his conduct
and giving his actions morality.
Society was created in order to protecting individuals from the dangers of nature,
but also from the dangers of human nature.
– Can I ask a question? – Not now, I’m sorry.
– 我能问个问题吗？ – 现在不行 抱歉
Human beings in the West Savannah need each other in order to survive.
In today’s modern society, people need protection from other people too.
Rousseau was the first to acknowledge that.
So if we agree that this is one of the
first fundamental functions of society,
we should in fact reject any human behaviour
that goes against this theory.
So it’s true Beethoven was a rude and vulgar person,
who probably suffered from the bipolar disorder.
Van Gogh lost his mind.
Other artists can be labelled as eccentric, anti social
or even estranged from society.
Nevertheless, as long as they don’t cross over the line
and breach the basic human contract,
we may savour and rejoice the art and creations.
This is why I am able to enjoy Beethoven’s magnificent creations.
Yet on the other hand, as a daughter of holocaust survivor,
I am unable to listen to the music,
magnificent as it maybe, of composers who believe,
for example, in the final solutions of the Jews.
An artist that breaches this contract,
that endangers the freedom and safety of member of society,
regardless of the religion, fate, believes,
不论他的宗教 命运 信仰
or background, by a direct action,
and this is very important, only by a direct action,
should lose his place in society,
together with a privilege platform, of which he presents his creativity and art.
And along with this, the power, we attribute to it.
Unless he regrets his action.
Yes, apology can be accepted.
So as far of the MeToo Movement,
we should follow the same logic.
Any artist that abuses, harasses, or attacks another person
should not be embraced by society,
neither should their creation period.
It is true, it is very true,
that art transcends us to a higher level of existence.
But let us exist safely first.
Our first obligation as member of society
is to defend and protect with a whole common force
the person and good of each associate
as Rousseau claimed more than 200 years ago.
Artist, as a fundamental and essential part of our society,
should follow the same obligations.
The greater the success, the higher the obligation stands.
In their privilege position, they become gate keepers
for the safe existence of other,
preferably a loving existence.
This is the epitome of our society.
If we would not exclude artist who harm others,
we will lose the very basic reason of existing as society at all.
I now look to you, Oshrat Kotler,