The Business World Cuts Itself Off

MICHAEL LINGNER: Art and business are Systems that can be clearly distin-guished. The only way it makes sense is to go into a Company with something - for example art - that they don't yet have. What is decisive is the difference. When you try to find out what it is that makes companies shy away from artists so much, then they say that for them it is incalculable, unpredictable, that they are afraid for their brand. That is to say, contrary of the rhetoric of business that to the outside always propagates creativity and innovation, when they are actually faced with unpredictable processes - and creative processes are by defi-nition unpredictable, otherwise they are not creative - they want nothing to do with them. If you wanted to interpret it psychologically, you would call it a kind of compulsion neurosis. They want to keep everything under control, because they are all under great pressure from the competition, especially competition for the well-paid Jobs. Therefore everybody is afraid of making mistakes. And of course there is a taboo as far as internal processes are concerned: the business world will not like it if artists were to seriously try to even begin to engage with economic processes and reflect on them.

So everywhere where there is a serious access, where a serious engagement with economic processes takes place, and facts are simply documented, the doors will be closed. That is to say, in my experience, in contrast to many personal contacts and also friendships with people who work in business, who as private individuals do quite a lot for art and are very open, the moment they are in their office in their Company, you can forget about them.

DORIS ROTHAUER: What you said about the relationship of Companies to artists, that they shut themselves off hermetically, is certainly right. But I think that is about to change now. If you want to establish any kind of connection between art and business, the question is, why do companies react the way they do and don't give artists any kind of access. I believe that the reasons for this to a large extend also lies in the behaviour of the artists themselves, in a role definition that has grown historically. Artists and art have always shut themselves off as their own System, in order to take up a rather elitist position as an outsider, which enables them to articulate precisely the social critique that is so often the issue. That is, as it were, the function of the courtjester: you are allowed to do and say everything, and you have that freedom that comes from not actually being integrated into social processes. You are an outsider. This is also where autonomy comes into it. Through this position, artists got their autonomy, or rather, their autonomy made their work possible in the first place. That created an image of the artist that makes many business people shy away.

You mentioned that many companies shut themselves off hermetically; I have encountered many companies that saw this the other way round, namely that we artists shut ourselves off hermetically. Recently I chaired a Workshop where we brought together a number of artists and managers to one table so that they might exchange their views. And even the body language, as well as their actual language, was so different, every side shut itself off hermetically.

Managers are reserved with artists, and art shuts itself from companies.

You mentioned earlier that artists feel that companies don't show enough respect to them. That for me also has something to do with that role, that artists are simply not associated with productivity. But I have also seen the reverse: that managers feel that artists lack respect, all the way to being arrogant towards them.


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