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Neverending Story

Long time ago, when I was still studying economics with a Dutch former minister of culture (Rick vd Ploeg) as my professor, I learned that if I had one hundred Euros and loaned someone eighty out of those hundred Euros that meant there were one hundred and eighty Euros.

And you could keep repeating that same process endlessly.

It was called New Economy, we should all want it, and it would make everybody happy.

It didn’t make me happy though, because I thought: ‘But somebody will have to pay for those eighty Euros which actually don’t exist’

But luckily everybody is taking part and everybody wants to lend and spend; money is a strong belief system.

But luckily I chose for a different kind of belief, the one of making theatre and movies.

And it made me pretty happy; an imaginary world, which didn’t have too big of a consequence for other people.

In the case of theater and movies it’s immediately clear that there’s a ‘story’ and also that everybody wants these stories :-)

Because we are slowly running out of money for these stories here in the Netherlands, I gave a speech at a big pro-art demonstration at the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. (Editor’s note: that pro-art demonstration was a protest against the new Dutch government cutting drastically in all the budgets for the arts, and was called: ‘Scream for Culture’, or in Dutch: ‘Schreeuw voor Cultuur’ )

The organization had the idea of a recurring sentence in all speeches, which had to be: ‘I will never forget…’, so among other things, I said:

“………That art and culture are that what makes living, besides drinking, sex and other beautiful stuff, EVEN more worthwile.

I will never forget that my father explained to me as a little boy what Cubist paintings were, and I was wondering why someone would use squares and circles if you could also simply just paint a face?!

And then my father replied that Henry Ford, one of the biggest automobile manufacturers in the world had said: ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses’

Concerning our current financial model I am now asking myself: But how long will they keep asking for faster horses ?!.

How long can this ‘bankstory’ keep continuing, before we run out of money for it?

12 thoughts on “Neverending Story

  1. Nou zeg, dat is ook wat!

    Ik las net het stukje van Waldemar. Grappig genoeg is het bij mij net zo gegaan..

    Mijn vader legde ook uit wat Cubisme was toen ik een jaar of 6-7- was (we keken naar een blauwe mondriaan). Ik dacht ook waarom zou je dat nou schilderen?
    "En daar betalen mensen dan ook voor?" Vroeg ik.
    "Heel veel" zei mijn vader.
    "Grote mensen zijn gek" dacht ik. En ik besloot op dat moment er nooit eentje te worden.
    En ook de quote van Ford kwam uit de mond van mijn vader :) ) – niet meteen daarna, later pas…

    Tegenwoordig is het wel kunst dat mij inspireert, en dan bedoel ik niet geld, hoewel dat natuurlijk wel heel kunstmatig is..

    Oh i should post in English, sorry:

    I've had the exact same childhood Memory..I remember that my dad explained Cubism (we were looking at a blue Mondiaan) when i was around 6 or 7 and I thought "Why should you paint this if you can paint something else?"

    And also I said: "And people pay money for this too??"

    "Lots" my father said. I thought: "Grown ups are crazy" (and that was the moment i decided never to become one myself).

    He also told me the Henri Ford quote- but that was later in my life….

    These days it is art that inspires me, and not money, although money is very art-ificial

  2. This reminds me of a story about Winston Churchill. He was the UK prime minister during WOII – but also an enthusiastic painter (probably a unique combination). The cost of war was outrageous and the government had to seriously cut budgets (again) to continue. Each department had to deliver a plan on proposed savings. The minister, responsible for arts & culture approached him with his proposal seriously cutting this budget type, Churchill responded: '… but why are we fighting this war int the first place?'.
    I would say – it is tempting to but art and money on a scale, but don't fool yourself.

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