In the art world, people see political correctness as a hindrance, a limit or boundary they shouldn’t cross.
In a paradoxical time where both freedom of speech and political correctness are equally important, today, we try to understand how today’s artist navigates through touchy topics in this blog;
Our Creative Assistant Anaika decided to ask Visual Artist and Creative Head at Applause Applause- Rohan Mukherjee about his views regarding political correctness, and how that affects him, and here’s how that went.
Anaika- How has the political climate in India affected your art?
(Would you be making this kind of art if things were different?)
Rohan- I haven’t known any other climate. My little experiment with surrealism is a recent affair, and the socio-political wave makes its presence felt in all our lives. Be it on one hand authorities egging on extremist, and irrational opinions – and on the other hand you have the woke group pushing you to tiptoe around an opinionated statement. So if there’s a climate of fear, I’d probably retaliate with a collage involving CCTV cameras and moist eyeballs.
Anaika- How much do you think political correctness affects you directly, and what do you do to include/avoid it in your art? Do you have to hold back your opinions because of it?
Rohan- I would like to say that I don’t pay heed to political correctness, but yes – going back to my earlier response, if I had the problem of a massive fan-following, I’d probably be made to pay heed to political correctness. But in general, speaking objectively, the need to be politically correct stems from an area of confusion. For instance, the feat of misinterpretation. As a creative person, or any person for that matter we have become more aware of the words we put across because the ramifications of it are so sudden.
But yes, there is a time for certain subject matters. The trick is to not come across as insensitive which has its roots in unawareness. For instance, for Visual Vishay, I find it difficult to create a visual if I don’t understand the news in totality – at least for me to have an objective take on it. Surrealism is about conveying the essence of a thing – or let’s say the crux of the matter. So really, if done well, the burden is on the viewer to read the meaning into it. Even if that means pissing someone off, it’s worth it if you have facts by your side.
Anaika- Why have you chosen “digital collage” as your preferred medium? How impactful is it in conveying your thoughts and ideas?
Rohan- Digital collage was an accident. Being a writer, and a comedian the visuals for an idea are pretty well conveyed through random depictions of the idea. So borrowing from Dadaism and other forms of automatism art – which basically means, you pick an image or element without reading too much into it, and then see where it takes you. And the piece of art. It’s exciting to me because it offers the same level of improvisation of a scriptwriting process – I never know what the end result will look like. Just an intent.
Anaika- What do you want your target audience to take away from your artwork? Do you see that happening?
Rohan- Honestly, I want my audience to be confused, and read their own interpretations into what they see. It happens often – where the point I’m trying to make with a certain element is communicated well, or misinterpreted. But it’s all fun. Plus, I’m a sucker for the shock value. So if I put together a visual that challenges your idea of normal, that’s a good day for me.
Anaika- What do you think pushes an artwork from “mildly informative” to “didactic” ?
Rohan- I’m too much of a noob to have any real understanding of this. But. I think when a piece of art stops being about the cosmetics and aesthetics of it – how the colour palette balances each other out, the symmetry and other obnoxious terms – and when it starts to be more than just that. That to me is didactic. If your art is set to leave people with a new piece of emotion, it’s done a good job of imparting your feeling on another.
I hope we have left you with an eye view of the different forms of Political Correctness and how we use it in today’s generation.