Save our souls (or “save our ship”) is probably the most well known and most emotional Morse signal of all. S.O.S. relays the peril of mortal danger while it is also a plea to be rescued. The festival motto's subheading then comes as a surprise. Neither art nor the artists who make it are asking for help, although there are ample reasons for artists to do so. On the contrary, the idea is that they can rescue others. This call of distress appears to go out from the entire “world”, assuming that “art” is on the ground and ready to provide the help needed. Nonetheless, the statement that “Art saves world” is an irritating one. Can art save this world in any way? Who exactly needs to be rescued? And who is able to do the rescuing? What is art actually able to do?
S.O.S. is a metaphor for the state that art is presently in, as well as the state that society finds itself in. We live in a time in which dangers abound. Regional and, respectively, social conflicts, from global refugee movements to the challenges that individuals face in trying to eek out an existence, are all significant. Perhaps those making art have to, in light of this situation, constantly consider the reason why that art is being made?
S.O.S. poses the question of the challenges and excessive demands facing both art and society at large. This leads to the sneaking suspicion that, much too often, there are unrealistic expectations of what “art” can do. Indeed, expectation of artists can lead to them producing work under false assumptions of what “art” should be about.
There's a lot that art can do, but it should do even more.
Art can and does accompany many aspects of life as part and parcel thereof. The expectations that are made of art are as manifold as the variety of art forms that exist. We, as a festival want to ask precisely: what can be accomplished through art?