Old Words: The Art of Uncertainty
François Matarasso wrote this essay in 2010 and revised it in 2012. Ten years later, its anticipated uncertainties have become reality, but its suggestions for better approaches to arts management have had no discernible effect.
François argues that, if the Age of Reason has begun to draw to a close, that may have less to do with debates between philosophers than changes in our understanding of science. As quantum mechanics have succeeded Newtonian physics we have begun to learn to think in terms of probabilities not certainties. We don’t find it rational any more to believe in rationalist causality, at least not in regard to anything concerning human affairs. We’ve had to recognise too many unknown unknowns.
This episode considers how the arts might respond to this sense of uncertainty that — whether we like it or not — has emerged as a defining characteristic of our time.