I am convinced that “Why” is the most important word in the English language. It is only by questioning and testing that the status quo may be examined. Scientists do it all the time, greatly to their credit. When we read the newspaper the first question we should ask is; “Why was this written” This is not being cynical and is merely common sense.
Humour is our preferred method of communication. With equal measures of courage and humour the citizen of the world is armed against adversity. You can’t fight humour. We are also great lovers of theatre and the magic of performance art. We are, after all, a family of artists and it is to be remembered that an artist of no lesser stature than Rembrandt loved dressing up and presenting himself as an Eastern Potentate in his self portraits.
Over a century ago an editor of the Economist Magazine advised the British Royal Family sagely; “Do not let the sun shine in on Royalty” A Micro national Conference may be misinterpreted by many in the media and the general public as a merely group of disaffected people and I believe that would be regrettable. I think it should be seen positively as an example of plurality at work in an ingenious way . The very essence of democracy is plurality.
It is interesting, when looking at the map of self proclaimed micro nations around the world, to observe that almost universally they are tolerated only in liberal democracies.
I am not sure what is to be gleaned from this but it is heartening that a Department of Sociology in a respected University in such a liberal democracy is prepared to host a conference on this subject. It is a reflection of a refreshingly open minded attitude.
The overlapping of fine art, which is my background, into theatre, through installation and performance art is now firmly set in the repertoire. Even so, creating a Principality was an uncharted, yet at the time, most necessary leap for me. It was an exhilarating application of the magic of art.
I feel that, as a result of the ubiquitous mobile telephone and world wide web, an all embracing sameness is, by stages, at risk of embracing the world. There are wonderful aspects to this linking up of course, knowledge is propagated by this means, but something is at risk of being lost by the arts The arts are, in great part, different – being born out of soliloquy. Is it possible that, for the arts, there is too much communication? Furthermore, is it too much of a stretch of the imagination to envisage that micro nationals, contributing isolated tangential views of the world, may enrich our understanding by their very difference? African masks contributed to the discovery, by Picasso, of cubism. Who knows what inspiration micro nations may provide.
Our little Principality is not a great communicator. Some have asked why our website is a bit sketchy. It is deliberately so, – for the time being. Edgar Degas said of art; “A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.”
In our case- “why is an answer”
I am sure that the symbolism of locating the conference on an island will be noticed by many.
Prospero the prince of the island stages his characters as colours on an artist’s palette, in the process inventing an island that is the world of the imagination.
In conclusion I think that honour should be paid to the broad Australian community for their necessary respect for difference and their generosity of spirit and by extension to Macquarie University and Dr Lattas, for making our day on the Hawkesbury possible.
On Dangar Island in the State
of New South Wales on this fair day.
We gather here to celebrate
the role that difference can play.
Paul Ashton Delprat
Prince of Wy