Bridging the Creative/Critical Divides
I agree strongly with Nettrice and Brian on the need to bring new tools and technologies into the mix, not because these elements are in themselves inherently more democratic, but because they offer an opportunity to destabilize profoundly some rigid structures currently in place both inside and outside academia (and why we see such resistance and trivialization of their use at times). The good news, sort of, is that alongside of what we see as an aesthetic divide is also a generational one. Many young artists within academia are already taking up these new strategies, technologies, and ideas despite a lack of consistent institutional support, enthusiasm, or interest in innovative art practices. I don't think we can afford to wait for change to happen via a generational turn over (since institutions do have a way of reproducing themselves ultimately when left to their own internal mechanisms). What we do need is to find a way to open up the conversation on these divides - including, especially, the academic/outside world divide. Brian's game suggestion is definitely a good place to begin. I understand and applaud Bill Ivey's call for Department of Cultural Affairs as a way to centralize the issues for the arts and artists, but I would also suggest a parallel external, perhaps virtual, organization, consortium, or think tank, that brings as many diverse perspectives into the mix as possible but with the umbrella goal of reshaping arts policy along more democratic lines (politically and aesthetically).
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