Many here strongly believe that the science in science fiction should be firmly grounded in reality. They are devotees of what’s called hard sci-fi, which emphasizes technical detail and scientific rigor. If you’ve read Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke or Catherine Asaro, you’ve read hard sci-fi. Andy Weir’s “The Martian” is a recent example.
“Is artist defined by talent and skill, by length of practice or legacy? Are there common characteristics of all artists beyond the attempt to create? Do we include those only within our sphere or all of those beyond our recognition? If creation alone does not constitute conferring the appellation of artist, can one grow into the post? If art is a process, are you an artist only when you have practiced your “art” for a term? Or is the definition of an artist and art best left to each of us to ponder for ourselves?”
“After winning the national elections, [Justin] Trudeau made good on the pledge: In U.S. dollars, the new government has promised almost $1.5 billion over the next five years to Canada’s complex and robust cultural infrastructure. … For Americans, the announcement of a $1.5 billion investment in culture is unthinkable.”
“The value of Edinburgh’s festivals has soared by almost a quarter to £313 million in the space of just five years … They are also now supporting 6,021 jobs – up by 26 per cent – according to findings released ahead of next month’s 70th annual season.”
“Using the same technology that verifies the world’s bitcoin transactions (the blockchain), Blockai wants to assist artists by making it easy to timestamp your protected works all while attempting to spot those infringing on your intellectual property by scouring the Web for offenders.”
Author Neil Gaiman: “Fans are still creators. Fans demand and make things happen. Mostly, that’s great. But it can tip, and when it tips, it goes into strange places where people feel that by having watched a TV show or bought a book, they feel that you owe them something huge for having done that. Watching the level of crazy that can sometimes happen is hard.”
“‘Nobody is happy in this spot,’ explained Josh Barillas, a former costumed character who had dropped by to visit his buddies. Mr. Barillas recalled the halcyon era, several months back, when he said could make $200 a day.”
“The legendary British actor, born Maurice Micklewhite, has legally changed his name to the showbiz moniker he adopted in 1954 because of the rise in airport security checks prompted by Islamic State.”
“To make a real impact we need to think beyond the here and now to who the next generation of arts professionals are going to be. We need to go into schools and colleges and talk to young people about the careers that are available to them. We need to take arts and culture job fairs out into communities to tackle socio-economic barriers and increase awareness of opportunities.”
Perhaps the clearest proof that the way we talk about food is saturated with moralism is the ubiquity of the term “guilt”. Marketing departments have seen the power of this and promoted “guilt-free” snacks and treats. This promises an escape from self-recrimination but simply reinforces it by suggesting that eating the “wrong” kinds of foods does and should make you feel guilty.
“The aggressive development of this aesthetic was not fully organic, but in fact developed with a ‘global wink,’ as part of Japan’s plan to build cultural cachet overseas. … The government has embraced the designation, eager to rebrand the world’s perception of a staid culture characterized by honor and samurai to a more playful, feminized Japan.”
“Since PSSST, Boyle Heights’ newest gallery, announced its grand opening (originally scheduled for May 13) the conflict between the art space and local grassroots organizations has escalated to dimensions greater than each of the actual entities by bringing to question the direct and indirect complicity of artists and cultural spaces in the displacement of long-seated, working-class communities.”
Sadiq Khan: “I don’t want Zone 1 to hog the best arts and culture in our city. There are 33 boroughs, I want to democratise the arts so that every Londoner can benefit from the world’s best art. Love London will give you a discount to enjoy that.” (Love London is a planned card for London residents offering discounts on performance tickets.)
Neil Steinberg looks at how the concept of kawaii arose in Japanese culture, why it works, how it became so prevalent that Japanese cities have officially promoted cute mascots, and what happens when some parts of the culture have had enough of the likes of Hello Kitty.
“So much black intellectual energy has been expended on convincing white audiences simply to care about the exploitation of the black poor and the alienation of the black middle classes. The receptivity of particular white audiences has fluctuated over time, and with it—in tandem, arguably—various indicators of racial inequality. Perhaps just as pressing, then, as interpreting blackness for white audiences is interpreting the causes and consequences of white attention for the rest of us.”
“We need to learn how to construct plural truths and yet manage consistent ethics. We need to move away from monotheism. The different communities engaged with art have a potentially revolutionary role to play in this, especially if they again elide its old claim to autonomous action within the artistic field, with a real stake in a change in thinking about and acting in society.”
“A recent statistical analysis of professorial job openings by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences shows declines in all humanities disciplines since the Great Recession of 2008, including classics. However, classics suffered least in the downturn. The field has kept its small market share, while the number of job postings fell precipitously in other humanities fields.”
“Choreographer Bill T. Jones and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine join [host Arun Venugopal] to discuss how the creative community has responded to violence and has embraced the Black Lives Matter movement.” (audio)
“Exchanging money for the prospect of employment is illegal in the state. Yet there have been no prosecutions by the City Attorney’s office since the 2009 legislation, known as the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act, was enacted the following year.”
“As the 2016 campaign season enters the nominating stage — the Republican National Convention opens on Monday in Cleveland; the Democratic National Convention follows the next week in Philadelphia — no image even approaching the power or reach of Mr. Fairey’s poster has emerged.”
The man who wrote the opening ceremonies: “The ceremony didn’t depict a nation, it revealed it. It didn’t describe Britain, it WAS Britain – in the way that the Blitz spirit was or Dunkirk or The Last Night of the Proms. What. The. Hell. Happened?”
Visceral and at times frightening narratives are running through our popular culture. We get Batman and Superman — once the extensions of our better selves — battling each other in a grim rain; the take-no-prisoners TV commentaries of Samantha Bee and John Oliver; abrasive, if clever, comics like Amy Schumer; rage and betrayal in Beyonce’s “Lemonade”; meth and degradation in “Breaking Bad”; beheadings, dragons, torture and wars for supremacy in “Game of Thrones.”
The titular games are themselves a reality TV show, after all, and (writes Alyssa Rosenberg) the franchise “feels uneasily resonant today not because [author of the books Suzanne] Collins treated reality programming as a diversion from more important things, but because she recognized the extent to which reality TV would capture our politics and become the means by which we make our most important decisions as a society.”
“‘The city was culturally dead when I arrived here,’ says Jean Blaise, an artistic director and cultural impresario who has been based in Nantes since the mid-1980s. ‘There was one interesting festival and the opera house, that’s all.'” Now it’s France’s fastest-growing city and has real cachet. The key? “‘If you make people pay for culture, or only offer it in enclosed spaces like theatres or museums, you will only ever reach a small percentage of the population,’ Blaise says.”
“Anne Ewers, the Kimmel Center’s president and CEO since 2007, has been signed to a four-year contract extension that keeps her here at least through the 2019-20 season … Ewers in her time has retired the center’s debt, raised tens of millions for endowment and programs, developed a master plan of renovations that has been partially realized, overseen the coming and going of resident companies, and has greatly reduced the center’s own classical programming in favor of commercial presentations.”
Bottom line: I think it has a lot to do with the fact that sports has succeeded in being part of kids lives to an extent that arts have not.
“It is difficult to separate the history of the Cuban Revolution from the fate of the National Art Schools as they themselves were building revolutionary desire. During their abandonment, over the course of decades, nature returned. This time it was not the scenic nature of the old golf course, but the greed of vines, lianas trees, animals, and flooding.”
“According to the Implicit Association Test, most white Americans are biased against black people, as measured by the amount of time it takes them to associate positive words with images of black, compared to white, people. So how do you undo biases that are so ubiquitous that even very young children buy into them, yet so dark that few people will acknowledge them?”
“Certainly, headphones are an obvious method of exercising autonomy, control – choosing what you’ll hear and when, rather than gamely enduring whatever the environment might inflict upon you. In that way, they are defensive; users insist upon privacy (you can’t hear what I hear, and I can’t hear you) in otherwise lawless and unpredictable spaces. Should we think of headphones, then, as just another emblem of catastrophic social decline, a tool that edges us even deeper into narcissism, solipsism, vast unsociability? Another signifier of that most plainly American ideology: independence at any cost?”
“If Pokémon Go does represent a sea change in augmented reality, then it’s one that’s going to force us to rethink our approach to designed spaces, public and private. So many of the places people gather center on communal tragedy or reverence: funerals, war memorials, religion. What do you do when someone whips out their phone to catch a Geodude at the Holocaust Memorial? Or, as is apparently already happening, Auschwitz? Games, with the weight they bear—of play, of fun—might have once seemed inappropriate for those places. But now those places are squares on the game grid.”