diacritical

Our culture is undergoing profound changes. Our expectations for what culture can (or should) do for us are changing. Relationships between those who make and distribute culture and those who consume it are changing. And our definitions of what artists are, how they work, and how we access them and their work are changing.

So the models we have been using to support culture have to change.

This blog will look at the changing dynamics of culture, exploring the relationships between consumers, critics, arts journalists, news media, cultural organizations and artists.

Historically, it is at periods of cultural upheaval that critics have had their most influence. What seems different this time is that many of our traditional critics themselves have been swept away in the change. As our access to culture grows, we’re increasingly going to need help sorting through the masses of culture now available to us.

Why “diacritical?” From Wikipedia:

“A diacritical mark or diacritic, sometimes called an accent mark, is a mark added to a letter to alter a word’s pronunciation (ie. vowel marks) or to distinguish between similar words. The word derives from the Greek word διακριτικός (diakritikos, distinguishing). Note that diacritic is a noun and diacritical is the corresponding adjective.”

I think that the kinds of changes in our culture happening now are not fundamental to our values. I don’t believe our longstanding values are being transformed by technology. Rather, the communications revolution allows us to more efficiently express and reassert those values. Focusing only on the new tools of that expression is, then, to misunderstand what’s going on. Perhaps it’s an artificial conceit, but I think we’re in more of a diacritical moment.

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