Recently by Andras Szanto
If there is to be a cultural policy and an "expressive life infrastructure," by whatever name, how would we know that it's been put to work? What outcomes should policy-makers and advocates seek and nurture? If cultural policy is, as Sam Jones argues, analogous to health and learning, how can we agree about its goals and what would be the parallels to a healthy or educated person, community, and nation? Would the goals of such a policy be normative? Would they be inclusive without limitation?
Put another way, what would be the hallmarks of a person or a community that has a rich expressive life?
By defeatist, I mean that the proposition here is to evacuate the contaminated rhetorical premises of "art" and "culture"; to flee from them, rather than win them back in all their glory. As a strategy, it's like switching to "progressive" from "liberal"--clever, but ultimately a bit of a copout. Can old terms have fresh meanings? Must we leave them charred and wounded on the battlefield?
By a lop-sided view of culture, I'm referring to a definitional nuance that is more important. "Expressive life" puts the emphasis on communication, and not just any communication--projective communication. Such a view of culture--solely comprised of people and organizations broadcasting their words, sounds and images into the world--is half of what I think culture to be. For culture is about absorbing as much as it is about expressing.
Perhaps, in addition to the "expressive life," should we also consider the "receptive life"? Bill alludes to this in his in his writings in his poignant contrast of "heritage" and "voice"--but those words reflect the duality only to a point. Yes, culture is certainly about listening to the past and having a voice in the present. But is also about listening in the present and having a voice in the present. Culture is a conversation: endlessly absorbing and expressing. The words "art" and "culture" have served us well because they encompass both of these dimensions.
Adrian Ellis; Alan Brown; Andras Szanto; Andrew Taylor; Bau Graves; Douglas McLennan; Ellen Lovell; Bill Ivey, William James; James Early; Jim Smith; Lewis Hyde; Marian Godfrey; Martha Bayles; Nihar Patel; Russell Taylor; Sam Jones; Steven Tepper
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