This Week’s Insights: The (very) elusive Bilbao Effect, 20 years later… Is sensory pollution harming our ability to appreciate art?… Audience first, and THEN the content?… Oh, look, there’s a squirrel… Why science fiction is suddenly everywhere.
- Twenty Years Of Chasing The Bilbao Effect The Guggenheim transformed the town of Bilbao. The power of art. Ever since, Bilbao has been held up as a transformative project to be replicated elsewhere. “For all its fame, there are many who ask if so-called the “Bilbao effect” is real, and if so, if it is easily repeatable. Was the Guggenheim Bilbao a unique combination of a project at the right time and in the right place—a great architect and daring museum combined with an unusually forward-looking regional government willing to invest? Have the reasons for its transformative effect been misunderstood, explaining why its model has been frequently imitated but its extraordinary success rarely replicated?”
- A Sensory Arms Race: The world has gotten louder, brighter, more intense. But the assault on our senses crowds out quieter experiences, perhaps? “I would argue that we have managed to turn the senses against themselves by pitting overwhelming light against lights, overpowering sound against sounds, intense flavor against flavors, penetrating aroma against aromas. In each case, the result is a marked simplification in the field of possible experiences — one or two stimuli will outshine, outsmell or outshout everything else around it.
- Build An Audience, Then Figure Out The Product: So you want to start a dance company. But it’s clear there isn’t an audience for it… yet. So you begin building an audience that you hope will support your company. That’s what Robert Hasse did with Indianapolis City Ballet, founded in 2009. “After several attempts to sustain a professional company in Indianapolis failed, Hesse and his team are experimenting with a new model: a non-profit producing organization that seeks to bolster the city’s dance community by sponsoring events like gala performances, master classes and competitions. “We endeavor to make Indianapolis one of the great cities for young dancers and dance fans,” says Hesse.
- Victims of Distraction? We’re seeing a rising tide of stories about the toll our devices is taking on our ability to focus. There are reasons for this: “Checking phones or tablets for the next message, the latest tweet, a new Skype meeting request, the email we’re waiting for, has become for us the new fidgety, anticipatory normality. These devices, and the systems and knowledge to which they give us access, addict us to the (short-term) future. And ‘addict’ is not a ill-chosen word. Such technologies underline for us that even the most recent past is out-of-date, and might as well be forgotten.”
- Why Science Fiction Is Dominating Streaming: Streaming companies like Netflix are producing an awful lot of science fiction taken from popular books and comics. And it makes sense. “First, it’s already vetted. An editor with experience in science fiction has already made the sign of the IDIC over it and fired it out of a photon torpedo tube. Its characters, its world, and at least the skeleton of its plot live in the fictional universe.”