This Week: What exactly does cultural equity actually mean?… In our social media world everything is about images… A cautionary tale as an artist is erased from the internet… There’s a difference between culture and art… Why Italy fought to keep Venice off the endangered list.
- A Good Survey Of Debates About Cultural Equity: The crew over at Createquity have written a comprehensive look at the state of debate about cultural equity in the arts and its evolving meaning. It’s a complicated topic that has heated up in the past year, with many well-meaning and earnest arguments.“Over the course of the past half-century, conversations about diversity have tended to focus first on audiences, then on programming, and finally on leadership. Diversity’s core concern is about who is ultimately benefiting from the work; if diverse audiences are taking advantage, then that is the surest sign of success.”
- Our Culture Is Drowning In Images: Now that every person is a human camera with a compulsion to share, we’re getting lost in images. Inevitably, the sheer volume is changing the our visual language. Images once cherished for their uniqueness are now disposable as new ones take their place. “In the world of social media, Instagram may be an oasis, but as a collective creative project its size is staggering, almost beyond comprehension. In the past year, 30 billion photographs were uploaded. Eighty million go up every day. What does that even mean? The scale of Instagram beggars all attempts to describe it piecemeal. It’s a tidal wave of visual information sweeping away all the old shibboleths of art criticism as it comes to shore.”
- Google Unblocks An Artist’s Blog – A Cautionary Tale: Google had removed Dennis Cooper’s blog without notice or reason. His lawyers (and a bunch of press) got them to give it back to him. But this story raises questions about how information is controlled and shared and who’s doing the controlling. “The question is: are we comfortable letting shareholder-driven companies – any private company – have absolute control over infrastructure that is increasingly essential for the functioning of civil society? Deciding who is visible and who is not? What is acceptable to say and what is not? Who has access and who doesn’t?”
- Art Versus Culture (There’s A Difference, You Know): “Ultimately, democratic politics are a numbers game. Politics are what concern everyone, which is why “everyone” talks about politics. Art, by contrast, is what concerns one person, intimately. Culture is a matter of power; art is a matter of beauty. It’s also a matter of freedom—of spiritual freedom, of free-spiritedness—and so it’s also political, though not in any immediately recognizable way and, above all, not in any way that lends itself to the think-piece brand of discourse. The power of beauty, the impact of beauty on a single person, eludes discussion and invites silence, even as it incites something radically different from analysis: ecstasy. That’s the force behind the side of criticism that, if it’s any good at all, converges with the work of art by being itself a literary, poetic, philosophical inspiration.”
- Why Would Italy Fight To Keep Venice Off The Endangered List? No question the historic city is imperiled from all sides. But “Venice’s addition to this list (currently 55 sites, with only three in the West) would not only be embarrassing for the Italian government, which regularly uses its cultural assets and conservation know-how as an instrument of foreign policy, but would also lead to close and potentially unwelcome monitoring of Venice by Unesco officials.”