Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holistic view of cultural forces in the 21st century

The chief curator at Creative Time, New York’s prestigious art organization, Nato Thompson is also the editor of A historic Occasion - Artists Making History, ‘The Interventionists - A Users’ Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life’, and ‘Experimental Geography - Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism’. Creative Time has commissioned as well as presented several public art projects with thousands of practitioners throughout New York, across the US, and all around the world.

One thing significant to him is that the language about art world is predominantly still operating as if we are back right at the start of the 20th century. Even as many theorists have constantly interrogated ideas of intrinsic beauty and so on, the lexicon used for discussing art has progressed, he asserts. In fact, it has become in some ways more conservative since the market has emerged as a major force, particularly in the US.

Discussions regarding art tend to get stuck in what the mainstream market is willing to sustain and fund. In this backdrop, he hopes the book will produce the various different ways to think and discuss art - not simply whether it’s of good quality or bad - you can deeply think about what it actually does, different levels of engagement, and what pedagogy is. In other words, there is a whole other set of visual language skills as well as metrics for measuring success that can be applied to art, which is different from the typical language of poetry or beauty.

The kind of issue he comes at, going beyond art specifically, is to take a holistic view of cultural forces in the 21st century in comparison to those at the start of the precious century sans intrusion of radio, TV, and the Internet - that kind of very conscious manipulation of the symbolic visual and creative realm, which has dramatically changed the way we understand art, and even our everyday life cycle is understood.

What is growingly universal is the realization that culture is an entity made by common people. Today everyone is a videomaker, a photographer, a creator. They routinely make and remake culture without even thinking or acting as an artist, the change that he tries to fathom in this thought-provoking document.

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