[iDC] Art, Lifestyle & Globalisation

dew.harrison at rgu.ac.uk dew.harrison at rgu.ac.uk
Wed Mar 28 13:38:44 EDT 2007

    Dear IDCs,

    I have been enjoying the recent discussion sparked off by the passing of     Baudrillard and would like to move the debate at a tangent to this, but     continuing with ideas surrounding forms of social control, power and politics. I     am concerned with the domination of the corporate within the cultural and     wonder at the position I find myself placed in as an artist and academic working     in an educational instituion. 

> Digital media and new technology is reconfiguring our relationship with the world and is also affecting how artists relate with their public. Now, new locative technology can position art in the everyday of people's lives and activities outside the gallery space. Although psychogeography and mobile media enable the 'interactive city' for artists to key into, they also promote ideas of corporatised play in an urban space and tend to be interventionist and intrusive. 'Big brother' media and cctv  surveillance allows for few informal, ungoverned social meeting places. This means that artists are having to find interstices between the formal constructed and observed social spaces where unorthodox art can happen to engage with its audience. Just how is such practice being supported within the neo-liberal economic structures of globalistation? Julian Stallabrass suggests that this only produces artists (in Brit Art particularly) who posture as edgy, risky individuals but who are in real terms busy establishing market positions for themselves. The answer lies somewhere in the inter-related issues of art, lifestyle and  globalisation.
> In the 1960s Marshall McLuhan predicted a technologically enabled 'global village' and issued the warning - 
> "Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as an infantile piece of science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside. So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence."
> I would be extremely interested in your thoughts on the extent to which we are 'aware of this dynamic' and offer some questions which might help  probe the territory -
> Corporations are rebranding themselves around lifestyle, is this influencing creative practice or vice-versa?
> How do the principals and aesthetics of open source and democratic media sit alongside corporate products (iPod etc)?
> How should arts organisations and institutions respond to open networking and ideas exchange, what is a node and a network in cultural terms?
> Are artists the software for the corporation hardware, or the activists in sheeps clothing?
> Where does government funding for the arts sit in the global cultural mix, or is corporate money driving the cultural agenda?
	With thanks and kind regards,

	Dew Harrison.

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