Academia

LITTLE BUBBLE OF LAUGHTER
ACADEMICS
MANAGING THE ARTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: CULTURAL POLICY, PLANNING AND THEORY 2005. BIRKBECK UNIVERSITY OF LONDON. WHO IS INVOLVED?
INTERACTIVE CREATIVE PRACTICE; TECHNOLOGY, CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND PRESERVATION OF EXPRESSION.

by Crissalida (1) 
[C.H. Correa ]
video-artist
CONTENTS FEEDBACK. By Jane Trowell, co-director platformlondon.org

AIMS

METHODOLOGY

INTRO. Interactive Creative Practice into context.

TECHNOLOGY. New technological boundaries.

DIVERSITY. Policy in relation to cultural diversity.

PRESERVATION OF EXPRESSION. Official steps to protect cultural expressions.

CONCLUSION

RECOMMENDATIONS

REFERENCES

SELF-ASSESSMENT

(Footnotes are found at the end of each section. Click on the respective number to go back and forth.) 
FEEDBACK Crissalida, this piece of work has, in my opinion, more than risen to the challenge of writting (in a linear fashion), about interactivity, networks culture + the bluming of boundaries.It has many strengths: clear structure, excellent research sources on key policy areas, strong argument (when needed), practicioner-lead thesis.It is also, in the main, clearly articulated. some over complex sentences, but overall a very fluid read.You transmit a tremendous sense of the live issues, urgency, power structures and policy matters, while also transmiting solidarity + hope as a practicioner and as someone networked with a large ever-evolving community of similarly-minded creative individuals.Very interesting.Your references were absolutely professional, as well as your use of footnotes.

Congradulations!

Jane Trowell -Birkbeck/platformlondon.org


AIMS 

In this paper I will examine the roles of technology, cultural diversity (2) and preservation of expression in relation to interactive creative practice, and I will illustrate who is involved in this inter-connected habitus and how the practice actually plays in the field of global culture.

Interactive creative practice being a broad practice per se, I will limit my study to a focus that relates to my collective practice; Little Bubble of Laughter and its interconnecting networks.

I aim to analyse cultural mechanisms and its effects in relation to our practice, via the analysis of three selected elements which make up the infrastructure of our practice;

– Technology; new technological boundaries.
– Cultural diversity; policy in relation to cultural diversity.
– Preservation of expressions; official steps to protect the cultural expressions of humankind.

First I will place our interactive creative practice into context and then I will investigate the elements pertaining to their wider scope within fundamental aspect of managing the arts in the 21st century.

Regarding the question ‘who is involved?’ I would like to point at cultural diversity being involved, but under no equality of participation within the global panorama of the arts due to an imbalance in dividend and lack of access, support and protection.

Cross-cultural activities, demographic changes and technological advancements have contributed to increased participation. However, there is a big threat of domination from capitalist movements towards practitioners, and to a lesser extend from practitioners towards less privileged ones, indigenous people and ethnic minorities worldwide being the most at risk.

Support towards cultural diversity is fragile with protection being in the early stages of development. Some theory is settling i.e. Human Rights (1948), some legislation has already been implemented i.e. Race Relations Act (1975) (3), some programmes are en route i.e. Culture 2007(4) and some platforms for dialogue among different sectors are being tested i.e. CIRCLE (5) .

Moreover, within cultural mechanisms disparity issues abound. There is cross-sector chaos, legislation is implanted from top-down with big gaps of detachment towards what is really happening in terms of culture in action, some cultures are dismissed and some manage to keep ahead, hence supportive criteria is often outdated or simply unsuitable.

Technology plays a key role with users, and its planning potential can be very powerful, but it is by no mean free of challenges; aside of discrepancies between manufactures and users, there are implications in its use, issues which have a real effect on cultures, on individuals worldwide.

The focus of my study remains to specifically shed some light onto the positioning of these individuals and in particular of the creator/artist within an interactive creative practice, as well as on the value of the practice within the global cultural spectrum.


1 Crissalida/ 
Also Film-maker, Interactive Creative Practitioner, Researcher, Promoter, Producer and World Networks Developer. (Note that the word world is here used in reference to the indigenous i.e. as in world music). For more info see http://www.crissalida.com 

2 cultural diversity/
We relate to the UNESCO’s definition of Cultural Diversity. It refers to the manifold ways in which the cultures of social groups and societies find expression. These expressions are passed on within and among societies and are not necessarily confined by national borders.From the diverse forms taken by culture over time and space stem the uniqueness and plurality of the identities and cultural expressions of the peoples and societies that make up humankind (Article 4-Definitions 1).

3 Race Relations Act/
Note that, Equal Opportunities in the UK, as opposed to Diversity, is supported with some legislation. However, it is only implemented in relation to work; that is, profit aimed activities. While Diversity and the non-profit sector of the arts and creative culture is left at its own mercy with no specific legislation in regards to it. Perhaps the closest it gets is Article 10 -Freedom of Expression- of the Human Rights Act (2 October 2000). Yet, employees at work do not have the right to wear what they like.

4 Culture 2007/
Set by the European Commission, Culture 2007 takes up from Culture 2000 which is the programme for inter-cultural dialogue and cross-cultural cooperation, based on Article 151, Treaty of Amsterdam(1997). Article 151 takes up from Article 128 of the Mastricht Treaty (1992).

5 CIRCLE/
Cultural Information and Research Centers Liaison in Europe (CIRCLE) is an independent think-tank dedicated to collect, analyse and disseminate cultural data to develop cultural policy. It is made up by a network of people which includes many disciplines, scholars, politicians and creative practitioners.


METHODOLOGY

In this paper I am analysing the elements of technology, diversity and preservation of expression, partaking in the labor to further expand and create definitions. These elements, being in their nature fluid concepts, cannot be pinned-down to specific air-tight definitions.

As such, I am only attempting to add definition to an existing debate over their meaning and to contest the perception of what these elements stand for, from my perspective as an interactive creative practitioner based in east-London and inter-connected with the World (6).

I will examine the real applications and implications of these elements in relation to our interactive creative practice. Though these elements actually do not relate to our practice, they intrinsically constitute the practice. Indeed they are fully ingrained in our practice, and as such, what they stand for and their meaning varies from those who relate to this terms from an outside more detached position.

It is a practice on growth, but still not well recognized and therefore there is little research into the link between these elements and the practice. I hope to contribute to an acknowledgment of particular values and to the further understanding of their definitions.

I will support my analysis with case studies from different cultural sectors and I shall draw findings from printed publications and varied web sources, as well as from personal experience (7).

6
I will show some glimpses of others reversed perceptions, since ideally this would be a worldwide decentralized study. 

7
This include attendance to lectures, symposiums and other cultural encounters, collective and individual colloquium, and consultation through networks. Also I have regularly attended philosophical and analytical cultural events worldwide since 1990.


INTRO. Interactive Creative Practice into context.

In this section I will place interactive creative practice into context by using my own collective practice Little Bubble of Laughter (LBOL) as case study.

LBOL is a project-specific assembly of independent collaborators who share skills, knowledge, resources, passion, and above all creative abilities.

LBOL’s interactive creative practice explores fine arts and new media in convergence with history and mythology, for the creation of site-specific and event-specific live and televisual multimedia productions.

LBOL’s research goals are diverse cultures worldwide in real locations with particular regard to its indigenous components, that is research-in-practice. The aim being one of fully uniting both practices in platforms of interaction for concept-specific cultural exchange.

LBOL practices creative interaction and develops cross-cultural processes through:

– dialogue: through inter-connectivity.
– co-operation: which we understand as consensus.
– information exchange: sharing data and thought.
– cultural exchanges; residencies and workshops.
– research-in-progress: conceptual and technological.
– multi-disciplinary events productions.
– process registration: on suitable media: in particular video and digital formats.
– product distribution: with a focus on alternative streams.
– network’s development.

Counterpart to the modern, capitalist notion of competition is co-operation, a form of human co-action that involves mutual dependence, benefits, shared goals, mutual learning, the common production of new reality, mutual responsibility and a high degree of networked, interconnected activity (Fuchs 2003). 

Most of us interactive creative practitioners are uniquely cross-skilled with areas of expertise vastly covering the arts, crafts, media, science, electronics and IT, as well as environmental, spiritual and health issues, and further hybrid new spheres such as ‘arti-tecture’ (8) and ‘techno-philosophy’ (9). Our skills are our primary wealth, we have the know-how and the know-what, motivation and energy to invest.

In relation to the ‘Gods of Management’ models (Handy 2000), I can say that we are mostly Dionysian structures within which everyone is an Apollo. Dyonisian structures are independent relational networks that form and morph in collaborative enterprises and partnerships.

These relational networks are clustered about in assorted formations which include art organisations, private companies, research centres, associations, co-operatives, artist collectives and individuals.

Many of us are pocketed in East-London, multitudes worldwide, expanding from local to global in fluid manner. This networks conglomerate inter-connected dissident movements, alternative and creative undercurrents at the cutting-edge of practice.

Our economies are neither fragile nor solid but mostly self-sustained. We have learned not to depend upon external sources to finance our developments. We may lack resources but have no economic pressure to perform.

When attractive ideas emerge, those interested support it with any means. A project is born and commitment is then negotiated under no guarantee. Survival of continuity is dependent on a certain consistency in belief, generally instigated by the project’s creator. Advocacy and perseverance become the foundation pillars of the initiave.

Some projects and ideas are occasionally formally registered. Increasingly often free license to transform is enforced by copyleft (10).

More frequently, projects start as mere proposals which develop an ad hoc life of their own through multiple input and outflux in intercultural (11) platforms. These co-creations are inherently of shared authorship or non-authorship.

How do we manage ourselves? By consent of course and by consensus in as much as the particular initiative allows. Any of us would clarify a particular manager’s approach beautifully pinned by Charles Handy thus, ‘You cannot tell me to do something’, one would explain gently, ‘you can only ask me. On the other hand,’ rubbing salt into a wound, ‘I don’t ask you if I’m going to do something, I tell you.’ (page 195 Gods of Management. Handy 2000).

Our type of collectives are seldom endowed with long-term funding. Occasionally someone may have procured some funds which tend to be individual grants on a single-project basis. However, our hopes are up since this year the Arts Council allocated 50% of grants where they had never been given before (12).

Though a funded individual artist would have greater control over concept and production, and financial aid can guarantee reliability when managing a team of collaborators, funds also can be detrimental to a project by limiting external skills input to an agreed amount. That is, funds may often provoke a dearth of auto-investment when practitioners involved become weary of unfairness in profit share. No one likes others to make money at their expense.

This issue in turn increasingly provokes improvements in the practice, transparent accountancy, that everyone may give of oneself generously regardless of earnings.

Unlike previously in history, external private patronage in our forefront sector is rare these days, yet most of our practice is self-funded in an altruistic manner.

No, we are not particularly radical nor against funds, corporate, public or otherwise, we are against domination. Freedom to create is not for sale. We evolve through independent channels if we must. There is a big difference between imposition and offer.

Yes, creations may be capitalized with consent, but to ensure against exploitation, a clause for re-negotiation becomes rather useful so that we may continue to trust in the creative processes.

Money is no target, but we do believe it should flow through to procure the path. Financial rewards are the ultimate blessing of recognition and are welcome indeed, but the practice is rather more focused on a journey of self discovery. It is a trip of continuos professional development but within pressure free environments, where creative abilities are tested to the extreme, limited by self-morals.

Interactive creative practice has many complexities such as:

– not being understood.
– consensual management.
– untraditional structures of flexible decentralisation.
– lack of funds due to funding bodies inability to understand/accept our open structures, even when they are fully aware that we are setting trends of practice for the future.
– flakiness and difficulty in continuity due to lack of funds.
– havoc created by funded projects’ non-transparent accountancy procedures.
– if a project is successful, shared benefit is not always the case.
– support may be in kind or space with concessions to freedom.
– being financially rewarded for our work.
– most projects are work-in-progress which need reasonablye sustainability.

Each of these added factors of intricate implication need constant adjustment. This list reveal the breath of complexity and need for further research in this field.

In a practice that sits on eggshells, wholly dependent on the basis of open-resources, human potential and inter-connectivity. I find it paramount that the reasons why we practice and who exactly is involved is more clearly understood. I will examine this through the fore mentioned three infrastructural elements of technology, diversity and preservation of expression.

8 Arti-tecture/
parts from the conflux of art and technology. Its practitioner is the arti-tech, also referred to as arti-tek or arti-tekkie. 

9 Techno-philosophy/
stands for philosophical studies of the effects of technology on societies, such as contributions of the critical thought to information systems theory and practice.

10 Copyleft/
is a free license which authorizes to copy, distribute and freely transform the work while respecting the rights of the originator. A movement in growth, copyleft was originally created in regards to software but more recently it is gaining use in creative enterprises of all kinds, particularly morphing ones.

11 Interculturality/
refers to the presence and equitable interaction of diverse cultures and the possibility to generate shared cultural contents acquired through dialogue and an attitude of mutual respect (UNESCO Article 4. 6).

12
Taken from my notes of AC’s director Sarah Weir’s lecture in this course.


TECHNOLOGY. New technological boundaries.

In this section I will explore through specific examples, new technological boundaries that relate to our practice:

– discrepancy between technology makers and users.
– disengagement and control.
– issues between users and other users.
– new forms of interactivity and interconectivity.
– effects on values and identity.
– common ground between experimental and capital sectors.

Leading the way in technological developments are the industries and the users, creators themselves; friction abounds between them. Creators experiment with ever new tools staying ahead, while the industries, who are the main suppliers of gadgets, try to catch up enforcing legislation to control their customers use of the tools. The cyclical nature of this process makes each side grow ever more weary of the other.

The concept is clear, the uncontrollable Pandora’s Box of technology has been unleashed and those who released it now wish to control it, but it already has a creative life of its own.

In the colliding of cultures, environments of human reflection, meta-physical territories bloom in invisible presence and lure to be entered. They are the new frontiers, meta-technological and techno-organic confines. Inherent in the threshold of unknown territories, a creative force engulfs any approach.

‘The computer is a spiritual machine’ (Umberto Eco 1995).

What follows is based upon a conversation with Hatim Khan and Ali Kharrazi, a new breed of ‘techno-philosophers’ from the London School of Economics (13).

The duality of technology makes us inter-dependent, it has implications both ways. We create it and in turn it has an effect on us. Technology constrains, supports and extends our ways of work, behavior and creation. Through it, our patterns of thinking and living can be molded in certain ways. Proactive and reactive functions cycle along.

Technology is made in ways which are not based purely on scientific reasons. The industry that sponsors a technological artifact does so purely with a business interest. Also in order to establish these innovations, the scientific community of colleagues must give their approval. On that process, beliefs are engrained within it. Technology incorporates institutionalised and cultural rules, that is, its own values. It is an industry which penetrates new territories on the idea of simple economics and which can exclude countries where they see no profit motive.

So, not everyone worldwide has the same access to technology. Most importantly, non-western countries have their cultures invaded with technology’s embedded values.

For example, the www’s basic idea of individual freedom is a western idea. This can clash with non-western values on a fundamental level. Islamic governments base their strict religious ruling on moral frameworks which can find elements of western culture unacceptable. In closed societies such as Pakistan and Iran, inter-connectivity among the youth has had a sensational effect on that generation. Dating has increased dramatically due to internet interaction between girls and boys through on-line chats, etc. Connectivity is now a click away in their bedrooms.

The internet’s effects bypass institutionalised and socialised rules and regulations, from parents to governments. This interaction is not virtual, it is real, hyper-real. It has a veritable effect on people. Through the web, the unacceptable can become acceptable, changing local perceptions.

When practice is extended to international realms, the effect may enrich or rip cultures. A need arises for ‘middle’ people, to diminish colliding conflict and aid understanding cultures of peace, such as researchers, cultural ambassadors, philosophers and creative practitioners.

Control and disengagement (14) is not one-directional between industries and creative users. The position of creative practitioners is not one to elude control. We too, may need to excise certain amount of control. If we reach out and encourage a collision of cultures between national, ethnic or local sections, we must think of the values of the practitioners we interact with and the implications of our interaction with their culture, and consider other’s reservations and even accept their limitations. Otherwise we may merely copy the industries’ contemptuous imperialistic demeanors towards other customs. Of course we can only do so in as much as the nature of the interweb(15)allows. It is not feasible to take into account the unpredictability of a broad, often unknown, audience.

Hopefully, vice versa the capitalist industries too might eventually learn to unleash some control and discover the benefits of disengagement. Some are already aware, some seem clueless, as we will observe in the next two cases.

The Chaos Communication Congress(16) (27-29 December 2004) offers a critical-creative attitude towards technology and its societal effects. It was supported by the local authorities who lend the Berliner Congress Center in kind and sponsored by industry giants Cisco and Apple among others.

Interestingly, during a workshop at the congress, Holger Krekel spoke of the hackers’ ability to communicate and adapt to a multitude of programmes and systems, and hence his competence to adapt to the formality of a project to have access to EU Research Funds (FP6). Further, regarding common ground between hackers and bureaucrats he said, ‘Programmers deal with rule systems and their execution. On the other hand, the EU issues a lot of rules which are executed by the ‘commission’ and its employees’. He then proceeded to point at some interesting bits and pieces about how (not) to interact with the EU, ‘should you decide that your project is ready or desperate enough to go that way’.

The Internet Code of Practice(17) is a project initiated by the Internet Industry Association (IIA) which is a compendium of European multinationals who have developed the code with disregard to all other sectors. Shunning open public discussions it has basically had absolutely no external input from its users. Yet, the code is supported by the European Commission. A detailed critique(18) by internet freedom watchdog Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) urges total redraft.

‘The information infrastructure of today is shaped by free and open source projects, more so in the future’ (Krekel 2004). How does corporation control reconcile with the open nature of the tool?

Another way in which technology shapes up to a certain extent is by becoming a primary tool for planning, as in some cases of new interactive models it may actually set out the structure of the content.

Geoff Lowe of Filmserve speaks of new model opportunities, ‘If we think of new interactive formats across digital platforms, meta-data tagging enables the user multiple choice on a journey according to the digital device and to how they may want to see a particular programme, not just games and sports but films, events, soaps, documentaries and adverts as well.’(19)

Such new models open new revenue streams and have a potential massive global audience reached at minimum costs. Applications on different sectors such as education can be mind-blowing. Some new cross-platform interactive programmes and projects are already being tested out with real audiences at the National Film Theatre of London NFT3-Interactive.

By looking at specific examples I have shown that the role and use of technology within global interaction and creative practice is intertwined with disparities, perils and potential. That technology’s open nature has to be reconciled by those who wish to control it, and those who disengage it may need to excise some control. More than a mere tool, the use of technology requires further thoughtful thinking.

13 London School of Economics (LSE), London/
houses master degree studies such as Analysis Design and Management of Information Systems (ADMIS), with current attendees students Hatim Khan and Ali Kharrazi. Conversations in May 2005. 

14/
Even within the arts sector there is a difference of control versus disengagement, attached to technology. There is ‘tech as tool’ with a controlling aspect attached, and there is ‘use of tech’ which is disengaged in manner.
As practitioners, we do not think about the technology we need in order to do something, we do what we can with the technology available. Technology is not a tool helping us achieve our goals, instead, it is about us using the technology to create new tools, or/and to do something new, as well as to explore its potentials.
This in a sense, is the difference between the artist only and the interactive creative artist, which I have related to on this paper with the terms practitioner or creator.
The artist may use a technician in the classical manner, asking him to realize his, often dream, idea = tech as a tool. While the practitioner creates, parting from the technology available and its potential real uses, in conflux with his ideas = use of tech. The practitioner/creator is an artist with reasonable knowledge of technology. Some are fully both an artist and a technician, whence stems the term arti-tech or arti-tekkie.

15 Interweb/
Alternative to term internet, we like to use this term because it is more organic and flexible. The net is a finite tool used by fishermen, while the web infinitely grows adjusted by the spider’s energy ..or hunger.

16 CCC/ 
yearly 3 day European hackers conference on technology, society and utopia.

17/ 
More info on the code on http://www.unomondo.org/code/Code_Final.htm

18/ 
The total critique regarding IIA’s code is published by Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) at http://www.efa.org.au/Publish/iia_crit40.htm

19/ 
Notes taken in attendance at film panel ‘The difference: Alternative Financing and distribution’ moderated by Atif Ghani on 14 February 2005, British Council, Berlin.


DIVERSITY. Policy in relation to cultural diversity.

in this section I will consider policy in relation to cultural diversity and how this affects creative practice.

I will do so by touching upon specific cases of;

– integration management.
– criteria making processes.
– social exclusion.
– policy implications.
– criteria shift.

Are national, community, indigenous, and individual efforts to partake of global culture valued in equity? Who values, regulates, controls? What factors influence an iniquitous dividend? What is fair?

Mostly excluded from participation are developing countries, minority communities and tribes who englobe the current buzz-term ‘cultural diversity’. Their cultural contribution within the global spectrum is undeniably rich but paradoxically some societies are so immersed in it that they can not see it even when it openly flourishes on its face.

In order to find a suitable strategy to manage integration, the opposite is to be considered. Throughout history colossal examples of malpractice and discriminative manipulation have been carried out.

In the history of the Olympics we find that by the mid 19th century, the games were officially restricted to participants who competed for the privilege of taking part only as a matter of honour and who would not tarnish the competition with financial earnings.

The real outcome was that this policy automatically excluded those of lesser economies, who could not afford to sustain a living and practice, as well as those who made a living with professions similar in skills used within a particular sport and might have an advantage to win, since according to the new rules they would be considered professionals as opposed to amateur.

Amateurism extolled as virtuous, automatically eliminated competitors of lesser social status who might render humiliation to the ruling class. Reasoning over-coated in a bizarre disguise of gallantry and in the name of honour.

This sinister manipulation to discriminate ‘virtuously’, was not abolished until 1981. Catching up with the sign of the times, a majority of working class society and democracy, financial support and reward for achievements was no longer considered a matter of dishonour. Thus, the original Olympic philosophy simply ‘may the best win’ was re-established. The eradication of the outdated rulings uncovered what had been a dark verdict of discrimination by socio-economic class imposed by the Victorian upper classes.

Having looked at the integration ethics in the historic case of the Olympics, and if a lesson is to be learned from such cases, it is necessary to question if its Victorian valued ‘virtuous’ discrimination is still being practiced in our society today. Or whether it may have metamorphosed into a different form?

Socio-economical class discrimination may feel distant in the past, but if for example the orbit widens to comprise race or even nationality, the discriminative ghost-problem might still be there today transmuted into say bureaucratic discrimination.

Indeed an exam of current cultural policy and/or criteria for the access of funds to sustain cultural works, be this from a private or public sector, might contain clauses which ethically challenged would expose discrimination, human rights violations in principle, inappropriateness to befit the purpose the least .

A paradox of criteria happens where goodwill and a certain amount of thoughtlessness go together as we will now see.

The World Cinema Fund (20) (WCF) has a lofty aim, to aid production and international distribution to films from countries whose film industry is going through socio-political turmoil of some kind. Eligible projects should reflect local cultural identity and aid the local sector’s development.

The criteria is fairly simple and states that ‘The film will be considered to be from an entitled region if it is shot there and if the director comes from that region.’ (21)

The issue here is, what exactly constitutes ‘coming from the region’ in an increasingly multi-cultural and migratorial society. One would hope enough flexibility to come out of this statement, however when the fund’s representatives were asked with multiple examples regarding the suitability of a director’s personal status, roots, heritage, residencies, understanding of the region’s culture, holding a relating Phd, genes, birth, the reply was resolute; ‘passport’. (22)

In this case we see that criteria is stripped of identity and it endows a bureaucratic item with a face value greater than the value of the fore mentioned personal backgrounds. The passport becomes a commodity of business transaction. Cultural financial support in this case becomes solely dependent on nationality and independent of cultural weight, and so the purpose defeats the aim.

Alternatively, within an increasingly multiracial and migratorial population, a director who may have legal access to a variety of passports due to personal circumstance may legally change nationality according to the next project he(23) works on, in order to satisfy criteria. How would the diplomatic bodies respond every time he sets foot in a consulate and tells of the reason he must yet again change nationality, that he may be able to progress in his creative profession!

The question is this, is culture measured appropriately by a bureaucratic scale? and can culture afford to be dismissive of identity? If identity, which is precisely an intrinsic element to culture is not taken into account, where do cultural values stand?

Bureaucracy confines cultural knowledge to borders. Yet, identity is not necessarily linked to geographical territory nor do territorial politics encircle identity. These, are well known to indigenous people, gypsies, nomads, kurds and all societies which were pushed aside by invaders. Also an individual’s territory of residency does not guaranty his integration within its local identity, particularly if this feels like a threat to his own identity background, nor does his integration mean that his previous identity is lost. Identity sums up.

Furthermore, politics affect culture in broader manner. The political identity of the United Kingdom remains unclear. Does it, or does it not belong to the EU? In treaties yes, but in cultural practice the jury is out.

The implications range between a European Union citizen having access to british funds or been rightfully excluded, even when the UK might be his one and only home and is fully identified with local and/or regional and/or national culture.

If EU nationals have the same rights by law as native Britons who belong as well to the Union, why would an EU national claim British nationality? A political bureaucratic process that should render itself obsolete might however be still enforced in indirect ways.

And beyond EU citizenship, where does the political identity of the ethnically diverse and of those with refugee status stand?

Not surprisingly, the ‘social inclusion agenda’ which sits high on public funded organizations has little sense of direction. The buzz wording sounds like it is the right thing to be addressing, but how is it processed? I’ve had the personal opportunity to directly ask several leaders of Britain’s cultural organisations and institutions regarding detais of their diversity agenda, the reply echoes softly yet again ‘It is on top of our agenda. We are working on it’. Their heads bend down.. up.. eyes wonder off.. simply lost, and there is no follow up available.

The Policy Action Team 10 (PAT10) is a specific team from the Social Exclusion Unit of the current British Government, set up among other things to identify best practice in using arts to engage people, particularly those who may feel most excluded, such as ethnic minorities. (24)

Through PAT10 recommendations, the Arts Council of England (ACE) is requested to recognise explicitly that sustaining cultural diversity and using the arts to combat social exclusion are among its basic policy aims. (25)

The ACE recognises diversity as being at the heart of policy. Yet, when an initiative called ‘Decibel’ (May 2003-March 2004) was created by its Cultural Diversity Committee to target minorities, the definition of ‘cultural diversity’ used meant ‘ethnic diversity resulting from post-war immigration, with an increased focus on British artists of African, Asian and Caribbean descent’. The broader sense included gender, age and disability as long as it was of African, Asian and Caribbean descent. Funds were specifically to be used to invest in Black and Asian artists. Other ethnic minorities had no chance, though were ‘applauded’ by the ACE. Apparently, this was so as to create focus and address long-standing issues of under-representation. (26)

Today, the Arts Council’s Race Equality Scheme is part of the organisation’s ongoing commitment to Black and Asian artists, but where do other British citizens stand? Those of olive skin from the Mediterranean such as the Greek and Turkish communities, or the Latin, Arabic or Gypsy? Must social inclusion be so narrowly targeted to socially exclude others?

Minority depends on percentage, so what happens when a particular borough may have decentralized funds for minorities who clash with the official definition of minority because the real minority locally might be precisely a tiny percentage of white British citizens engrossed within a diverse community of much larger percentage?

Racial distinction is a fragile ground to base policy upon. The simplistic official definition been made between white and non-white citizens, can foresee racial segregation to backfire. While the non-white might encompass a whole range of diversity within it, who might in time integrate among themselves, the white population could eventually exclude themselves out of the picture.

If race distinction is being made, integration should be a two-way process, with the white population needing just as much to integrate itself into its environment.

But why base criteria on race anyway, as opposed to on identity?

The Arts Council of Finland is widening its criteria to embrace social integration in broader terms. Anyone can apply for funds as long as the works ‘enrich Finnish culture’, regardless of their nationality and country of residency. This becomes a subtle way to maintain the right to choose works that support a particular nation’s culture.

This alternative funding scheme is based on the ethos that one cannot discriminate on the grounds of nationality, but the works must be of benefit to its country. Interestingly it links funds in relation to the audience.

Discriminative ghosts might not render themselves obvious to all. Certainly not to a specific group namely policy and criteria makers, be this organizations, institutions and local authorities who might have a rather unilateral way of thinking in order to achieve the goals imposed by even higher rulers such as the governments themselves.

Knowledge sharing platforms which are inclusive of representation from all levels of cultural involvement, are of importance because through varied perspectives, ethical broadness renders little loophole for discriminational pretext to settle in.

Cultural organisations and institutions are trying to give utmost priority to implement social inclusion of the culturally diverse. The paradox is that its criteria in principle is supportive of the culturally diverse creative practice, yet in practice it is detrimental. Criteria may attack its own grounds when it is based upon race and nationality, that is segregationaly, which fundamentally clashes with the notion of inclusion they are trying to achieve. Identity based criteria is more inclusive.

20 The WCF/
is an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. 

21/
Extracted from the WCF guidelines, point 2. October 5, 2004.

22/
Extracted from notes in attendance at WCF workshop on 17 February 2005 the Berlinale Talent Campus.

23/
Whenever ‘he’ is mentioned, the term also applies for ‘she’.

24 The Commission for Racial Equality(CRE)/
officially describes ‘Ethnic Minority’ as all those who did not classify themselves as ‘white’.

25/
Information regarding PAT10 is inspired by PAT10’s own report itself, as well as the following report from CIRCLE; http://www.circle-network.org/activity/edmonton2000/reports/uk.htm

26/
Extracted from the ACE’s Decibel’s frequently asked questions.


PRESERVATION OF EXPRESSION. Official steps to protect cultural expressions.

In this section I will be looking at some official steps being taken to preserve the cultural expressions of humankind and I will specifically point out how these supportive endevours and new rulings relate directly to the interactive creative practitioner/artist and his networks.

Regarding cultural expression I will touch upon;

– policy history.
– the main threat factor; globalisation.
– proactive mechanisms for its protection.
– challenges.
– who is behind the processes towards its protection.
– how are these processes developed.

The protection of cultural expressions officially begins on 10 December 1948 with the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Current attempts are being made towards the protection of cultural expression which are based on this Declaration. The idea is to further put into motion and implement appropriate mechanisms to the stated rights regarding culture. This mechanisms raise the need to rescue and nurture human expression through suitable cultural policy, to protect our human heritage from the threat of globalisation. (27)

Stepping away from capitalism, an acknowledgment of culture, illustrates the pluralism of identities, which counterbalances the notion that the world can be unified. The movement of economic globalisation fundamentally clashes with culture, the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought (Thesaurus 2002), cannot be appropriated nor consequently treated as any other economic commodity.

Our human essence is under threat of been confiscated by economic-minded corporations who have the power to price goods, all and any product inclusive of human ones, through the simplicity of capital focus and organisations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).

First official attempts are now being made to facilitate cultural developments beyond market profit and to establish formal support to unquantifiable cultural values, uniquely intrinsic to the artistic concept-product.

A proposed Convention on the Protection of Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions is under way at UNESCO, in an attempt to develop the principles of cultural freedoms from theory into practice. It aims to be an international framing instrument to ensure a reference to cultural diversity as a shared value and key concern of humanity. Through an international agreement this convention aims to counterbalance the overwhelming threat imposed by the forces of globalisation towards many societies’ ability to sustain their cultural institutions, local artists and creators.

In its draft (28), the mechanism of cooperation has been specified so that countries which do not have strong cultural industries might benefit as much as possible, in particular members of minorities and indigenous people. Section III.2 Article 12, relates to rights and obligations to international cooperation in order to create conductive conditions of development such as to facilitate international distribution networks particularly of developing countries, to foster the free mobility of artists and creators and to introduce incentive measures for the transfer of technology and know-how. Other aims of this cultural policy are to support access to new technologies, to develop innovative funding systems and to encourage research networks.

On a European level, concerned with Europe’s enlargement process and its cultural identity, the independent European Cultural Foundation (ECF) argues the need to make culture the basis of European integration; stimulating cross-border cooperation and shaping policies. (29)

‘A Soul for Europe’ Conference for European Cultural Policy held on 26 November 2004 in Berlin, sought to pro-activate these inter-cultural rights, but they came across many challenges. The conference pointed to the assumption that because of a ‘cohesion buzz’ one might believe that culture is high on the agenda, yet a separation between rhetoric and agenda was a significant finding. As well as the finding that there is no European cultural scope and there is no accountability to the inversions been made. Also there is no plan because there is no legal framework and hence plans are only attempts to guidance. Funding of cultural programmes is still being treated on the basis of trade and some sectors such as the audio-visual is specifically regarded as industry with no funds at all allocated for audio-visual artistic creation.

The Ruffolo Report (30)(2001) states culture is an essential element of EU identity (clause 1), cooperation contributing to integration (clause 2), proposes the allocation to the arts by member states should be of at least 1% (clause 6), and dialogue with cultural operators must be strengthened (clause 14).

The International Intelligence on Culture monitors global developments of soft and hard intelligence from creation into action, helping to shift and reshape policy and structures in accordance with emerging cultural needs (31). Founder Rod Fisher believes in impartial, flexible and ethical approaches from research to implementation. Regarding this famous 1% target for direct expenditure on culture he questions why aim at only 1% (32).

The latest update reconfirms again this budget issue. At the recent ‘Les Rencontres pour l’Europe de la Culture’ held on 2-3 May 2005 in Paris, and which follows up on ‘A Soul for Europe, Jose Manuel Barroso(33) asked if more budget was needed for the EU’s cultural action ‘As the cultural world demands, the answer can only be affirmative’ he said and continued, ‘The current budget of 35 million Euros per year corresponds to the budget of a medium-sized theatre and doesn’t match the ambitions which the European Union should display’.

Hoping to further raise this point and find and improved solution is the ’70 cents for Culture Campaign’(34) . It is a collective formal request from all cultural sectors to an increase to the target of 1%, to make the EU total direct expenditure on culture of at least 70 cents per citizen. This amount would be 10 times the current spending.

The existing endeavors to formalise cross-cultural support, diversity integration and the protection of cultural expressions are an official confirmation that acknowledgment of universal cultural elements has begun, albeit mostly in theory some specific pro-active plans are on course.

The question here is, who analyses and debates cultural innovation and manages cultural knowledge? And how does it reflect the policy making process?

Inter-networking of resources and information exchange has long been undertaken by some independent organisations, practitioners, journalists (35) ,researchers and academic experts, but do their findings affect policy?

One would assume that such expertise on cultural thematic would be in great demand by policy-makers, but academics tend to hold conferences with other academics, as opposed to with policy-makers, who themselves wish they had research on this and that. The lack of cross-over platforms is evident. Insufficient infrastructure for bottoms-up information exchange often renders new policy obsolete to cultural creators and catalysts.(36)

Official efforts are now been made to unite cultural intelligence through new portals that would aim at merging all research forces and content providers who would collect and disseminate knowledge under one umbrella, namely intergovernmental networks in the forms of Laboratories and Observatories.

The Laboratory of European Cultural Cooperation (LAB) is one such space currently on pilot phase, which provides practical services and access to information on instruments of cooperation, debated by a broad spectrum of specialists from many cultural sectors; governments, universities, networks and foundations. (37)

So it becomes apparent that at the threshold of experimentation and investigation, creators are not alone. On one side, journalists, researchers and scholars formally analyse the impact of technology and new art forms on society through different platforms, universities (38), symposiums(39) an private cultural institutions (40) around the world. On the other, politicians and policy-makers gather up to discuss among themselves. While few platforms such as CIRCLE bring the dialogue between all parts together.

In the analisis of culture, it is important to remember that at the core of creative practice is the artist/creator. As such, he should be given full priority of involvement in its processes till policy creation and further support thereafter. I would like to reiterate the artist positioning with some quotes:

‘The artist is becoming an agent of development and a catalyst of diversity’ (ECF 2004) (41).

‘State parties shall ensure that the legal and social status of artists and creators is fully recognized, in conformity with international instruments, so that the central role in nurturing the diversity of cultural expression is enhanced’ (UNESCO 2004) (42).

We have seen that international cultural policy and inter-cultural rights acknowledge that there is a distinction between rhetoric attempts and actual agenda implementation.

A range of proactive steps are being taken to acknowledge universal cultural elements beyond economic values. These mechanisms raise the need to counterbalance globalisation, on the basis of dialogue, cooperation and identity.

Cultural databases and information exchange platforms are beginning to facilitate the collective analysis of cultural needs for policy creation for the further development of culture and the protection of the cultural expressions of the peoples of the world.

27/
Anthony Giddens lengthily describes the term ‘globalisation’ in less threatening manner in ‘Runaway World: How Globalisation is Reshaping Our Lives’. In this paper however, it is used in reference to its economic-only-target definition. 

28/
The document with reference CLT/CPD/2004/CONF-201/2 is the preliminary draft of a convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural content drafted at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris on July 2004.

29/
ECF’s publication ‘On the Road Sharing Cultures’ points at cultural paths beyond the enlargement of the EU comprehensively illustrating challenges, initiatives, advocacy, prospective policy, knowledge management and inter-cultural competence among other mechanisms.

30 The Ruffolo Report/
is the European Parliament’s resolution on cultural co-operation written in 2001, but the European Parliament had first called for 1% of budget to be invested in culture in 1983.

31/
Such as the previously mentioned example of the Arts Council of Finland.

32/
Based on my notes taken at his lecture given on this course on 3 February 2005.

33 Jose Manuel Barroso/
is the Prime Minister Luxembourg and the European Commission President. Tony Blair takes up the presidency of the EU soon.

34 ’70 cents for Culture Campaign’/
To take part and for further information visit http://www.eurocult.org

35/ 
I.e. Indymedia is a great structural example of journalism by consensus based on open-resources and information exchange.

36/
Drawn from personal experience, further confirmation is inspired by conversation with Rod Fisher.

37/
A provision also exists at UNESCO to establish a Cultural Diversity Observatory for the exchange of data and expertise on the diversity of cultural expressions, regarding best supportive practice. Also the audiovisual sector has its own separate observatory in Strasbourg which studies the commercial market of the industry excluding audiovisual arts.

38/
I.e. St. Charles Community College offers courses such as ‘Introduction to Global Studies’ which provides an interdisciplinary approach to international and inter-cultural issues. Also ‘Inter-cultural Communications’ explores issues including inter-cultural conflict and the important role of context -social, cultural, and historical- in inter-cultural interactions. Also the UOC (University of Catalunya) imparts a course on ‘Art and identity: a utopian relationship with technology’ which explores the user�s identity and the creation of new identities.

39/
I.e. An international symposium of New Media Arts held at the China Millennium Museum, Beijing on May 2004, examines transcendence of urban landscapes and its effects on China’s society and territory.

40/
I.e.’Dal�: New Frontiers of Science, Art and Thought’ an international meeting held at the Dali Foundation (Barcelona October 26, 2004) debated on the reflections that presents the new alliance among art, science and technology in contemporary thought, parting from Salvador Dal�’s (1904-1989) deep interested in scientific thought.

41 ‘On the Road’/
is the ECF’s comprehensive inspirational argument for the urgency of making culture the basis of European integration, of stimulating cooperation and of shaping cultural instruments and policies.

42 UNESCO’s Draft/
on the Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions. Article 7. Obligation to promote the diversity of cultural expressions 2(a).


CONCLUSION

Recapitulating, who is involved? Interactive creative practice; technology, cultural diversity and preservation of expression.

This is an organic abstract field where we, many diverse ‘we’, are involved. Basically anyone and everyone who participates in direct ways with the practice or indirectly through linking elements, the ones here studied and others.

In this paper I have;

– analysed the situations of the people involved and their participation, looking into who does what, ranging from who interacts to who creates policy and the processes in between.
– delineated the interactive creative practice habitus, in relation to how it plays in the field of culture; with its applications and implications which flow both ways.

Also I have;

– provided a visualization of how the element of technology, cultural diversity and preservation of expression constitute the infrastructure of interactive creative practice.
– examined these elements’ within the wider scope of culture at a global and local scale.
– commented on interpretations of definitions, and how these actually affect our practice.
– positioned the interactive creative practitioner in the picture.
– pin pointed values and usefulness of the practice.

THIS IS HOW I DEFINE THE HABITUS OF INTERACTIVE CREATIVE PRACTICE IN RELATION TO THE FIELD OF CULTURE IN WHICH IT PLAYS.

Implications in conclusion, as regards to;

– Our practice; diversity, technology and cooperation, through inter-relational networks worldwide, are intrinsic infrastructural elements. Diverse cultural expressions develop fluidly as an integral part of our practice, which is already global in its nature, through technology’s and specifically the web’s progressive global permeation. For these reasons alone, we are already way ahead of other practices. Precisely these facts place us in a position which can channel cultural richness, making us innately qualified to help others.

– Technology; the IT infrastructure of today is shaped by free and open source projects of yesterday. The industry needs to reconcile with the open nature of technology, particularly the web. The European Commission needs to balance supporting corporate control of the web through the Code, that it doesn’t hamper efforts to foster cross-cultural developments. Tech users need to consider the effects of interaction with other cultures. Issues of control versus disengagement are not unidirectional between makers and users, it also exists within users. New models of interactive formats across digital platforms open new revenue streams for all.

– Cultural diversity; criteria based upon race and nationality excludes our practice, which is beyond race, being both open and global in its nature it is based on concept and identity. Comprehensive grants for cross-border practice are just about non-existent in the UK. Our practice does not befit current trends in criteria now and it will remain excluded from funds until there is a fundamental shift in the rules.

– Cultural policy; platforms for the analysis of cultural policy, where dialogue is fostered among a diverse group of experts inclusive of all cultural sectors, can together conclude what is ethically acceptable to uproot discrimination and what is appropriate to regional, national or/and international value. These should encompass criteria-makers, users and thinkers discussing together; artists, journalists, researchers, bureaucrats, archivists, hackers, economists, environmentalists, anthropologists, historians, curators and critics.

– Preservation of expressions; the big threat is the appropriation by capitalists movements and the WTO, of cultures and its expressions. On a EU level, the challenge for the implementation of effective cultural mechanisms to protect and foster its cultures is, the parsimonious target amount of 1% expenditure, which has not even been reached yet since 1983. Attempts to preserve cultures, point directly at the methods and goals we already practice. Theoretical implementation has already began but in reality so far it has had no real effect on the ground. Real proactive mechanisms are to be fostered.

– The artist/creators, as an agent of development, must be placed at the heart of the matter and should be involved and well represented in all processes in relation to culture, from analysis to policy creation and further supported thereafter.

Applications and values;

– Interactive creative practice is a harmonizing force, which can counterbalance imperialistic developments. It is a pro-active way towards an inclusive, united, cumulative and open global culture. Inclusive of diversity and minorities; united in practice and rewards; cumulative in knowledge and skills; open in access, dialogue and cooperation.

– It is a practice that enriches our human heritage through; the unity of identities, cooperational exploration of thresholds and collective learning and discovering.

– The technological matrix is common flux ground for dialogue, concept development and creative input, for global content to be created by consensus.

– Through the practice, decentralized communities and individuals, can position themselves within a world panorama of the arts.

– Applications are a multiple, ranging in the spectrum from social integrational purposes, entertainment and educational, in cost effective manner.

The interactive creative practitioners as regards to;

– Pioneering. As forerunner practitioners we pioneer creative paths ahead which are innovative, experimental, collective, inclusive, cross-cultural research-in-practice enterprises, were the motor elements of play, dialogue and co-authorship merge on a matrix-base of inter-connectivity.

– Co-ownership. It is an empowering practice for anyone to partake in. Each person should have access, to contribute if they wish, to the culture of the global village which they rightfully co-own.

– Rights. Everyone is entitled to realization of social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality, through community, national and international co-operation (43).

The future;

– Little Bubble of Laughter will integrate this study to its thought-networks on-line where it will continue its development through interconnected networks.

– Practitioners will continue to develop through cooperational networks in under-current manner, while the ‘higher’ spheres go on thinking about how to do what we are already doing, such as how to develop cross-cultural projects and how to integrate minorities. If they wish our thought input, we are accessible. To facilitate cooperation, an applause will not suffice.

– Until cultural criteria stops clashing with the notion of inclusion and shifts enough to accommodate us, based on identity -of cultural expression, and concept- as culture demands: we will continue to develop through independent channels, or we may somehow bent and adjust some fragments enough to make them fit into a required box. Molding certain elements should be no reason to twist the whole practice out of shape.

– Creative sectors, from the creator to the industries and the authorities, must strive to come together and cooperate through exchange platforms/networks if they wish a share of a more equitable world.

– A quote from my colleague ‘Until cultural diversity is managed by the culturally diverse, whatever it is, it is certainly not diverse’ (Nat Teitler 2005).

Also;

– myriad of us worldwide already practice.
– we do not need anyone’s consent to do so.
– just because we already practice doesn’t mean that we do not need further support.
– acknowledgment is important because it recognizes value and importance in research.
– support would help us facilitate access to those who do not have it yet, and make the world a more inclusive place.

43/
The practitioners right is in reference to Articles 22 and 29.1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 


RECOMMENDATIONS

to policy and criteria makers;

– Foster the creation and development of open platforms for dialogue among representatives from all cultural sectors, as well as others who relate to culture in more indirect ways, that united forces of multilateral thinking may uproot unchallenged discriminative ghosts, effectively target social inclusion, and develop appropriate cultural policy and criteria, that does not exclude citizens who make our multi-cultural societies some of the most creative and inspiring worldwide.

to the European Commission; On behalf of interactive creative practitioners I urge you to:

– Reconcile a balance between your duties to foster and protect the economy, of namely a conglomerate of multinational corporations which constitute it, and your duties to represent your constituency of citizens without exclusion, to protect and foster human expressions and its richness in its cultural forms and manifestations.

– Think of the effects in further enforcing protection to corporations’ products, without consideration towards other human values, and if this really does anything to achieve equality with the already widening gap between the rich and the poor of the world.

– Reconsider which citizens’ interests you are protecting?

– The same goes regards the IIA’s internet code of practice which you finance, with a parallel aim to develop open source networks for cross-cultural cooperation. Please reconsider your conflict of interests between fostering a European Union that defines its role based upon either its public cultural richness and heritage or on private multinational corporate control and ownership.

to the interactive creative practitioner;

– Acknowledge your position within the cultural field we play in, that is the World.

– The mechanisms of protection for human expression point directly at the importance of your role.

– There is common ground even between hackers and bureaucrats. Finding common ground on any field is our business; to interconnect and develop cooperational cross-cultural endeavors.

– You are ahead. Position yourself to help. You are innately qualified to reach out and help make inclusive the still excluded peoples of the world, such as the local kids in the hood and the indigenous peoples in the far corners of the planet, who are truly under threat at more levels than culture.

– But be careful not to imitate domineering capitalism in any manner. The same difference between imposition and offer applies. Do disengage but excise control if you must. The idea of disengagement should be one of detachment, not one of freedom of responsibility.

– Think of the effects of your interaction with other cultures; respect their limitations, do not interfere against their will and be fair in the sharing of benefits. Do not use others cultures as mere frivolous additions of exoticism into the works. Think of their values and support them, find conflux with yours. Extol the virtues, extol the findings.

– We have access. Disseminating the works through new channels of distribution is increasingly viable.

– Remember you are the forerunner of the interactive creative practice habitus within the center-fold field of universal culture, co-chiseling innovation.

– Above all, reach out, share and inspire others coming behind by example.

to funders, sponsors and patrons;

– We are against domination. There is a big difference between imposition and offer, so remember to be fair and compromise.

– Makers of technological artifacts, we are happy to assist you with a real testing ground for your newest gadgets, with real results; through our hands-on processes, creative abilities and expert know-how.

– Individual patrons, remember that through arts and charity, tax benefits await you as well as a grand fancy nomination.

– Substantial support towards our practice in a collective or individual manner, supports the untapped potentials of human progress.

to all;

– Entrust the practice and you entrust your own sector, as well as yourself. Join in.


REFERENCES (44)

Little Bubble of Laughter Thought Networks http://www.littlebubbleoflaughter.com

WEB ARTICLES/PUBLICATIONS 

70 cents for Culture Campaign published in http//: http://www.eurocult.org (accessed on5/05/2004)

Country Reports – United Kingdom: (2000) CIRCLE: http://www.circle-network.org/activity/edmonton2000/reports/uk.htm (accessed on 10/04/2005)

Code of practice for global interactivity http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/01-2/anil.html (accessed on 10/03/2005)

Barroso, Jose Manuels’s speech on (26/11/2004) ‘Europe and Culture’ http://europa-eu-un.org/articles/lt/article_4097_lt.htm (accessed on 27/05/2005)

David M. Berry & Giles Moss: (Version 1.62) Libre Culture Manifesto http://www.libresociety.org (accessed on17/03/2005)

Dr. Hugo Heyrman: (2002) Cinematic Art Manifesto: what is performative cinema? http://www.doctorhugo.org/performativecinema.html (accessed on 1/04/2005)

Diana Ayton-Shenker: The Challenge of Human Rights and Cultural Diversity: UN http://www.un.org/rights/dpi1627e.htm (accessed on 23/11/2004)

Eco, Umberto: (2/02/1995) A Conversation on Information :interviewed by Patrick Coppock: http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/eco/eco.html (accessed on 4/04/2005)

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA): Critique regarding IIA’s internet code of practice: http://www.efa.org.au/Publish/iia_crit40.htm (accessed on 26/04/2005)

Fuchs, Christian: Co-operation by electronic technology: Institute of Technology.Vienna. http://cartoon.iguw.tuwien.ac.at/christian/ (accessed on15/12/2004)

Groff, Linda and Paul Smoker: Creating global-local cultures of peace http://www.un.org.culturesofpeace (accessed on 26/11/2004)

Livingston A. White: Reconsidering Cultural Imperialism Theory: Florida State University http://www.tbsjournal.com/Archives/Spring01/white.html (accessed on 26/03/2005)

Rajah,Niranjan: Art After the Internet: The Impact of the www on Global Culture http://www.isoc.org/inet97/proceedings/G3/G3_1.HTM (accessed on15/12/2004)

Said, Edward: Imperialism: http://www.wakeup.org/anadolu/06/4/edward_said.html (accessed on 24/03/2005)

BOOKS

Giddens, Anthony: (2000) ‘Runaway World: How Globalisation is Reshaping Our Lives’: Routledge. London

Handy, Charles: (1998) The Hungry Spirit and (2000) Gods of Management: both Arrow. London.

Yogananda, Paramahansa: (1999) A World in Transition: Self-Realization Fellowship. California.

OTHER PUBLICATIONS:

CRE Commision for Racial Equality: (Revised 1997)and (Revised 1999) Factsheets. London.

Europen Cultural Foundation (ECF): (second edition 2005) On the Road to a cultural policy for Europe: Spinhex & Industrie. Amsterdam.

Policy Action Team 10: Arts, Sport and Leisure, a report to the Social Exclusion Unit, published by the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, London, 1999.

United Nations: (1948) () reprint August 1993) Universal Declaration of Human Rights: UN. http://www.un.org

CONGRESSES AND SYMPOSIUMS ATTENDED:

CCC 21st Chaos Comunications Congress: (27-29/12/2004) 21C3 The Usual Suspects: Berliner Congress Center, Berlin, Germany. http://www.ccc.de/congress

Berlinale Talent Campus (12-17/02/2005) House of World Cultures, Berlin. http://www.berlinale-talentcampus.de

Film panel: (14/02/2005) The difference: Alternative Financing and distribution: British Council, Berlin.

Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (ISESCO): ‘Dialogue among Civilizations: Theory and Practice’ international symposium:(13/11/2001)The Tunis Appeal: Tunis, Tunisia. http://www.tunisiaonline.com/news/news.html (also accessed on-line 13 December 2004)

Performing Arts co-authorship project: (4 June- 4 July 1999) koper.technik/body.technology: at Media City Adlershof, Akadie der Kunste and Podewil, Berlin.

Symposium: (17-19 September 1999) Virtual-Physical Bodies//the future synthesis:(rescen): Middlesex University, London.

LECTURES PERTAINING TO THIS COURSE BY:

Bahra, Harinder: Change Management Consulting Group Rod Fisher: International Intelligence on Culture Sarah Weir: Arts Council of England

CONVERSATIONS WITH:

Fisher, Rod Khan, Hatim Kharrazi, Ali

WEB SOURCES:

Arts Council of England http://www.artscouncil.org.uk

Artnodes Virtual University at University of Cataluyna http://www.uoc.edu/artnodes

Culturelink. The Network of Networks for Research and Cooperation in Cultural Development. Established by UNESCO and the Council of Europe. http://www.culturelink.org

EFAH European Forum for the Arts and Heritage http://www.efah.org

Equal Opportunities Commision http://www.eoc.org.uk

European Foundation Centre http://www.efc.be

European Union http://europa-eu-un

International Intelligence on Culture, Theory and Practice: London. http://www.intelCULTURE.org

Indymedia http://www.indymedia.org

ONS Office for National Statistics http://www.statistics.gov.uk

Sarai Media Lab http://www.sarai.net

Berkman center for internet and society at Harvard law school http://cyber.law.harvard.edu

OTHER SITES OF INTEREST:

Artfactories http://www.artfactories.net

Babelmed Association http://www.babelmed.net

Cultural Policies in Europe: a Compendium of Basic Facts and Trends http://www.culturalpolicies.net

Culturebase http://www.culturebase.net

ENCATC European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centres http://www.encatc.org

Felix Meritis http://www.felix.meritis.nl

RECAP http://www.recap-network.org

RACE RELATIONS http://racerelations.about.com/library/weekly/blwhiteprivilege.htm Whiteness Studies

44/ 
Unfortunately, except a handful of research backed on CD-W, most of the details regarding sources studied before 20 March 2005 were lost due to total computer breakdown. This included list of books borrowed from library as well as web sources. 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Special thanks to Dr. Atif Ghani for perspective and focus.
Thanks also to proof readers; Jonathan Colin and Tom Downes.
Deepest gratitude to each one of my tutors and all involved on this course.
Dr. God [Dr. Godfrey Brandt] thank you for believing in me.
Peter Burtt-Jones for delicious birkbeck desserts ..mmm.. 


SELF-ASSESSMENT.

There is something contradictory in trying to express in a lineal sequential manner something such as interactive creative practice which has a natural abstract structure. This however, is exactly what I set myself upon doing not just as the project to focus my independent study but also it was the main issue that attracted me to join the course in the first place, that is, to examine the structure and build a clear picture of our practice in context, since I believed it was often the abstraction of our practice that hampered funds flowing in.

Since the beginning of the course, on the process of examination of the current cultural environments and their theoretical and practical aspects, I discovered that abstraction was not at all the only nor the main issue why we lacked external financial support.

It seemed the main issue being one that our practice did not fit into the current general cultural criteria which often tries to integrate elements from the outside inwards, while in our practice, elements are already intrinsic.

A tremendous paradox was added when all the arrows -such as Handy’s theories and the ‘Towards 2010’ report- pointed at the direction of our chaotic structures, managerial ways and collective networks as being the way forward in which culture should/would develop in the future.

It has been a tremendously intriguing puzzle to try and solve; how a practice, rich in diverse and skilled people with know-how, which should be so rightfully supported according to the priorities stated in cultural agenda targets, is nearly wholly excluded.

The overwhelming extend of the analysis forced me to narrow it down over and over again. to dissect the practice into elements and to find the root cause where to start the analysis from. The more I tried to defragment the practice, the more I would discover aspects which were of importance but which would steer me off track.

My computer then went into a deep coma. I lost lots, but through this blessing in disguise, I eventually narrowed my independent research to the who as opposed to the how. This was done upon the realization that no matter the abstraction or concreteness of a practice, nor whether it is a network or an organisation, it all boiled down to the individuals, that is, the people being the core of what makes up a practice or an institution, as opposed to its concepts, philosophies, aims or products.

Now, setting upon finding out who exactly is involved within the different elements that make up the whole of interactive creative practice was still quite a challenge.

I set to identify which were the most intrinsic basic elements and once I had narrowed to the three chosen ones, I began more targeted reading.

Being at the cutting edge of practice, finding books that would relate to it was most difficult indeed. After many frustrated intents and not so usefully spent reading time, I decided to stick mainly with what I did know from personal direct experience, as well as using our main tool of information exchange to further research, that is the web, in the hope that I would find more updated material.

Again, I was surprised to see how little has been written and analised regarding such a worldwide growing practice, let alone with the artistic and creative elements added. Let me clarify that it is not hard to find works, but it is so, to find theory and analysis that regards or links the practice.

In terms of methodology, at times I have felt as if I were using an ancient argumentative technique called ‘reductio ad absurdum’ -reduction to absurdity- which analyses the opposites of what the argument is trying to prove. However, I was never sure I was really trying to prove nor establish any given point -mine was more of an open observation-, nor what the opposite would be, since the opposite to me seemed to be the fact that the elements within our practice where already situated in opposite location than in most other creative structures, that is, within as opposed to without. This technique of proof is still widely used in the fields of mathematics and philosophy, baffling in itself since the difference is one from the exact to the abstract. I am not sure whether this technique really applies to my followed methodology or whether I may have given it a certain update into some ‘neo reductio ad absurdum’.

I feel I have come out the research tunnel only thirsty for further research to further define and to structure the abstract nature of artistic practices of the future from an insider’s view.

Through further analysis, I also wish to continue to challenge fixed definitions and perceptions of element which constitute a much bigger picture of creative practices which are in their nature fully organic and fluid and thus on a constant state of change, shift and metamorphosis.

With structures that closer resemble geometric pyramidal fractal morphing floating forms, the seeming chaos nevertheless, is made of matter of harmonising forces such as diversity in interaction, and of classic pyramidal structures housing the creator/artist who sits in the middle -since there is no top when one floats in space-.

I hope to have the opportunities in the future to further develop my analysis of what we already do, that we continue to exchange in the open spheres of global identity in dialogue, knowledge exchange and cooperation.

And above all I hope to be able to further research these interactions from the perspective of those cultures which have had non or little access to global cross-cultural platforms so far, such as the indigenous peoples of the world, wish they to do so.

In World unity, and with gratitude to all my teachers, Crissalida.

PD. Unlike the main paper, this assessment wrote itself out in beat-poet style with a single stroke from beginning to end. As I read it once I realize I do not wish to change a single word. Like the practice, it is fully fluid.

©2005 C.H. Correa

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