— Cultural Sources of Newness

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Tag "artistic interventions in organizations"

 

Dinosaurs waiting for newness--or the End of the World

Dinosaurs waiting for newness–or the End of the World

A museum with dinosaurs is not where one would necessarily expect to find newness.

 

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, still pockmarked by war damage

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, still pockmarked by war damage

 

But this is precisely where it is in the making right now in Berlin. The Museum für Naturkunde and the German Federal Culture Foundation have launched a four-year artistic intervention program with international artists. The program is very ambitious: It

“aims to experimentally transcend the communicative barriers between the artistic domain and that of the natural history museum, in order to open up fresh perspectives both on nature and on museum culture, to shed new light on scientific objects, and to change the way we view natural history museums in general.” 

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Conferences have such formatted spaces that just attending them becomes a burden.”

Two big themes officially set my agenda in Montréal these past few days, and I ensured I had the energy to work with them by making space and taking time for meaningful conversations inside as well as outside the program. The overall theme for this year’s EGOS conference was “Bridging Continents, Cultures and Worldviews, and the theme for the track I co-organized with Stefan Meisiek and Steve Taylor was “Identity in Art, Design, and Organization (ADO).”  In the ADO track we found various ways to break out of the burdensome conference format referred to above in an email I received from a colleague (who did not attend the conference). We interrupted our process a couple of times to listen to keynote speakers who addressed the overall conference theme.  

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Last week a wonderful colleague from Audencia Nantes School of Management, Gervaise Debucquet, was a Visiting Fellow at our research unit. We worked together on our paper entitled “Artistic interventions in organizations as intercultural relational spaces for identity development, which we will present in July at the 2013 EGOS conference in Montreal.

The paper is based on masses of data I have been collecting from artists, managers, and employees who have responded to my Web-based questionnaire about their expectations from and experiences with artistic interventions in organizations. Gervaise brings to the project a special expertise with quantitative-qualitative data analysis, using ALCESTE software.

We punctuated our work week with inspiring breaks in the Kulturforum, in which the WZB is located. On Tuesday we went to the free lunchtime concert at the Philharmonie, where the trio La Bicicleta performed tango music with a member of the Berlin Philharmonic. I was so frustrated not to have brought my camera with me because the scene was enriched by couples who spontaneously broke into tango dancing–a most unusual sight in the foyer of the Philharmonie! We returned to the office with much more energy. And it was especially fitting to hear music from Argentina at this lunchtime concert because Gervaise learned Spanish in that country while she was conducting research on the gauchos in the pampa. Her fluency in Spanish is another reason that we are collaborating on this project: the data is drawn from artistic interventions that the Spanish intermediary organization Conexiones improbables is producing in the Basque country.

On Thursday we took an hour to walk around the current exhibit at the Neue Nationalgalerie. Gervaise pointed out a particularly appropriate painting for our work: Karel Appel’s Rencontre des mondes (1958). In our paper we are discussing the effects on identity development of the intercultural encounters that artistic interventions enable between the world of the arts and the world of organizations. In addition to the thematic connection between our paper and this artwork, there is the visual dimension: there are moments when the mass of data we are working with makes my brain feel like the paint looks on this canvas–which is why taking a break away from the computer and into the Kulturforum is a great thing to do with a co-author!

Rencontre des mondes, Karel Appel (1958) Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (photo ABA)

Rencontre des mondes, Karel Appel (1958) Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (photo ABA)

 

Note! La Bicicleta is seeking crowdfunding for its second CD on the platform startnext.de  If you have not yet followed up on my post earlier this month about crowdfunding for cultural projects, with the example of startnext,  this is your opportunity to try it out by going to : http://www.startnext.de/la-bicicleta-livecd-produktion

 

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I particularly enjoy sharing my research findings in contexts that allow me to learn as well. Last week held two very different opportunities for this:  On Tuesday I spoke at an evening curated by Maria Ptqk  at SAVVY Contemporary  in Berlin, and on Thursday-Friday I was in Hamburg at the annual plenary of the Working Group for Arts Sponsorship of the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft (Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy at the Federation of German Industries). In both cases I had been invited to talk about artistic interventions in organizations, but the participants could not have been more different: in Berlin I was surrounded by artists, in Hamburg by managers. Bridging between their worlds with my research about how they can learn from each other required preparing two quite distinct presentations (drawing on the findings for our Creative Clash project report and my case studies on artistic interventions in France, Germany and Spain). Then I was ready to listen and learn.

Mia Mäkela presenting Green Matters at SAVVY Contemporary April 23 2013

Mia Mäkelä presenting Green Matters at SAVVY Contemporary April 23 2013

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Echoes from the opening keynote of the Creative Clash conference we held at the Goethe Institute in Brussels yesterday (March 19) resonated at the end of the day in the closing poem. From talking about artistic interventions in organizations to experiencing one. In between: presentations of three research reports and panels with policymakers (Members of the European Parliament, representatives of Directorate Generals), managers, and members of the art world. The program was punctuated with discussion opportunities to involve the ca. 150 participants who were seated in four sections according to the sense they preferred to learn with that day: feeling, hearing, seeing, or thinking. And half way through: the opening of a select exhibition that Mari Linnman curated of artworks from artistic interventions in organizations in Sweden and the Basque country.

The research reports prepared for Creative Clash by the WZB, TILLT and KEA are/will be available on line (see info below*), so I will focus here on the keynote “Artistic interventions in the creative economy” that Michael Hutter (WZB) presented and the poem that slammer Sebastian 23 composed in situ and performed for us.

Materials at Creative Clash Conference March 19 2013

Materials at Creative Clash Conference March 19 2013

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The two corporate speakers at a private concert last night put conversions on my mind. One spoke of converting us to ambassadors for the musicians, and the other described her own conversion to their music and her experience with colleagues and clients her company had invited to the group’s concerts. The two types of conversions occupied my mind throughout the concert: the conversion of listeners to become financial supporters, and the conversion from the ranks of the “uninitiated” to active supporters of the group’s chamber music.  

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