— Cultural Sources of Newness

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Tag "artistic interventions"

Officially, the WZB research unit “Cultural Sources of Newness” ended in 2014, but intellectually it continues to be generative. Michael Hutter, the former director, and Ignacio Farías, one of the senior research fellows, put their heads together to take the results of our research program a step further.

In the course of intensive discussions about the five cultural techniques* for generating newness that were specified in the research unit’s final report, they reduced the number to three, namely configuring frames, creating objects and risking valuations. More importantly, they realized that all these techniques are really ways of inducing indeterminacy. In a social world that demands innovation but is geared toward eliminating uncertainty and toward gaining certainty, it is not easy to install approaches that are oriented in the opposite direction.

Fortunately, the reviewers of the Journal of Cultural Economy pressured the authors to explain their choice of exactly three ways of sourcing newness. Taking up this challenge led them to take another step forward, resulting in an analysis that takes the fundamental temporal nature of newness into account. Their article demonstrates: Now really matters for sourcing newness!

 “Now separates and connects events that are already over from events that have not yet happened. Each of these three ways resonates with such a now, wedged between not yet and already over. For each of these three ways of sourcing newness, one of the two others constitutes the horizon of past events and the other constitutes the horizon of future events. As the durations of events follow each other, multiple nows appear and then disappear. Taken together, they constitute a circular process that maintains indeterminate situations. Three components are a minimal condition for temporal sequences in which present, past and future are kept distinct.”

The article makes the concepts come alive by illustrating them with a rich diversity of examples.

You are welcome to access the full text by clicking on the link below to get a free e-print:

http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/8wTXISH5gEpINxMPZ2Yg/full

* The five techniques identified in the final report were: 1) Bordering spaces and environments,  2) Suspending rules and routines,  3) Curating contributions and circumstances,  4) Translating forms of value, and  5) Valuating novelties.

 

 

 

 

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The 2nd international Hidden Hunger congress hosted by the University of Hohenheim was information-rich. Between Tuesday March 3rd and Friday March 6th 2015 the program offered the approximately 360 participants from around the globe

  • 66 lectures,
  • 35 poster presentations,
  • 2 panel discussions and
  • 1 film

by experts from numerous disciplines, such as nutrition, gynecology, pediatrics, agricultural sciences, and economics.

The scientific program was complemented by a “Science Meets Culture” stream , with 6 artists and 3 students from the Transdisciplinarity Master’s Program of the Zürich University of the Arts.

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Which is more surprising: to hold a conference on the theme of Hidden Hunger at a Mövenpick hotel? Or to bring in artists to intervene in a conference of technical experts from around the globe?

Hidden Hunger Congress 2015 at Mövenpick Stuttgart

Hidden Hunger Congress 2015 at Mövenpick Stuttgart

 

Whose hunger at Mövenpick Stuttgart?

Whose hunger at Mövenpick Stuttgart?

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Does what we researchers see on the way to work influence what we think when we get to our desks? Might it affect our capacity to generate newness? Having moved this month to a new office in a completely different setting from my previous one, the sights I pass have changed dramatically.

WZB, Reichpietschufer 50

WZB, Reichpietschufer 50

 

The EUREF Campus sign

The EUREF Campus: “Das Stadtquartier von Morgen”

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When I took a picture of the guests at the opening dinner for the “Culture Around” conference speakers and special representatives from the world of the arts tonight in Warsaw, Justyna, one of the organizers,  said “I know what you are going to do with them! I have read your blog!” Actually, I was just capturing the mood, but then I realized that she was right: this evening offered an opportunity to get back to collecting my thoughts during and after an interesting moment and sharing them in another post. And I recognized that decidedly, dinners trigger the new.

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It is hard to stick to New Year’s resolutions. Colleagues like Fabian Lempa  do not make it any easier by inviting me to a workshop he co-organized with Lilian Seuberling  entitled “Zwischen Freiheit und Norm!? Theater in Therapie und Unternehmen.” But I am glad I decided to put aside the resolution not to work on weekends this year and made my way to the Berlin Free University’s Institute of Theatre Studies at 9am on Saturday (February 21). The workshop was organized in the context of the ERC-funded project “The Aesthetics of Applied Theatre,” directed by Prof. Matthias Warstat . I was intrigued by the provocative sets of apparent oppositions: freedom/norm and the use of theater in therapy/business.

The day’s program for the 17 participants was packed full: each of the four invited experts had an hour in which to explain and give us a feeling for their field of work, a panel discussion and world café. We talked through the lunch and coffee breaks, and were definitely ready for a glass of wine (and more conversations) by the evening. The project team will surely share their insights after they have worked through the recording of the day, here I simply provide a brief overview.

Organizers and experts of the workshop

Organizers and experts of the workshop

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Dr. Cho Hyunjae, the 1st Vice Minister for Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea, welcomed the participants to the ARCOM conference at the Olympus Hall in Seoul on November 20 2013 with strong messages: “Art can make business dance and stimulate innovation.” “Organizations need creative kicks” because “corporations need to learn to stimulate the emotions of employees,” so “Korea is seeking ways to bring down barriers between art and business.” (quotations via translation by an  interpreter at the conference)

The ministry had contacted Professor Jeon Suhwan in 2011 to create ARCOM at the Korea National University of Arts to develop activities that would help the world of organizations and the world of the arts learn how to work together in new ways. For Professor Jeon, the experience with ARCOM has shown that, when given the opportunity, “many CEOs are interested in adopting art in their corporate environment” and their projects illustrate how “Korean companies are changing with the arts.” He believes that collaborations between arts and business can enable Korea to become a “creative economy.” And that the time has come for learning together globally.

Prof. Jeon presents ARCOM at Seoul conference

Prof. Jeon presents ARCOM at Seoul conference

Professor Jeon designed this conference to advance ARCOM’s objectives in two ways. Although there have been numerous artistic intervention projects in Korea these past few years, there has not yet been much research on the subject here, so he wanted this conference to present research from Europe, as well as additional cases from Asia.

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After two full days of presentations, interviews, and discussions here in Seoul, several features are emerging for us about how Koreans are learning from and with artistic interventions in organizations.

The fun and honor of being interviewed by poet and management professor Sim Bo seon, Kyun Hee Cyber University

The fun and honor of being interviewed by poet and management professor Sim Bo Seon, Kyun Hee Cyber University

  • The cases we have seen so far have all been in the IT sector–which may say something about the willingness of managers in this sector to embark on innovative approaches to innovation, but our sample is too small to generalize from.  It is not coincidental that in all of the companies the CEO or another manager is taking a course with Professor Jeon at the Korea National University of the Arts and they are all being coached by him in his role with ARCOM in designing their interventions. We are witnessing the birth of a Korean intermediary/producer of artistic interventions.
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It started with an email in May 2013 that looked like spam, with Asian symbols I did not recognize. Something prompted me to open it and to my surprise, it was from a South Korean researcher who had discovered my studies on artistic interventions and wanted to come to Berlin to interview me.  She explained that she was a researcher from ARCOM (Arts and Company), a non-profit agency at the Korea National University of Arts, that was dedicated to artistic interventions in organizations, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It was great to learn from this email that the reports I had written on the European Creative Clash project (2013) and the earlier TILLT Europe project (2009) were being read around the world, as well as the article I had published about intermediaries in the online journal Organizational Aesthetics based on the Creative Clash report (2011) .

Six weeks later, Soyoung Shin was in Berlin, after having visited my partners in the Creative Clash project, TILLT in Sweden  and before travelling onwards to conexiones improbables in Spain, and ending her trip in London to meet Giovanni Schiuma. Never have I been interviewed by someone who had read my work so thoroughly! After hours of talking at the WZB, I invited her and her photographer to join me with David and Emma Vidal, an artist visiting from Paris, for a picnic in the park of Schloss Charlottenburg, so that she could continue her questioning. She mentioned that ARCOM was hoping to organize an international conference later this year, would I be able to come?

Soyoung Shin from ARCOM joins us for picnic at Schloss Charlottenburg July 2013

Soyoung Shin from ARCOM joins us for picnic at Schloss Charlottenburg in Berlin, July 2013

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If Berlin feels especially energized this week, it may be partially thanks to the participants of the world conference of the Applied Improvisation Network (AIN). Over 225 men and women from 36 countries working with impro/improv/improvisation in diverse fields poured into the Kalkscheune  in Berlin-Mitte on October 3rd and again today to share their ideas and questions. And to advance the establishment of improvisation as a source of renewal and, in some cases, resistance to the new.

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