— Cultural Sources of Newness

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Tag "Creative Clash"

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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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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One of the things that has occupied many of my days and nights over the course of the past two years is the Creative Clash project on artistic interventions in organizations. I have been participating as the research partner,  together with several colleagues in our  research unit at the WZB. Our role was to collect evidence of impacts of artistic interventions in organizations on the basis of existing publications—the project specifically excluded conducting new research, a somewhat perverse situation, given the paucity of available data and the difficulty of conducting such evaluations.

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The man standing in line in front of me at the Jeu de Paume theater in Aix en Provence tonight bought the last ticket to the concert “Leçon de jazz d’Antoine Hervé: Keith Jarrett.” I was about to turn away in disappointment, but the young woman at the ticket counter disappeared for a moment, then came back with a few slips in her hand: I was in luck, she said, the prefect would not be using his official box tonight so I could buy one of the best tickets in the house. So I was soon ensconced just to the left of the stage, overlooking the piano that awaited Antoine Hervé. The house was indeed completely sold out—to hear a famous French jazz pianist play and explain the art of Keith Jarrett.  As a great lover of Keith Jarrett ever since a friend gave us a recording of the Köln concert (and since hearing about the story behind that 1975 concert), I was ready to experience a magical evening.

Theatre du Jeu de Paume, Aix (photo ABA)

Theatre du Jeu de Paume, Aix (photo ABA)

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My first Sunday in Konstanz as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz started with the discovery of a “controversial new idea” presented by public artist from the UK, Andrew Shoben, on a BBC Radio 4 program “Change of Art”. Schoben is concerned that art works created in the past decades appear to have little or no meaning to the public in whose midst they are placed. He is looking into “decommissioning” art that was created in response to a commission by a government body (e.g., local authority) by rotating or retiring the art work. The BBC site led me to the blog of a PhD student in the UK who is conducting interesting research on public art.

Lenk's Imperia with pope and king, Konstanz harbour

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