— Cultural Sources of Newness

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Tag "valorization"

“Things can work even when they don’t fit together” and “Misunderstanding can contribute to coordination”—these were the first two insights that David Stark shared with us at the workshop that we organized at the WZB June 26-28 in preparation of the book with the working title “Valorizing dissonance. Cultural perspectives on newness.” Where did we—a group of 17 academics from different parts of Europe and North America—go from there? One part of our agenda was to get from dissonance to newness, a concept that was foreign to many of our guests.

Beginning two days of discussions

Beginning two days of discussions

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Some of our research projects pay close attention to the places in which new ideas are created, so that we can understand the cultural features in the context. For example, my colleague Ignacio Farías has spent many hours, days, weeks observing the flow and interactions between people and materials in artists’ studios and architects’ offices; and over the course of two and a half years I studied what happened when artists created their works in an unconventional context, namely a consulting company (a first essay on what I learned there appeared in the fifth catalogue for the residency program; more articles are under review for publication in journals).

We take our work seriously, and it is definitely fun to interview such diverse and interesting people and watch them at work. But it is not funny. So it was wonderful to come across a  BBC radio 4 program during my holiday break from work that bridges the gap between the serious world of research and the lighthearted mood characteristic of the festivities of New Year’s eve. The interviews reveal what happened in what I would call a highly unusual space for a cultural source of newness: a motel nightclub in Houston, Texas.    

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