Creative and Cultural Expression

The story – the forum – the actor

Monastery or Square finishes with a call for increased recognition that a thriving ecology in art and in culture is necessary to accommodate the differing opportunities for the public/individuals to engage and participate in cultural activity and meaningful connection to society.

This variety of scale, structure and intent is necessary in a healthy networked global society, but natural human disposition – and the ‘unnatural’ human development of our civilisations, industries and scientific mastery of nature – create human environments in which increasing systematisation and specialisation present us with artificial boundaries, false dichotomies and, obversely, the conflation of significant yet subtle difference.

Human activity requires shared understanding and exchange. It’s critical that this occurs both within and across specialised domains. Models developed for one discipline may be effectively and meaningfully transposed upon another field, but require acknowledgement of the inherent differences. At times our desire for quick solutions, for progress, can undermine this necessary adjustment, in favour of expedience.
Media technologies are both tool and domain. Similarly ‘The Arts’ incorporates creative production, practices and institutions. Both are fields of communication and exchange, speaking and responding to individual and common cultural experience.

It is perhaps unsurprising then that many of the same models for interaction, audience participation and engagement can be applied to both, particularly as digital technologies are integral to a growing number of traditional and emerging art-forms, as well as being widely used to share this content.

Yet both contain (with varying degrees of transparency) competing paradigms:
Do community arts networks share more in common with the open-source community and Moscow State Circus with Microsoft? These are cultural debates and we must borrow from philosophy, psychology, social, natural and material sciences to interrogate both the intent and conditions, to ask ourselves:

Why we produce and why we consume
How we produce and how we consume (And, no less critical, the what, the where and the when…)
Who produces and who consumes

As Kleine asks: ICT4WHAT? (2010)
When considering agency, choice and capability, it is useful to consider both the individual and structural ‘resources’ available. ‘The resource portfolio consists of:

  • Material resources
  • Financial resources
  • Natural resources
  • Geographical resources
  • Human resources: Health, and education and skills 
  • Psychological resources
  • Information resources
  • Cultural resources: The ’embodied state (the habitus…)’; ‘objectified state (…which only the initiated can use), institutionalised state (prestige eg. titles).
  • Social resources

Kleine’s article ICT4WHAT?—Using the choice framework to operationalise the capability approach to development draws on Sen, 1984 and Robeyns, 2003b, Alsop and Heinsohn,2005 and Bourdieu 1986 to demonstrate this ‘portfolio’.


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