Cultural Institutions (2)

It wasn’t really a conference, more a conversation, held in the Orangery on the roof of the Robert Bosch Academy with the heads of mainly Berlin cultural institutions.   We started with new ways of working:  the ways in which the patterns of work are changing with less conventional workspace, a blurring of the lines between work and home, the use of so-called flexispace.   This is undeniable, but the question is whether there is a similar dissolution of boundaries in cultural practice.   I can see that there is much more emphasis on debate, audience needs and participation.   But does this abrogate the need for conventional, historical buildings ?  What I came away with was a sense of anxiety, if not disillusionment, with conventional historical institutions, including, most especially, plans for the Humboldt Forum, which are funded by goverment to promote tourism (I didn’t know that only 10% of visitors to the Guggenheim in Bilbao are locals), as compared to more democratic, artist-run, local initiatives, of which there are said to be many up the Hudson River;  and that, in terms of cultural practice, content is more important than the container, as demonstrated by the original ICA and by theatres, where the interaction with the audience is more important than the setting.  

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