LEFT TO YOUR OWN DEVICES

 

Vladimir Arkhipov

Ana Garcia-Pineda

Luis Gárciga

Núria Güell

Elín Hansdóttir

Oh Eun Lee

Chiu Longina

Platoniq

Emili Padrós

Telenoika


This exhibition focuses on art as a channel of production and transmission of knowledge: from a reflection on the means that nourish and spread creativity to the methodologies and situations that encourage active participation by the public in artistic processes and results.

 

The exhibition presents actions on art and the social capital with works by Vladimir Arkhipov (Russia), Ana Garcia-Pineda (Barcelona), Luis Gárciga Romay (Cuba), Núria Güell (Girona), Elín Hansdóttir (Iceland-Germany), Oh Eun Lee (Korea-Switzerland), Chiu Longina (Galicia), Emili Padrós (Barcelona), Platoniq (Barcelona) and Telenoika (Girona).

 

The technological development of recent decades has facilitated new forms of relationship, organization and distribution in such diverse spheres as the economy, the administration, food, mobility, health, leisure, etc. Speedy data communication has simplified what used to be time-consuming everyday activities. Placing bank transfers, paying taxes, finding out the weather forecast, ordering from the supermarket, obtaining a route planner, making a doctor's appointment and booking a cinema seat can all be done from home with a click on the computer, thus avoiding intermediaries and tiresome procedures.

 

As regards interpersonal connections, social networks are mushrooming out of chosen affinities based on all sorts of common interests. In like manner, we are witnessing a transformation of the production, distribution, consumption and transmission of knowledge, in all its fields of development.

 

Apart from specific, concrete issues, however, there is evidence of deeper changes in the way in which we relate to our physical, material, intellectual and symbolic surroundings. Simultaneousness, fluidity, immediateness and connectedness are some words which can define the new dynamics within which contemporary individuals go about their everyday lives, aware of their potentialities and of the strength they can achieve as active members of a community.

 

In his study of contemporary society, French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu claims that, apart from economic capital, we possess three other forms of "capital". In the first place, there is the human capital that comes from our skills and knowledge; secondly, there is the social capital that we acquire through our connections and relationships; and finally, there is the cultural capital, meaning our capacity to take part in cultural activities other than high culture, e.g. sports, pastimes and all other forms of leisure pursuits (cinema, museums, literature, etc.). For Bourdieu[1], our cultural capital is that which distinguishes us as individuals, whereas the combination of all three categories of capital determines our identity and life style.

 

On the other hand, in 1992, in the course of his investigations on the dynamics of mobile phones and their implications for society, writer Howard Rheingold asked Microsoft research sociologist Marc A. Smith, his former UCLA student, about what the virtual communities gave individuals that enabled them to constantly share information with people they had never seen face to face. Smith replied: "Social network capital, knowledge capital and opportunities for socialising".[2]

 

As individuals, we have already interiorised the possibilities for transforming situations through communication, knowledge exchange and participation in community actions, outside the sphere of the major infrastructures and the powers that be. It has also been proved that structures can be set up that may greatly influence the profile of society over the next couple of decades. Charles Leadbeater, innovation and creativity specialist as well as renowned business and political advisor, corroborates this with his study on certain situations,[3] as for example the appearance of Linux free operative system (with 20 million users); the Napster music file exchange system; and The Sims video game (with over 30,000 people involved in its development). These are all experiences promoted by private individuals, known as "Pro-Ams" (professional-amateurs), which demonstrate how independent on-line work can have a great impact on politics, on culture, on the economy and on development.

 

The consequences are huge, on a global scale, but beg the question of how these tendencies can be applied to local communities.

 

Over and above the use of advanced technologies, and unrelated to corporative macrostructures financed by large budgets, new organisational models have sprung up which are characterised as being innovative, adaptable and low-cost. This is the strength of the cultural and social capital of contemporary society, organized on-line and focused on the exchange of knowledge. As John Thackara states, "a transition is already under way from innovation driven by science fiction to innovation inspired by social fiction".[4]

 

 

 

The new dynamics produce operating profits, which in turn generate alternative models by tapping the strength of local synergies and by applying creativity.

 

In the light of all these transformations, how are the cultural capital and the social capital evolving and how are they being managed in today's world? What consequences should be envisaged?

 

Culture - and therefore art, which has now transcended the purely aesthetic approach - is one of the most relevant forms of production and transmission of knowledge. How do all these changes fit into creation? How does this increase in individual autonomy work its influence? Who possesses the power of creation? How is it conveyed and transmitted? Where do its sources spring from?

 

This subject gives rise to many questions, which are explored as a basis for reflection in the Own Resources exhibition through the works of 10 artists from very different backgrounds and disciplines. Imagination, innovation, exchange networks and the cultural capital are some of the elements present in Own Resources, with artistic proposals that fluctuate between activism and speculative reflection, through actions, digital films, interventions, video works and mural collages.

 


[1] Pierre BOURDIEU. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: RKP, 1985.

[2] Howard RHEINGOLD. Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Cambridge MA: Perseus, 2002.

[3] Charles LEADBEATER and Paul MILLER. The Pro-Am Revolution. How Enthusiasts are Changing our Economy and Society. London: Demos, 2004.

[4] John THACKARA. In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World. Boston: MIT Press, 1995.

 

Photo Gallery

 
 

Futher information

dossier_eng.pdf (239.31 KB)