The Art World Is Flat



The Art World is Flat: Globalism-Crisis and Oppportunity :: April 26-28, 2007 :: Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago.

Presenters: Amy Balkin, Francesco Bonami, David Buckland, Stephen Burks, Anna Deavere Smith, Bruce Ferguson, Ed Gillespie, Stanley Hainsworth, Susan Harris, Lynne Hershman Leeson, Natalie Jeremijenko, Simone Aaberg Kaern, Ruby Lerner, Rick Lowe, Lu Jie, Ken Lum, Bruce Mau, Lucy Orta, Anne Pasternak, Dan Peterman, James Rondeau, Peter Sellars, Jennifer Siegal, Stephanie Smith, Lynne Sowder and Victoria Burns, Francesca von Habsburg, Lawrence Weschler, Mathew Wilson, Jon Winet, and iro Yamagata.

Globalism is radically transforming our world, creating new political instabilities, economic interdependencies, ecological stresses and cultural hybrids. The negative results of globalism have been widely discussed: the loss of cultural and ecological diversity; the consolidation of economic and media power; the rise of violent reactionary and fundamentalist movements.

But there are concurrent trends that suggest hope for a more positive future. These include a growing awareness of the interconnectedness of human destiny regardless of religious, geographic or political differences; the uses of technology to heighten and accelerate social networks and actions; the realization of the urgency of addressing pressing, common, environmental, economic and political crises.

For the arts, the crisis of globalism is also an opportunity to interact meaningfully with visionaries in business, politics, science, and other arenas
The arts, always a harbinger of change, are likewise experiencing an unprecedented surge of new aesthetic forms, cross-disciplinary partnerships, distribution networks, market forces and inter-cultural exchanges. For the arts, the crisis of globalism is also an opportunity to interact meaningfully with visionaries in business, politics, science, and other arenas, and to play a powerful new role in the transformation of our shared reality and emerging future.

This conference will bring together an international group of innovative and socially engaged artists, writers, scientists, technologists, curators, theorists, patrons, entrepreneurs, designers, and collectors, among others. It will focus on how the forces of globalism are challenging traditional hierarchies, redistributing capital, creating powerful new collaborative models, and generating new kinds of hybrid cultural practice.

Conference participants will discuss questions relating to current trends, emerging paradigms, and possible cultural futures in three interrelated thematic areas:

New Capital(s)
Hegemony and Resistance in the Global Cultural Economy

How do shifts in wealth encourage or limit cultural visibility and diversity? Will new cultural centers emerge, offering new possibilities? What are the new models of interventionist cultural practice? Why are new patrons creating alternative structures and processes for cultural experiences?

No Borders Here?
Cultural Hybrids, Nomads, Refugees

What economic, political and cultural imperatives drive the new nomadism? How is technology erasing traditional hierarchies and boundaries of cultural production, distribution and interpretation? How is the restless peripatetic creative class producing new dislocations, networks and communities?

Green World
Art for a Sustainable Ecological Consciousness

What new solutions to the ecological crisis are emerging from collaborations between science, culture and technology? How are green artists, designers and architects using developments in science, genetics and technology? What role does culture play on the brink of environmental catastrophe?

A wide ranging and provocative discussion, the conference will raise new questions, generate lively debate and offer possible answers to how we can anticipate and respond to the challenges and opportunities resulting from the fact that for now, and for the foreseeable future, 'the art world is flat.'