Think Differently.

Anita Tieleman

My friend Binnie Brennan sent me this link about a new way of bringing art to the people.

Lars Kaiser is a 35-year-old artist from Potsdam, Germany, near Berlin. He came up with the unique idea to put small art samples into vending machines so anyone can buy a piece of art any time of the day or night. Even Kaiser’s vending machines have been uniquely decorated to attract attention to the artsy wares inside. There are now about 100 of these machines found in bars, public buildings and on outside walls across Germany. Back in the 1960’s and ’70’s these vending machines sold condoms, gum or cigarettes, but have been refurbished to sell the artwork of around 140 professional artists now.

The Big Picture-Cultural Policy

tinou bao

Say we wanted to start from scratch.

How would we build a neighborhood, city, metropolitan area, state, country, world where the arts permeated the place?

Can we think bigger than a non-profit organization, or even an arts council?

How do we work on the cultural policy and urban planning level?

Can we sit the artists side by side with the policy makers and the planners from the first meeting?

What might things look like then?

Some links to peruse:

The Motherlode – Compendium, a country by country look at cultural policy in Europe.  You could write a dissertatation on the stuff in this site.

Look just a little bit under the surface there and you can check out:

National Cultural Canons as a Cultural Policy Response to Globalisation? (Does Portland have a cultural canon?  That would sure be  one way to establish a “Portland Sound”)

Interested in decentralization as a theme in Governmental policy?  See Norway ” During the 1970s major efforts were made to decentralise the cultural policy and administration system in Norway. Cultural affairs committees were established in most municipalities, and the municipal authorities gradually appointed directors and secretaries of cultural affairs. A similar system was developed at the county level and new grant schemes were introduced. In this way, substantial responsibilities were decentralized in order to bring decision-making closer to the general population.”

Could that work in the states?

Or how about the way France went about it.

I like the term “devolution” to describe making smaller, more purpose-driven agencies out of big conglomerated ones.

There’s more here I’m sure, but this seems like a good place to start digging.

Why business leaders should act more like artists

Photo by Terry Ballard

So you’ve got Seth Godin in his bestselling business book “Linchpin” preaching that to succeed in the world today, everyone must be an artist.

“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

What makes someone an artist? I don’t think it has anything to do with a paintbrush. There are painters who follow the numbers, or paint billboards, or work in a small village in China, painting reproductions. These folks, while swell people, aren’t artists. On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin was an artist, beyond a doubt. So is Jonathan Ive, who designed the iPod. You can be an artist who works with oil paint or marble, sure. But there are artists who worked with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.”

And here’s is a post from the Harvard Business Review

http://blogs.hbr.org/maeda/2009/12/why-business-leaders-should-ac.html

So the gauntlet has been thrown.

What do you think, you business majors out there?

Sustainability + Music: Let the Conversation Begin

In anticipation of the launch of our PSU Sustainability + Music Lecture Series, I am aiming to put up at least one post a day of thoughts, ideas, conversations and questions that have come up in my exploration of this concept over the past three years.

The questions are many. There are also a number of intriguing and thought-provoking ideas circulating in the blogosphere.  Numerous seeds for enriching conversations.

The thing about sustainability is that people use the word to mean many things.  At its simplest is the conversation about how to make music- and by that people usually mean the various activities pursued by the music industry-green.  So you have websites like  http://www.greenmusicalliance.org/.  Is this endeavor just feel-good environmentalism,  a marketing platform for celebs and pop stars? or is there more to it?

The first post I ever bookmarked on this topic asked the question what does Sustainability in the Arts look like?  The blogger Mark Robinson was looking at the issue from an arts administration point of view. But whole field is built on top of art the try to midwife it without strangulation through the birth canal of market capitalism.   Is change coming from that sector really going to be effective?

Or is the system broken?  When we talk about music (or the arts) from an economic perspective as Ian David Moss does in his post on arts-and-sustainability, Is the game just changing underneath us and we need to come up with a new paradigm for what it means to be “an artist” what it means to have “a career”  etc?

Or may the model is wrong.  As our first lecturer Jeff Titon states in his Music & Sustainability blog,.  Maybe we would be better served by thinking of music in as an ecology rather than an economy

There is some food for thought.  Let’s see where it goes.

“Nature’s Economy”

Here is an excerpt from a wonderful post by Jeff Todd Titon, ethnomusicologist , folklorist, musician, professor of ethnomusicology at Brown University.  His blog is called ‘Sustainable Music.  Find it here

http://sustainablemusic.blogspot.com/

The post is a wonderful discussion about the nature of sustainability in relation to the arts.  Of many interesting ideas, what sticks out for me is the following”

…an economics of sustainability that follows the path of the natural world: diverse, interconnected, appropriate in size, and looked after by humans who consider themselves caretakers, or stewards, not owners. Our efforts at cultural conservation result in better best practices when we think of sustainability in these terms rather than in the terms of the economists. Following this construction of nature we emphasize stewardship, not ownership; performance and community, not product and commodity; human rights, not property rights; and not only human rights but the rights of all living creatures. An ecology or an economy dependent on continuous growth must fail.

How does this change our models in the arts world?