|Robert Adrian on Wed, 11 Mar 1998 23:57:10 +0100 (MET)
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|Re: <nettime> funding for the arts etc.
As a, more or less, passive observer of the debate around various models of "Artists' Use of Tcomm" (a slightly broader definition than web. or net.art) and the structural/funding experiments I would like add a few remarks to the discussion. The argument about "state/public" funding vs. "private/corporate" funding is very different in the U.S. than it is in Canada, Australia or most parts of Europe (I am unfamiliar with the situation in other parts of the world). In Europe for instance, there are generally Culture Ministries with the task of supporting the arts. Most of the money tends to go into the traditional arts with a few alibi contributions to "new media". The arguments are therefore more about how the existing funds are to be distributed than about public vs private sponsorship. While in the present neo-liberal climate there is a tendency to look to the U.S.American model of tax-breaks for private or corporate sponsors, very few artists in Europe could be persuaded that a self-supporting (corporate) stucture would be a viable long-term solution without some sort of public funding. The Adaweb (& 'lectronic minds) saga tends to reinforce this view. With reference to the crack about this being the 90s and not the 60s it would be more meaningful to say that this is the 90s and not the 80s. The art market gold-rush of the 80s is over and the belief that the arts can be supported by Reagan/Thatcher style trickle-down methods is easliy as inappropriate to the present situation as a call to the 60s barricades. The problem for many of the critics of Adaweb was that it often seemed to be trying to create a virtual 80s SoHo on the web - BIG art from BIG names in the BIG apple - a recentralisation of the dispersed web environment on lower Manhatten. It was a good effort but it didn't to do the trick either - the boardroom moguls were unimpressed and pulled the plug. The lessons? 1. Importing traditional art heroes into the network environment is interesting but not viable in the long run, at least not in terms of corporate support structures. 2. Public funding agencies and culture ministries have an obligation to distribute funds to arts projects and artists. Corporations have an obligation to provide their shareholders with a profit. Just as the internet itself was entirely developed by public funding - unimpeded by "bottom-line" inhibitions - the creation of an environment supportive of creative uses of the network will have to come about by similar - but not neccessarily indentical - means. Any other expectation can only be naive. ----- ps. There is another little "ideological" problem with the ugly references to "the state" and "state funding". In the end the state is us and the "state funding" is from tax money. I'm a taxpayer ... so are all of the other contributors to this debate. --- # distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: email@example.com and "info nettime-l" in the msg body # URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/ contact: firstname.lastname@example.org