[-empyre-] Layers of ISEA2011: Corporate/Financial

Rodney Berry rodberry at gmail.com
Mon Sep 19 05:53:29 EST 2011

Yes, Australian artists are very nervous about corporate patronage but we
are completely comfortable with State patronage. :)

wish I was there, x-rays and all!

Rodney Berry (at the other end of the world in Hobart)

On Sun, Sep 18, 2011 at 11:36 PM, Cynthia Beth Rubin <cbr at cbrubin.net>wrote:

> Thanks Machiko and Tim
> in my discussion with Turkish artists have heard the same story as Machiko
> - that it is the wealthy families who are supporting the cultural events in
> Istanbul.  In this way, one wealthy family/business group supporting ISEA is
> not that different from another supporting the Biennale.   In my original
> post, I put forth the idea that the fact that one form of support may make
> some of us uncomfortable because it is less culturally familiar (lending a
> building for a meeting instead of giving cash) while another is more
> familiar (giving cash and building a warehouse-stype Biennale).
> Yes - I would like to hear directly from the Turkish artists,
> Cynthia
> On Sep 18, 2011, at 7:20 AM, Machiko Kusahara wrote:
> > Hi Nick and everyone, and thanks for Tim's great summary!
> >
> > Although I haven't finished Biennale (one warehouse done, the other I
> will go through today), there are in fact many things we have to think about
> regarding this year's ISEA and Biennale.
> > One thing we might need to think about is the social/cultural/historical
> issue behind the art scene and museums.
> >
> > Last year I came to Istanbul for the first time as a part of Japan Media
> Arts Festival in Istanbul. i was  invited by Pera Museum, and had a chance
> to exchange ideas with the director and a curator. The museum is rather new,
>  but the collection consists of historical paintings and scientific items.
>  Its galleries mostly show contemporary art. (I think it currently shows
> street art.) The director is an old friend of the family who owns the
> collection, and a successful businessman himself. He believes his business
> sense is a great asset in steering the museum into a contemporary, popular
> place for  younger generation.
> >
> > The museum is nice and working with them again will be more than welcome
> for me. Still it was rather striking for me to learn from them that  in
> Turkey cultural activities have been supported mostly by rich families and
> enterprises they run, rather than by the government or public organizations.
> At least that's their understanding. (Borusan may be the best example.) They
> regarded public museums as venues with shorter history and lower quality
> collections.
> > The "infrastructure of art" seems to be different from what is considered
> standard in "the West" since modern era. Art history is different in each
> culture.
> > This may at least partly explain why Biennale (which is contradictory to
> the idea of showing a collection) could be more experimental (in past years)
> or intriguing (this year with strong messages) in Istanbul.
> >
> > This is still a tentative and personal view of mine.  It will be great to
> hear from others, especially from Turkish artists!
> >
> > Machiko Kusahara
> >
> > On 2011/09/17, at 22:52, Nicholas Knouf wrote:
> >
> >> The issue is not one of exoticism.  In each of the binaries you mention
> >> below, I would chose neither: I'd rather have public transportation than
> >> cars, no x-ray machines and metal detectors (I could care less what they
> >> are wearing), non-profit conferences (ISEA is a non-profit, if I
> >> remember, and I have posted many times on this list regarding my
> >> distaste for ACM conferences), and a non-militarized presentation
> >> location.  Perhaps this is cultural insensitivity; on the other hand, I
> >> consider it necessary for the construction of a more sustainable and
> >> more just world, and I am unclear about how Mercedes and financial
> >> conglomerates contribute to that.
> >>
> >> Tim's description and comparison of things is quite apt; thanks for the
> >> detailed observations.  After
> >> returning from both the Modern and the Biennial I was struck by exactly
> >> the things Tim mentioned: the simultaneous lack of security (in the
> >> Biennial, at least) and the
> >> digital.  This contrast is something we ought to ponder carefully.
> >>
> >> I have immensely enjoyed my time in Istanbul, my concerns regarding ISEA
> >> notwithstanding.  From finding an anarchist-run cafe, to discussions
> >> with artists involved in the Gun project by Claudia Pederson and Arzu
> >> Ozkal, to the pleasure of good conversation and excellent food, Istanbul
> >> has been wonderful.  But this shouldn't prevent us from continuing our
> >> discussion of the problematics of ISEA this year and its resonances (or
> not) with the Biennial and/or global capital.
> >>
> >> nick
> >>
> >>
> >> On Sat, 17 Sep 2011, Cynthia Beth Rubin wrote:
> >>
> >>> HI Nick and all
> >>> Thanks for posting and for opening up the discussion to include the
> layers
> >>> of meaning of simply being here. Thinking of the experience itself as
> >>> layered, I find your description of the experience of being in Turkey
> to be
> >>> more problematic than the actual experience.
> >>> We are in another culture.  Think about the semotics of the elements of
> this
> >>> experience.
> >>> We are in a culture in which the expectation is that office workers and
> >>> staff members wear "business attire".  Many of the people guiding us
> around
> >>> are students.  You might be more comfortable with the student
> volunteers at
> >>> SIGGRAPH and other North American conferences, who dress in the right
> >>> balance of grunge and hip, but you are not in that culture.  You might
> >>> prefer security screeners who wear ordinary street clothes.  But that
> is not
> >>> done here. We are in Turkey.
> >>> We are also in a culture in which business contributions do not get
> filtered
> >>> through a heavily bureaucratic government system of taxes and then
> metered
> >>> out by a minister of culture, or one in which corporate sponsorship is
> >>> filtered through foundations which are regulated for conflict of
> interest.
> >>> Sabanci Holding donated the use of their meeting center for ISEA, and
> since
> >>> we are in Turkey, we may take note of the way in which funds for
> academic
> >>> "non-profits"  reach their destination.
> >>> We are in a culture in which driving a Mercedes is an important sense
> of
> >>> pride, and where the semiotical meaning of driving the equivalent of a
> >>> Toyota Prius might be very different from what it is elsewhere.
> >>> I am not there yet in my learning about and understanding of Turkish
> >>> culture.  I do find it interesting that so many people consider
> >>> "contemporary" and "modern" to be a full adaptation of global
> mainstream
> >>> culture. We come here looking for difference in the bazars, the
> historic
> >>> mosques, the food.  But when we find difference in modes of dress, in
> what
> >>> is considered the best way to fund academia, or in how successful
> business
> >>> people choose to spend their money, we feel uncomfortable.
> >>> Do Turkish cultural differences have to stay on the exotic side?
> >>> best wishes,
> >>> Cynthia
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> >
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Rodney Berry rodberry.net
Social Media: you might look for me at www.isolatr.com
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