Saturday, June 28, 2008

Intercultural Dialogue: Utopias and Situations

Conference / Debate
25 - 26 June 2008
Palais du Rhin, Strasbourg

On the occasion of the Conference on “Intercultural Dialogue : utopias and situations”, to be held in the Palais du Rhin by courtesy of the Alsace Regional Department for Cultural Affairs (DRAC) and with the support of the Council of Europe and the Strasbourg Italian Cultural Institute, Michelangelo Pistoletto will present his scheme to create a Mediterranean Cultural Parliament. The presentation will take place around his artwork entitled “Love Difference Table”, a mirror-table in the shape of the Mediterranean. For several years the Italian artist has been working on art co-operation and the means deployed to implement this particular way of helping European citizens face their social difficulties in different political situations.
Three continents meet together around the Mediterranean Sea, an area of historical mingling and cultural diversity but also the scene of conflicts. The specialists attending the conference will put forward their various assessments and proposals for facilitating the movement of artists between the Meditarranean countries and those of Europe, while improving working conditions through concrete projects involving sustainable development, respect for minorities and cultural specificities and the promotion of dialogue between people by means of art exchanges.

The debates, to be introduced by specialists in cultural activities, from the private and public sectors and European institutions, as well as artists themselves, will endeavour to define the objectives and means of intercultural dialogue in Europe, and more particularly around the Mediterranean, and to put forward new proposals for art and cultural projects based on direct co-operation between organisational structures at all levels and artists.

The debates will be chaired by Daniel Riot, journalist and director of RELATIO, a website specializing in European affairs.

Two-way French-English interpretation will be provided for the entire proceedings taking place in the meeting room of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhin, in the Palais du Rhin.
Palais du Rhin 2 place de la République, 67000 Strasbourg


Before my statement for this forum, I would like to make some remarks on the last moments of the discussion:
Beginning of the 20th century newspapers in over 40 languages were being published. Now, the status quo bans the use of foreign words…Neo-conservatism and neo-nationalism is more present than ever…
· When we talk about culture industry in non-EU territories, we should talk with the names of the cities and not countries.
· The monthly salary of the coach of the national soccer team is 75.000 EURO and he is a pure nationalist. He might be the most powerful person in the eyes of the millions of people. He and his soccer players have no affinity to art and culture. My salary as the visual arts director for Istanbul 2010 is 2000 EURO. The yearly turnover of art in Turkey is 10 million USD including the auctions; and only 2 million of this is related to contemporary art; most of it is being used by corporate art and culture institutions for branding strategies.
· I closed the exhibition space in 2000 and worked in mobility. Last year I was offered a space. I opened again a space with my two colleges with the ambition to resist the corporate culture monopolies that is determining the art and art making in Istanbul. It is an alternative space.

It is always difficult to sum up the developments in art scenes and come up with a definite panorama and to determine the tools of moving forward. The most definite observation is that the content and form of art and art making has changed since the beginning of the 90’s.

The change is very much related to the socio-political and ideological alterations. Alterations and not radical transformations because of the emergence of the one-time political ideologies: Re-nationalization, neo-liberal fundamentalism, re-forming of a lost political territory by being driven by the deterritorializing violence of Integrated World Capitalism (Bourriaud, 101).

While the gradual evaporation of the most solid factor, namely the nation state ideology is being replaced by a pious national ideology, in tune with the neo-liberal freedom and permissiveness, the micro-level socio-political issues of local cultures or marginal cultures float up. These alterations were reflected into the art making as completely free and unrestricted declarations of macro or micro-level individual statements through art works.

As most of the art works of today are far from being hermetic and metaphorical – because they are mostly sociology and documentation based, one can say that art making is serving as a tool of neo-anarchist attitude and proclamation. Evidently this attitude owes its force to the absence of the international market interests in the region, because art market is also manipulating the aesthetics and content of the works that represent non-Europe as Souad indicated this morning.

The dissident individual, the contemporary artist of emerging or developing democracies utilize art making in order to have a visible presence within the socio-political panorama of his/her territory. However, this panorama is on one side shadowed by the politicians and bureaucrats and on the other side by the business people who own the financial resources but in general are not so interested in contemporary art production. The other shadow is: In Turkey advertisement and the media is extremely influential in manipulating the public opinion; every cultural event has to make itself visible in the billboards and the media. This opens for the artist a new arena of struggle. 

In the underdeveloped local art markets of the region, the artists are exposed to make extra efforts for their economic welfare. In most of the countries around Turkey the economies are in difficulties and the infrastructures of culture industries are absent or inadequate; or the official culture visualizations and the private one’s do not go together. The art making in most of these countries have been saved by the EU funds and partnerships in the last decade.

Even if the block-buster exhibitions are full of photography and video works, painting is still the most demanded artwork in the local art market, and artists are keen to show their painting skills, because painting- or the handmade art work- is a sign for the public whether the artist is professional or not. Curating has played a great role; even if it is not an established profession yet.

Today’s young generation is reflecting its ideas, concepts, interpretations, criticism mainly through painting, photography and video, but also through artistic and cultural events which they organize particularly without a curating hand in it. Curating as a profession is not yet in demand; a young generation of art managers, culture theorists and curators will be visible only then when the necessary infrastructures (museums, art centres, art institutions) with independent administrations will be established.

Throughout the 90’s the urgency of the artist was “identity” in political, ethnic and gender-oriented locations with references to their origins, traditions or geographical, socio-political state of belonging. Since 2000, while a group of artists of Turkey are running after more global pursuits, producing works for international curators and audiences by following the prevalent concept, form and strategy trends, another group is still dealing with the local issues and problems. Sometimes, the artworks look like newspaper headlines with striking photography or like propaganda posters that deal with daily local politics.

Photography with all its possibilities of true or false representations, with its illusive appearances or with its possibilities of monumentality is being utilized by almost all artists. Documentary photography is the basis of socio-political artworks as well. Yet, the ambiguous issue in photography works is the relation of the image to the conceptual framework of the artist’s manifestation, or the already worldwide consumed criteria that are repetitively being employed for the impact of the photographic image. Convincing and persuasive photography work comes with its theoretical and philosophical background which can only be mapped out in the expanded oeuvre of the artist.

Regional exhibitions or exhibitions that unite artists from neighboring countries that have past and present political and cultural relations are no doubt a fertile soil for new productions and events. As together with Magda Guruli I was making the first comprehensive show of Georgian artist in Istanbul, during the 10th Istanbul Biennale, I indicated that we have to admit the weakness and lack of communication and knowledge in the relationship between the culture and art worlds of Turkey and those of the Soviet world during the Cold War period and that presently we (mostly curators and museum directors) are making a special effort to fill the vacuum created by the apathy between 1950-1990 via cultural and artistic activities.

The same with Middle East; the networking started late 90’s and it is too early to expect solid results.

In the 90’s, when the discovery of the other was the fundamental quest, West European curators and museum directors have united the artists of East Europe, Balkans, Greece and Turkey in eclectic group shows. Looking back to those exhibitions, there is no doubt that they have motivated the artists to democratic openness and the local art scenes to acknowledge international criteria. The encounter of the artists of the onetime polarized cultures created a new synergy in transforming the theoretical, philosophical and conceptual fundaments of contemporary art. The macro-events have prepared the field for in depth encounters or i.e. the empty parts of the macro-picture can only be embroidered meticulously through a more profound collaboration.

The existing network should be sustainable; we have to continue.

Beral Madra © 25 June 2008

International Festival of Contemporary Art
Futuro Presente/Present Continuous
Faenza, from 23 to 25 May 2008

The Festival
Three days dedicated to present-day art and the directions in which it is developing, in the company of artists, critics, curators and the entire sphere of professionals, scholars and opinion leaders that gravitate around the international contemporary art system.
The city of Faenza will be hosting events, round tables, debates and workshops conceived not just for those directly involved and the ever-increasing fans of contemporary art, but also as a means of bringing art closer to the public at large.

The city
The initiative forms part of the project entitled “Ideas in motion- Faenza towards the evolved cultural district”, promoted by the Municipality of Faenza and supported by local cultural organisations, under the scientific guidance of Pier Luigi Sacco. With this Festival and many other projects, the city is proposing its candidature as the first Italian case in which the integrated development model of the evolved cultural district is actually applied.

The programme

Forum: Art and Curatorial Schools, Next Step
The recent development of the contemporary art system is leading to an increasing demand for training of the artistic professions. It poses a series of questions concerning their practices, training standards and networking at an international level.
Speakers: Okwui Enwezor (San Francisco Art Institute), Larry Rinder (California College of the Arts), Robert Storr (Yale University School of Art), Maria Lind (Centre for Curatorial Studies at Bard College), Marco de Michelis (IUAV).*

Contemporary art is producing ever-greater hybrid crosses with architecture, design and fashion. The conversations from the "Contaminations" cycle set out to examine its meaning and critical areas, reflecting on future developments of this dialogue between the various disciplines.
Speakers: Achille Bonito Oliva (art critic), Stefano Boeri (Abitare), Maria Luisa Frisa (IUAV), Antonio Marras (stylist), Cristiano Seganfredo (Fuori Biennial), Mathieu Mercier (artist).*

Museums: projects and perspectives
Contemporary art museums are complex organisations in which cultural programming issues intermingle with those of its relationship with the surrounding area, management strategies and the formation of international collaboration networks.
Speakers: Gerald Matt (Kunsthalle Wien), Udo Kittelmann (MMK Frankfurt), Giacinto Di Pientrantonio (GAMeC, Bergamo), Danilo Eccher (Macro, Roma), Eduardo Cycelin (Madre, Naples), Iwona Blazwick (Whitechapel, London), Angela Vettese (Civic Gallery of Modena), Carlos Basualdo (Philadelphia Museum of Art).*

Coming Shows
A series of conferences that provides a glimpse of the highlights of the international cultural programme scheduled for the coming year. The direct protagonists will explain their project ideas in the course of the event.
Speakers: Hedwig Fijen (Manifesta), Fabio Cavallucci (Civic Gallery, Trento), Angela Vettese (Civic Gallery of Modena), Okwui Enwezor (Biennial of Gwuangju), Francesco Bonami (MCA, Chicago), Iwona Blazwick (Whitechapel), Massimiliano Gioni (New Museum, New York).*

New horizons for the evolved cultural district
In Italy, the relationship between contemporary art and the local area is becoming increasingly close, and involves a wide variety of individuals. To what extent can a contemporary art museum become the protagonist of a project for local development that focuses on the knowledge-based economy?
Speakers: Pier Luigi Sacco (IUAV), Julia Draganovic (PAN, Naples), Marco Pierini (Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena), Ludovico Pratesi (Pescheria Centre for Visual Arts, Pesaro).*

Italian entrepreneurs in contemporary art: projects and perspectives
Italy is making its mark on the international scene with its ability to involve businesses in the artistic field, not so much as suppliers of resources but as cultural operators with their own strategy. This forum provides a view of some of the most innovative and interesting experiences of recent years.
Speakers: Gianluca Winkler (Pirelli RE), Maria Paoletti Masini (Teseco), Gail Cochrane (Spinola Banna Foundation, Banna di Poirino).*

To be made
Some of the greatest protagonists of the artistic scene of our times tell their story in a conversation on their future projects, with curators and professionals of international standing.
Speakers: Marjetica Potrc (artist), Gabi Scardi (curator), Agnes Kohlmeyer (IUAV), Germano Celant (Prada Foundation).*

Today’s cultural policies are a pivotal element of the contemporary art system, both from the point of view of the disbursement of funds and of the creation of new containers, the development of new commissioning models, and interaction with other cultural supply sectors.
Speakers: Flavio Albanese (Domus), Aneta Szylak (Wyspa, Gdansk), Marketta Seppala (Frame, Helsinki), Chus Martinez (Frankfurter Kunstverein), Laura Capel Tatjer (Institut d'EstudisTerritorialsUniversitat Pompeu Fabra / Generalitat de Catalunya).*

Art incorporated: Looking Ahead
The commercial dimension of art has an increasingly complex role to play which is not confined to mediation between artist and collector; rather it is consolidating its position as a structured entity with ambitious plans that almost compete with those of the cultural institutions and large-scale exhibitions.
Speakers: Marko Stamenkovic (curator), Beral Madra (curator), Viktor Misiano (curator), Branko Franceschi (Rijeka Museum of modern and contemporary art), Minhea Mircan (Mnac, Bucharest) Barnabas Bencsik (Acax, Budapest), Marina Sorbello (uqbar, Berlin), Alexis Hubshman (Scope Art Fair), Jonathan Watkins (Ikon Gallery, Birmingham), Roberto Pinto (curator).*

Coffee Table discussion: an overview of young Italian art, by Alberto Garutti
Alberto Garutti, one of the key figures of the dialogue with the most recent generation of Italian artists, discusses the prospects and critical areas of the young Italian scene of recent years with them.

Forum: Futuro Presente/ Present Continuous, projects and perspectives
A collection of comparative statements underscore the emerging issues and most delicate aspects on which the curatorial world of contemporary art is focusing.
Speakers: T.J. Demos (University College London), Pamela Lee (Stanford University, Stanford - CA), Alexander Alberro (University of Florida).*

Coffee Table Discussion: Magazines
What is the role of specialist magazines today in diffusing, promoting and constructing contemporary art? What position do they play in the market? Italian and foreign entities compare notes and outline the prospects for the sector’s publishing wing.
Speakers: Simona Vendrame (Tema Celeste), Michele Robecchi (Contemporary Art Magazine, London).*

Institutional contributions
The relationship between public and private and the role of institutions in supporting young artists and promoting contemporary art in Italy and abroad: these are the issues to be tackled by the directors of institutions attempting to get to grips with enhancing artistic creativity, and the representatives of the regional and local authorities which include present-day art in their cultural policies.
Speakers: Pio Baldi (DARC), Fiorenzo Alfieri (Gai).*

Collateral Initiatives
In accordance with the wider project entitled “Ideas in motion - Faenza towards the evolved cultural district”, of which the Festival forms a part, the local cultural organisations will be participating in an intense programme of initiatives scheduled throughout the city.

From curatorial theories to curatorial practices

Coming from a country where recently an Italian artist Pippa Bacca was brutally killed, I would like to express my grief if it has a meaning at all.

Pippa Bacca’s death opened the discussion about how much contemporary art is existing outside of Istanbul. Contemporary art is confined to three districts of Istanbul; therefore curating in Turkey now must be redefined. It is evident that contemporary art should be transmitted to the other 35 districts and to the 79 cities in Turkey. A gigantic task awaits the next generation curators. My generation and the generation of the 90’s were too much involved in getting Istanbul into the international map. Now, it is the hot spot, gravity center or the trendiest
place! However the cityscape with its ambiguous components of history, modernism and postmodernism is shadowing the contemporary art production, so that the foreign eyes cannot see the knotty realities.

My curatorial venture since 1987 can be assessed in three stages: the introduction of curatorial theory and practice to the art scene of Istanbul; the international encounter through exhibitions; and drifting apart from conventional curating and quest for new ways of exhibiting.

In the 80’s, within the context of the periphery curating was a distant model of making exhibitions in relation to the architectural and socio-political space. However, the exhibitions launched in historical buildings in the 1st and 2nd Biennale of Istanbul contributed to the concept and the aesthetics initiated by Harald Szeemann. The theory and the practice were austerely attuned.

In the 90’s Istanbul art scene adopted itself to the requirements of the globalization trends and step by step the curator’s subjective interpretation and choice became the main endeavor in exhibition making. The sterile content of the exhibitions changed to a hybridized substance with an intention to divert the viewers’ attention to the momentum of the artwork rather than to the process and sustainability of the artwork. The theory, with the support of striking titles elaborated the showiness of the exhibition.

In the last decade curating turned away from its previous glittering course, became an almost ruthless mediation/intervention within the neo-liberal culture industry. Utilizing the effect of multi-culti artworks from different modernities and systems the exhibitions became a platform of antinomy between the theory and practice. As a consequence curating is under continuous scrutiny about its real intentions and alternatives. Respect and favor to the artist’s ambitions and intentions spring up.

Curating is a very “cool” profession; yet in its deep center it is romantic. There is always a desire of making dreams become reality, emphasize what is human, escape the dogmas of the art world, and use the art as the point of focus rather as distraction.

In this sense, even if the current art market and job trends pushes the goals of the conscientious curator to the corner, curating today – at least in the region where I am operating- willingly or unwillingly presents ways of escape from the dogmas, ways of transporting art from one community to the other, even if there are political and geographical obstacles, ways of infiltrating into the crevices of electronic media.

For EU curators Istanbul art and culture scene is still a field of discovery of not only artists and art works, but also collectors, sponsors and partners. What they discover in the art making is of contradictory character: they discover that the appearance and the being are not the same; that the existing infrastructure is mainly misguided and mismanaged -even if there are some exceptions-; that the official cultural politics is not updated; that the Istanbul art scene stands on the shoulders of artists and idealistic individuals; that Istanbul itself is a stage of a surrealist play.

The current socio-political-economic context based on the continuous crises generated by the clash of modernist ideologies with the ideologies of global capitalism, the clash of nation state ideology with the consumer individualism is the most fertile aspiration field for contemporary art; which is a paradox when we consider that the country and the people suffer from these dilemmas. Even the foreign curators and artists benefit from this ambiguous context.

Beral Madra, March 2008

Forum Skopje
„A Soul for Europe”
Vom 4. bis 6. April 2008 trafen Akteure aus Kultur, Wirtschaft und Zivilgesellschaft mit Vertretern aus der Politik in der Crystal Hall des mazedonischen Parlaments zusammen.

ThemenNeue Formen der Kooperation zwischen Politik und ZivilgesellschaftKultur als Motor für die Entwicklung EuropasEuropäische Verantwortung und Herausforderungen für lokale und regionale AkteureKulturelle Vielfalt und soziale Kohäsion in Südosteuropa - Trends und PolitikenZu den Teilnehmern gehörten Mitglieder des Europäischen und des Mazedonischen Parlaments, darunter Doris Pack und Jelko Kacin, Vertreter der Europäischen Kommission, der Präsident des mazedonischen Parlaments, Ljubisa Georgievski, die Staatssekretärin für Kultur Elisabeta Kancevska Milevska, Mitglieder des Mazedonischen Parlaments, darunter Flora Kadriu und Vasko Shutarov, die Schauspielerin Labina Mitevska, der Koordinator des Stabilitätspakts für Südosteuropa Erhard Busek und dessen Direktorin Marijana Grandits, sowie zahlreiche zivilgesellschaftliche Akteure aus ganz Europa.


Das Forum Skopje – „A Soul for Europe“ wurde organisiert der Europäischen Bewegung Mazedonien und der zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisation Public Room Mazedonien in Zusammenarbeit mit der Initiative „Europa eine Seele geben“ und der Felix Meritis Stiftung Amsterdam.

PartnerAußenministerium der Republik Mazedonien, Kulturministerium der Republik Mazedonien, Sekretariat für europäische Angelegenheiten Mazedonien, Stadt Skopje, Post Mazedonien, Vertretung der Europäischen Kommission in Mazedonien, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Skopje, Ramkovski Foundation Skopje,, MAT, Italienische Botschaft Skopje, SECI.
refereto the website:


B2C = B2B? Business to Culture = Business to Business?
An ambiguous formula!
Adoption of culture as base for creation of new business trends;
Paving the highway Culture Business;
Added value and support cooperationMutual benefits;
Instruments to encourage people active in the cultural sector to acquire managerial and entrepreneurial skills;
Help the business world develop a consciousness for the potential of development of the cultural sector
And ambitious goals!
The relation of arts and culture to business consists of many layers. From the self-employment and solidarity in micro capitalist artists initiatives to the total hegemonic economy politics of the corporations.The formula B2C = B2B has many negotiations and conditions of interaction in each layer.The most crucial issue in the balance of this formula is to change the image problem of the arts and culture productions when viewed by most businesses.Conventionally arts and culture are either seen as the suitable decoration for the boardroom or as part of some attractive factor of a company’s corporate social responsibility agenda. They are rarely seen as a source of potentially hard edged interventions to change the way a company works, thinks and performs.
Quoting Lucrezia de Domizio Durini, in an essay written for September-October 1988 issue of the one time art magazine Contemporanea.•“…I saw the figure of Mr. X with increasing clarity: the drawn face, the satisfied expression. I saw him seated in his manager’s armchair, across from the table where he confronts the most arduous situations in such a way that they are advantageously overcome. The place behind that table represents the source of power. Every time I am forced to sit in front of him, he seems to rob me of something secret, something he covets for his own: the movement of my thoughts. •….His position was clear. Mr. X would never sit at the roundtable where for years Eric Fromm and Joseph Beuys, Jacques Lacan and Martin Luther king had seats, and where the art and culture of the twentieth century was kept alive!
I always remember this paragraph of the essay when I have to present a project to a potential sponsor, who most of the time is a manager of a multinational company.Adorno has formulated our caution towards the business men:“In our age the objective social tendency is incarnate in the hidden subjective purposes of company directors, the foremost among whom are in the most powerful sectors of industry steel, petroleum, electricity, and chemicals.”Twenty years ago the relationship between the business world and the cultural experts was much more complicated and strained than today. Even though the art movements such as Fluxus, Land Art, happenings were advocating the involvement of large public, arts and culture was still a field for the privileged and was confined into the sterile museums. For the business world arts and culture was classified into “leisure and luxury”, rather than into “market and commodity”.He was the bridge between Adorno’s highly cynical culture industry criticism and global culture industry conditions of today.
Concerning the above mentioned ambitious goals Warhol, in his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975) wrote:"Business art is the step that comes after Art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist. After I did the thing called 'art' or whatever it's called, I went into business art. I wanted to be an Art Businessman or a Business Artist. Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art."
Today, the cultural operators may not feel like Lucrezia Domizio Durini and me, when they meet business men, managers and directors of companies. Warhol’s statements and attitude bestowed them with a rose garden without thorns.They would feel highly cool and maybe overconfident; because the distribution of arts and culture products of all kinds provide a worldwide audience, the art market is the safest market and practically every industry has an arts-related product or event.The latest advertisement of Ford Focus cars is a good example; an orchestra plays with instruments made of Ford car parts.
However, the same example justifies Adorno’s statement:"Culture is a paradoxical commodity. So completely is it subject to the law of exchange that it is no longer exchanged; it is so blindly consumed in use that it can no longer be used. Therefore it amalgamates with advertising. The more meaningless the latter seems to be under a monopoly, the more omnipotent it becomes. The motives are markedly economic. One could certainly live without the culture industry; therefore it necessarily creates too much satiation and apathy."
•The potential for the art market of this century is rapidly developing not only with the ever-growing market value of the so-called “modern and post-modern masterpieces”, but also through the continuous movement of artists and art goods and networking. The creative people who are able to conceive and produce the images, create performances, sounds and music, the theoreticians who write the texts which nourish this culture and art market are human commodities that control the plexus of knowledge.
•The statistics in EU and USA show how the arts have become an essential part of their economy. Commodities that are arts related, such as painting, sculpture, photography, films, books, records, documentaries, design and computer generated images and sounds, are all major players in international markets.
•Consequently, all nations are re-adjusting or will re-form their culture industries and policies according to the requirements of this global cultural market that even determines the contents, trends and practical parameters of these products.I don’t want to sound too optimistic, but today, arts and culture products determine the success in the global economic competition and necessitate communication and information exchange that can exploit the boundaries between the economical, political, religious and ethnic polarities of the world. The sustainability and economic value of arts and culture products display a significant guideline for democratic processes. The only obstacle in front of this positive exploitation seems to be the religious dogmas and various fundamentalisms.Even if the culture industry represents a very important part of the global economy, in the region I am coming from this is not yet an achievement that can gratify a real transformation, despite some remarkable developments in re-forming the state controlled cultural infrastructures and establishing private ones, in promoting arts and culture towards an international recognition and in investing into the creative individual.Even if the Dubai Art Fair (19-22 March) has organized a highly intensive forum with established dissident artists from the Western world (such as Lawrence Weiner, Daniel Buren)The topic was: Art Patronage in the Business Age: Working with CorporationsCompanies working with artists and art institutions; creating art projects; strategic partnerships with museums; working with artists for corporate research and development.Organizers of the first Gulf Fair being held in Dubai have come across a tricky problem. As part of Dubai's efforts to brand itself as a centre for art and commerce, the fair was delighted when high-profile galleries such as White Cube, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Max Ling and Albion agreed to take part. But things got a bit sticky when all participating galleries - whose clients include Tracey Emin and Jeff Koons - were asked to only show art that was appropriate to display in an Islamic state. (March 2007)

Today, we sum up and speak rather of Business of Culture which encompasses all art productions and their global markets. It can address any scale of business. The clients includes artists, art experts, the general public, the arts and heritage councils, civic authorities, educational institutions, festivals, galleries, orchestras, museums, film and media, arts centers, theatres, leisure companies, cultural regeneration agencies and the creative and tourism industries.

Yet, this vibrant business of culture today confronts three key troubles:
The global and the local: the tension between global ideas and the power and authority of local/national cultures forms one trouble. The objective of bridging these two contradictory positions needs skill and clever strategies
Cultural difference: cultural difference as an obstacle to communication provides the second trouble, and the objective here is to examine ways, in which difference is freely manifested.
Different Modernities: the third trouble focuses on the levels of modernity across cultures. It is a political and cultural commitment to consider different stages of tradition and history versus ideas of modernity and post-modernity. Here the objective is to identify this inevitable difference and, through that process, to begin the negotiations that lead to greater understanding.

There is always art criticism on art market, which is connected to the criticism of capitalism. The art market with its mega art fairs are now strongly manipulated by dealers and collectors (private or corporate). This profitable business platform is at the same time a social platform and social communication for artists, which most of time is a selection platform that includes or excludes them. Usually the ones who are excluded attack polemically the art business system, but many established artists also tackle the art-business system with their works.
Paradox is that they do not acknowledge the discrepancy between their financial success and the system criticism. Here the omnipresence of the art-business and the radical forms of art making confront each other, but it creates a fertile field of free expression and debate…
In this dilemma, art is considered as the other capital, which embodies the social values, energies and forces.Some may think that within the mechanisms of the global capitalist economy this other capital should be considered to be lost. But everyday we witness new initiatives, blissful cases of new art production which take care of this loss. Namely the artists who are still working on the margins of the mainstream culture business maintain and support the ideologies and avantgard function of art in the form of the Dada and Fluxus aesthetic.
This other capital seems to be inexhaustible.
©Beral Madra, 5 April 2008