For this years 17th annual Subtle Technologies Festival in Toronto, the lineup of projects in art and technology were featured under the theme of Open Culture: Participatory Practices in Art and Science. Topics of conversation, symposium titles and artworks focused on publicly engaged practices that respond to an ecological environment, cultural engagement, political conflict or […]
This is the third installment of our tête-a-tête with Cultural Planner and artist Kwende Kefenste.
My catchy title might betray what I would like to be a more constructive discussion. Kwende has usefully unpacked the crossroads of cultural planning and creative city branding for us to consider the creative class concept in a wider context. What this broader view highlighted to me was more about the general nature of theoretical analysis, rather than specific issues with Richard Florida. Theories about the city, like Florida’s (or Jane Jacobs/Ebenezer Howard/Le Corbusier/…), are extremely important as innovative filters for understanding a complex world. However, the world we act in is not a theoretical framework. The gulf between theory and reality is wide and challenging to cross. Messy reality is filled with tension and compromise of all kinds. What I would like to talk about in this post is navigating the reality of a specific place; the role of art in guiding that navigation, and most precisely the role of cultural organizations and cultural practitioners building those routes with the people of that place.
A great conversation is unfolding in the city of Ottawa. The municipal government, local bloggers, culture institutions like Galerie SAW Gallery, social innovation centers and even major media outlets have all endeavoured to help weather a perceived cultural adolescence in the city. What are we? and what can we become? are key questions in growth and development, and we are hoping to add our voice to the dynamic conversation.