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David Cross of Cornford and Cross writes on the RSA Arts & Ecology website today about how he believes the rules of artistic engagement are about to change :

David Cross of Cornford and Cross writes on the RSA Arts & Ecology website today about how he believes the rules of artistic engagement are about to change :

As producers of visual culture, our moments of autonomy can be frustratingly elusive. We must inform and persuade, and appeal to both reason and emotion if we are to replace passive spectatorship with conscious action. CONTEMPORARY ART SHOULD TEST CONCEPTS, ASSUMPTIONS AND BOUNDARIESBut in the market, attention is finite, and the demands on our audiences’ time are many. Even our most original and radical messages are assembled from borrowed fragments and framed by preconceptions. To be meaningful, they must be palatable to audiences accustomed to more familiar narratives.

Following established procedures can bring acceptance, and conforming to received ideas is often well rewarded. But now the cheap oil is gone and the climate is badly damaged; we are entering a new era. Though the nature of the coming risks cannot be exactly predicted, a safe bet is that their reach, scale and variety will demand many different responses. We cannot prepare for all the uncertainties and surprises ahead, so diversity offers a better chance of success than centralization and uniformity. Besides, experiments are more interesting than blueprints...

Of course it is vital that visual communication is used to promote a massive reduction in consumption. But if society is to adapt in time, the issue is no longer simply about raising awareness. Rather, it is about developing more radical ideas and alternatives. In addition to producing aesthetic and contemplative experiences, contemporary art and design should test concepts, assumptions and boundaries in everyday life, and imagine new ways — material and intellectual — of going about the world.

More here.

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