Topic for Debate
documenta, regarded as the most important exhibition of contemporary art worldwide, takes place in Kassel, Germany, every five years.

This year, ArchNet members are invited to take part in a unique forum to discuss the exhibition's chosen leitmotifs, or themes, selected by artistic director Roger Buergel.

Please note: ArchNet member responses to this discussion forum may be republished online or in print in documenta publications. If so, ArchNet will send you a copyright release form.

Certain projects and discussion forum threads within ArchNet may provoke our community's critical engagement with emergent themes and debates in the visual arts:

What is to be done?

As global flows of people, capital and thought increase in speed and connectivity, the development of commensurate modes of education and communication is an urgent project. Accepted practices and established institutions are coming under increased pressure and currently find themselves in the midst of a crisis of definition, and not exclusively in the art world.

Newly founded institutions, however, often follow the example of these traditional models. In a parallel development, a wide range of new forms of organisation and self-organisation, new kinds of artistic and communications work have emerged - above all on a local level.

Which of these local initiatives and action spaces are capable of securing the future of advanced, open and autonomous working practices and providing answers to the question of education they themselves represent?

The following sites in the ArchNet Digital Library may provide food for thought. Please comment within this discussion forum thread.

Discussion Thread: The ArchNet Community

Discussion Thread: Informational Needs

Discussion Thread : Priorities for Research in Developing Countries

Digital Library Site: CEPT

Digital Library Site: Rehabilitation of Arts Village

Digital Library Site: Institute for Integral Education

Digital Library Site: Selasar Sunaryo Art Space

What Is To Be Done?
This is a very complex subject, and my opinion is not the one of an expert in mass media or communications.

We are dealing with the impact of such things as Internet and everything virtual, which provide a much more open worldview although there are still millions of people who don't even have access to a phone, let alone a computer.

But the impact of this relative new dimension is very real. And as the more developed countries tend to specialize and grow through more technologically advanced stages giving birth to even more sophisticated venues and alternatives, it all comes down to a give and take and a push and pull that realigns the haves and have-nots. But it is democratic nonetheless by its relative accessability and freedom of expression, a new value system for many.

I don't think there is one solution that will bring everyone at the same level since there are great disparities to start with, both economically and culturally. But one thing is certain, "the other face of humanity" which is different from what is familiar to us, is not distant anymore. We are more connected and need think about our purpose. That is to be more productive and grounded in the reality that we live for the benefit of those who directly consume it, and the ones who want to adopt whatever is being offered, looking perhaps for an equivalent within their own constraints.
Maria Ayub


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