During the process of Swiss legislation, the executive presents the public with a draft for funding guidelines for 2012-2015. The total amount to be spent on culture remains stable at 633m over these years (compare with e.g. 12,000m for the Swiss military over the same period!).
From reading that document, it seems legislators largely underestimate the role of digital culture in general and perceive the "digital" as a threat rather than an opportunity. Vast sections in the document speak of conservation and digitization of content in order to keep and store existing cultural value. This is important. However, when it comes to fostering innovation and the production of new works, digital culture remains poorly understood and a placeholder called "GameCulture" needs to stand in for a deep-rooted and fundamental shift in production technology in the arts. This is deplorable to say the least.
Im Schatten der klassischen Kulturformen hat sich die erste rein digitale Kulturform entwickelt: das Computerspiel. (p. 76)
It is not surprising that experts on conservation look backwards and worry about digitization. What is surprising is that the central document to justify the funding of the arts of an entire nation reduces the information and knowledge-based means of production to computer gaming!
What does this imply for the bodies that support art today? Ideally, funding institutions understand that contemporary art involves software and hardware, music is made of code and strings, sculpture with CAD and clay, visuals with graphics software and printers, and so on. However, from reading the Kulturbotschaft, this does not seem to be where we stand today.
Eight years ago, the Swiss government started an initiative to support media and digital art: sitemapping. During these years, experts from funding bodies have come to understand how art production works and built a network of committees and juries to evaluate and understand quality and how to support quality and ultimately, hopefully, focus funding on potential impact.
etoy has always been critical of these "experts" not least because they failed to understand that long-term orientation in the production of digital art is not an oxymoron but a necessity to quality, much like in every domain of knowledge creation.
Nevertheless, we find ourselves defending this initiative and their proponents today. Reading the suggested legislature reminded us that even semi-competent funding initiatives point into the right direction and dropping all of this in favor of a narrow sub-field (computer gaming) is wrong-headed and irresponsible.
Funding art is difficult and etoy is not simply advocating a centralized, top-down funding body. The structures to evaluate impact and judge quality, however, require investment over many years as well as individuals with large networks and experience. A country such as Switzerland that relies on knowledge, education, and innovation speed needs a deeper understanding of how culture is produced today than what emanates from this Kulturbotschaft. It is fine to conserve but the emphasis is out of balance. Unless the Swiss government understands that shifting resources towards creation and innovation of contemporary art by current means, we will end up with more Ballenberg and Landesmuseum and Denkmalschutz rather than cutting-edge technology, innovation, and inspiration.
THANK you soyoung!! so cool!
...leaving reality behind. again and again.
Join etoy.AGENTS Vincent, HG and Zai for last performances in
Gwangju/Korea TONIGHT Sat. Nov.6/7PM befor etoy will leave Korea behind
after 3 months of INTENSE INTERCONTINENTAL INTERCOURSE.
It's been a very turbulent time: the newly opened Kunsthalle Gwangju
challenged etoy with an experimental
container art space that twisted culture and arms of agents and audience.
On the upside, etoy showed a comprehensive retrospective covering 16 years
of etoy.HISTORY, the premier taking place in one of Asia's growing
hotspots, continuing our exposure to the Asian market, following up on the
SARCOPHAGUS show at the National Art Museum of China in 2008. On the
downside, working conditions were more than challenging due to stretched
construction deadlines, monsoon and a massive lack of basic
NEWS! etoy is happy to announce a new collaboration with space pioneer
and Gwangju local, Hojun Song, initiator of the Open Source Satellite
Initiative (OSSI)! Hojun set out to develop
non-commercial and DIY use of outer space: satellites and communication
and possibly peaceful colonization. The fringe initiative is artistic for
reasons well known to etoy: sometimes only art can risk to venture into
new and highly risky domains given seemingly insurmountable social,
economic, technological, and cultural obstacles. By acquiring a
functioning communication device to be used with the first satellite, etoy
invests in OSSI as part of the etoy.ART-COLLECTION, and Hojun invests in
etoy, becoming part of our global community of shareholders, advisors,
friends - sharing risk, cultural twists, and artistic adventure.
your etoy.AGENTS in Gwangju
and everywhere else
LOCATION REQUEST: etoy's main office and working tank plant will have to
move away from its current location in Zurich Binz by June 2011. We are
currently looking for a new location in the city of Zurich, preferably
housing 6+ cargo containers, ample surroundings, mountain or lake view,
warm water, fast access to the airport, international schools, and low
Seriously: if you know of any possible space to house the etoy.CONTAINERS,
please contact us!