Art, Society and Media

Conversations. Symposium on Art, Society and Media

The collapse of the speculative market for contemporary art in 1990 and 1991 brought the return of some questions which had long been off-limits. They fall into the categories: In one the figure of the artist as such has again become a disruptive factor against whom today's average media consumer once again feels justified in becoming spontaneously angry, just like in the wretched 'thirties and 'forties of this century. On the other hand it seems to me that the present time, in which the contemporary Modern must justify itself every day to the taxpayers, politicians and sensation-hungry media, is once again ripe for a real creative situation. It has always been when the right of modern art to exist has been called into question, as in the 1910's, the thirties and the late sixties, that it has experienced its greatest leaps forward.

This symposium aims to take some soundings of the changes taking place in the media society, the social realities and art in the middle of the nineties. Leading artists, art critics, media theoreticians and philosophers can now, thanks to the technological speed available to a daily newspaper, converse in a similar way to the Greek concept of a "symposion" – a free discussions between independent individuals who do not have to worry about everyday comments. Now that newspapers and current affairs magazines use computer systems with the possibility of continual up-dates from around the world the "old" and "slow" print medium has become just as much a real-time medium as the television but with the advantage of a more flexible and therefore "more modern" manipulation than in the field of the electronic media.

museum in progress – Conversations is an attempt to test this innovative leap in the print media with a real exchange of thoughts between the most important art and media thinkers of our time. The identity crisis of art as well as that of the media will be the overlapping theme.

(Paris 1994)