The Culture of Fear. The Fear of Culture

Translation from article first published in mono Magazine #6 El miedo y otras catástrofes. Valencia, April 2005. Translated from Spanish by Elida Maiques.

The umbilical relationship that cultural production has with public budgets is very well known due to its necessary and constant feed, at least (and in order to limit this analysis), in Spain. From this dependency, which deserves criticism as much as praise for contributing to many achievements, tensions arise, along with authoritarian and/or submissive attitudes (depending on the side). Public culture management tends to direct its support and to subsidise a culture that relates to its principles, which activates models similar to those it proposes or outlines. One can safely affirm, therefore, that a series of subtly abusive acts are then consummated. This not only forces external cultural producers to closely follow certain ideologies that have previously been tacked, but these acts also increasingly impoverish (not only economically) those offering different visions of a reality doubtlessly eclectic and kaleidoscopic. In other words, management of public budgets is not carried out with an essentially public aim; public meaning here to embrace and give proportional visibility to both the general majority and the diverse. On the contrary, it has become a continuation of models created by those in power at the time, while very little relevance is given to the rest of the options. Opportunities are given only to the extent in which it is understood that within a democratic society, cultural industry must offer different and opposed examples of discussion and analysis.

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Between No-place and No-Man’s Land

An approach to Lynne Cohen’s photographs

Lynne Cohen. Bacelos Gallery, Vigo, 2004.

The captions of the images reproduced in the printed media, have the characteristic of locating the places where the facts occur, placing the event in its historical context, naming those appearing in the scene (a trimmed, fragmented, subjectively reframed scene), situating ourselves before a rendition that might otherwise remain unintelligible, too abstract, or even too easily manipulated. In this way, we acquire additional information which has been filtered by the author or the media publishing it. This information comes surging from the author’s own experiences or ideology, even if only based on the fact of adequately showing the image and writing its succinct caption.

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The Name of the City in Vain

Book On difference #3. Raumpolitiken / Politics of Space. On the Expropriation and Re-appropriation of Social, Political, and Cultural Spaces of Action. Ed.: Iris Dressler, Hans D. Christ, at Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, 2007.

‘Valencia’s traditional link with the sea will be strengthened by the water sports event par excellence: the America’s Cup. Both the city and its inhabitants are fully behind this world event.’ On www.americascup.com

On a billboard advertising the forthcoming 32nd America’s Cup, which will be held in Valencia in 2007, a photograph shows a perspective of the organizers’ mirror-clad pavilion. Reflected in the pristine surface of one of its two visible faces is a port building with Art Nouveau elements, and printed over this is the phrase: ‘Immerse yourself in our history’. The deliberately ambivalent composition conflates the novelty of the coming sports event —closely associated with the latest technology, not for nothing is it known as ‘the Formula 1 of sailing’— with the reflected image of the local architectural tradition, here symbolized by one of the old quayside warehouses. However, the history in which we are invited to immerse ourselves by going there has nothing to do with Valencia, unless this is understood in terms of its increasing readiness to make itself a prime contender for ceasing to have a history of its own. The message refers, in fact, to the history of the sailing event itself, a gesture toward the thirty-one previous competitions over the course of more than 125 years.

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