Arts Under Pressure

Promoting Cultural Diversity in the Age of Globalisation

Joost Smiers

Arts Under Pressure

Joost Smiers

Distributed for Zed Books

288 pages | 5.4375 x 8.5 | © 2003  
Paper $42.95 ISBN: 9781842772638 Published July 2003 For sale in North and South America only
Arts Under Pressure analyses the relevant forces behind decision making in cultural matters worldwide under the influence of economic globalisation. The book deals with all the arts, in all parts of the world and focuses on the cycle of creation, production, distribution, promotion, reception and influence. It asks: who has the power to decide what reaches audiences, in what quantities, with what contents and surrounded by what kinds of ambiances? Refuting the ‘natural’ existence of a mass culture, Arts Under Pressure argues that globally dominant artistic creations are produced, distributed and promoted on a mass scale that destroys the diversity any society desperately needs.

Smiers argues that countries must take culture out of the grip of the WTO and sign a new International Convention on Cultural Diversity. The neoliberal world order is not capable of protecting the fragile blossoming of artistic diversity at a local level. Smiers concludes with a completely new vision of copyright, advantageous to artists, third world countries and the public domain.
1.The arts and the world
The arts: an arena of struggle
Specific forms of communication
A triangle and a high-tech-archipelago

2.The power to decide
The effects of sheer size
The question of ownership
Cultural package, political freight, economic weight
Second-tier corporations
Production and distribution on a mass scale
Visual arts markets: as nervous as the stock market
After the magnetic telegraph

3.Doubtful originality
The twenty-first century’s most valuable commodity
Hunt the pirates?
Mp3, Napster, freenet?
Artists still create
A Western concept

4.Local artistic life
A vast domain of cultural production
Diversity destroyed in less than a decade
Traditional, folk, popular, world?
Identities: demarcations of differences
Hybridity everywhere, but why?

5.Corporate-driven culture
Aesthetics and the land of desire
Something to tell, something to sell
Surrounding the commercial message
Violence travels well
Arousing desire, awakening memory, creating fantasy
The story corporate culture doesn’t tell

6.Freedom and protection
Squaring the circle
Trade: another world war
Re-thinking economic globalization
A new international treaty on cultural diversity
The road away from cultural conglomeration
Cultural policies
Regional infrastructures for the distribution of films
The meltdown and abolition of copyright The need for respect and new creative dynamics
Substantial remunerati-on for artists
Protecting cultural heritage
The raid on art
All that’s fragile needs protection
The production of discourse is always controlled
The digital domain is not what it seemed to be

7.’Everything of value is defenceless’
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