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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October, 1998 - ... open end

Subject:Internet exhibition?
Date:Mon, 14 Dec 1998 18:53
Author:Britta Erickson  []

A couple of weeks ago, Abelardo Mena of the National Museum-Cuba contacted me to ask for some help in organizing an exhibition of contemporary Chinese art. He had seen from the forum that contemporary Chinese art is the focus of my research. Of course, I have been trying to think out ways to help him with this. This demonstrates concretely to me that the forum can facilitate cutural exchange by putting people in touch with one another to work on it. But I have another idea, one that maybe we can contemplate during the month-long break that is coming up:

Could the Haus der Kulturen der Welt host an internet exhibition on the effects of the internet/speedy communication on world culture? We have all these big bienniales, triennials, etc that look at world art going on all the time. How about having the "First Haus der Kulturen der Welt Internet Triennial"? It could be as ambitious or as modest a project as seems appropriate/feasible.

What do exhibitions usually entail?

People: Artists, curators, critics, audience (we have all of those).
Exhibition space: Could be internet only, or could also have a physical presence.
Works of art: Can be reproductions only, for internet exhibition, or the actual objects.
Publication: Internet only, or physical (i.e. book/pamphlet) counterpart.
Symposium: Internet only, or physical meeting.

There are various issues that have surfaced repeatedly, and that could serve as focal points within the exhibition. For example:

The use of the internet as a tool for grass-roots organization of forces against political oppression. This could be in part a documentary segment, and in part embrace artistic responses.

The pervasiveness of global consumer icons, and their adaptation by artists. Here we can have works of art, as well as anthropological analysis.

These are just two examples that I recall from recent forum interchanges. But the exhibition could integrate many approaches that do not usually come into play all in a single exhibition. We can have anthropologists, artists, political activists, advertising experts, curators, and so on, all commenting on issues of globalization and the role of the internet in word culture.

Of course, I realize this idea may not be feasible. I also realize I may be criticized for trying to squeeze something free-flowing and unconventional into a more static, conventional format. But I feel that the lengthy, thoughtful, and often passionate commentary generated within this forum could give rise to a truly extraordinary and new kind of cultural event. This new kind of cultural event could have an impact on how cultural workers who are charged with presenting "global culture" to their community go about doing just that.

This is long enough. But I am glad to discuss this idea with anyone, either within the forum or through e-mail.

Bye for now!


Britta Erickson, PhD
66 Peter Coutts Circle
Stanford, CA 94305
FAX/Phone: (650) 857-1007

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Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, on the use of Internet in the cultural exchange with and between Africa, Asia/Pacific and Latin America.

Project direction: Gerhard Haupt -
©  House of World Cultures, Berlin. 1998