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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:Folk art / exhibition
Date:Wed, 16 Dec 1998 15:12
Author:Britta Erickson  []

Dear Alfred, Andrey, Gerhard, and all the other readers out there in cyberspace,

I'm excited by all the positive responses to my suggestion of staging an exhibition tied to the internet. If the House of World Cultures decides to run an exhibition/event developing out of this forum, I imagine that would help to "legitimate" internet exhibitions, resulting in more attention (and eventually, with luck, resources) for the projects of people like Alfred Tay and Andrey Martynov. (And I applaud both of you for offering your facilities!) I believe that a multi-faceted/multimedia exhibition along the lines of my suggestion could shake up the international museum/curatorial world a bit, in a very positive fashion. When the big biennials and triennials are organized, people are always looking for ways to impart a new twist, but these are incremental differences, nothing big. In the past year alone, reviewers have written reams about how the big international shows are beginning to blend together. We could do something really significant.

Hans Braumüller wrote: "Folklore" takes power away from the communities to engage in a fight for their rights; folklore satisfies the western eye looking for something exotic and , accordingly, handycraft. In fact, the artisan gets only a small percentage of his product. There is no obvious political message in handycraft, it is a bit like producing bananas for the world market. "Folklore" is relegated to the indigenous producer, art is to be found at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, just like in Paris, Berlin or New York.

In answer to that, I would say that things are changing slowly, although I guess not in Chile. Australia now hosts an "Asia-Pacific Triennial" art exhibition, and indigenous artists have a significant role in that. Australia and New Zealand may be in the forefront of recognizing indigenous people as artists (but the historical works aren't treated similarly). I recently taught a course on Chinese Art, and devoted 20% of it to "folk" art. Some of the students never did get the point, but others were enthusiastic.

Let's have a section on indigenous art in our fantasy exhibition, along with commentary on its reception in different parts of the world!

Happy Holidays!


Britta Erickson
66 Peter Coutts Circle
Stanford CA 94305
Tel/FAX: 650 857-1007

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