Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Net-forum, House of World Cultures, Berlin

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  Statement:   Gilane Tawadros
   The Internet has rapidly become the imagined site of utopian dreams and dystopian nightmares. I suspect the reality lies somewhere in-between and is probably quite banal. What strikes me about the current debates about the opportunities and threats which we see in the Internet is how much these opportunities and threats have in common with other aspects of our lives. Can the Internet help to overcome the dichotomy between »curated and curating cultures«? Not as long as the principal sites for the dissemination and validation of art works and of cultural values remain the art gallery and the art journal. There may indeed be a proliferation of discussions, art works and interactions among artists, curators and critics from different parts of the world on the Net and this is vital to shifting the cultural emphasis way from the »centre«. But these discussions, artworks and interactions will remain peripheral to the established art world for some time to come. The real issue is not how these conversations on the Net will shift the »status quo« of the established art world but rather how these cyber-networks can create another space where ideas and images can be exchanged in a fluid, dynamic and open way, in contrast to the conventional spaces of the art world which are becoming increasingly parochial, conservative and market-orientated.

Gilane Tawadros is Director of the Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA), a contemporary visual arts organization which works with a wide range of partners from conventional galleries to schools and businesses and has a special interest in new technologies, international collaboration and site-specific commissions
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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. 1998/1999