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the arts and the culture of war

The arts and the culture of war
(Coordinator Comment)

The mass media has replaced the arts as the principal propaganda tool of the culture of war. It is no longer so necessary for the emperor to employ artists in the construction and decoration of monuments and murals and coins that glorify military victory and military conquerors, because CNN and Fox News, like the "yellow press" of an earlier generation, can reach a much larger audience and more quickly. In extreme cases, the arts are still mobilized by the state to justify war. For example the propaganda films of Leni Rieffenstahl supported the policies of the German Nazi government. Similarly, the films produced during the war in the allied countries of Russia, England and the U.S. also served as propaganda for the war effort. On the other hand, when countries are not at war, in recent centuries, the arts have remained more independent of the state and often they are neutral or convey messages against war and the culture of war.

Aside from the matter of government control, an effective analysis of the arts needs to be done from a class perspective: arts for the ruling class; and arts for the ordinary people. With a few exceptions such as popular music to be discussed below, most artists can only make money by directing their creations to the tastes of the ruling class, and this class, under the present structure of society, is strongly linked, consciously or unconsciously, to the culture of war. Under these circumstances, rather than provide images or creations to justify this culture, many artists get around the question by avoiding political issues altogether.

An important exception, at least in recent years, has been the politicization of popular music. Anti-war music has proliferated during times of disputed wars such as the War in Vietnam and the present war in Iraq. Odetta, Bob Dylan and John Lennon were heroes to the anti-war movement of the 60's and more recently, the Dixie Chicks gained notoriety over their criticism of the War in Iraq.

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game administrator Mar. 30 2009,09:03
Readers' comments are invited on this topic.
ydubel Apr. 24 2009,21:30
I don't disagree with anything you say, but I would suggest it does not take into consideration the role that technology - namely the internet and social media, or the peer to peer and open source movements have to play in creating new models and frameworks.

All of these have combined to create a brand new context for peaceful social action and the mobilization of creative minds and energy.

This is the realm of art based research.

What is needed are arts projects that engage the RIGHT people, including diversity not just in nation, and race but culture that transcends the old lines of demarcation. This group needs to engage not only intellectuals and social activists, but the avante garde artist and technical community and social entrepreneurs.  Also needed are the supporters to provide the "hand holding" needed to get from point A to point B.

There is a new way emerging that is unlike the mass media of the past- it is personal and social.  

I will use my journey to this website to make this post in the hope of reaching David Adams as an example.
I have an idea for an interactive art installation/peformance and wanted to use content from the UNESCO Culture of Peace archive. Someone with a UNESCO Twitter account retweeted (reposted) something that was posted to me about the archive the day prior. I found this and asked if they could help me. I was told to get in touch with David. Following the links on David's site which was sent to me via the Twitter contact (who I do not know) I arrived at the Game and then here.

Around the end of 2005 I had several epiphanies about  the potential that art based research (properly conceived) could play in addressing the challenges of distributing knowledge/wisdom required to create a culture of peace.

What propaganda and junk media provide is an engaging context that satisfies personal needs (real or perceived).

Art can integrate the multilateral perspectives that need to be shared via experiences that are genuine to anchor the information in a way that has personal meaning. Furthermore it can be done in a way that is Radically Inclusive.

Tthe internet and community empowerment through what I had called expressive community mental health (intervention & prevention) programs.  
I learned important lessons about how gatekeepers worked to guard their post (aka access to resources).  But the internet seems to foster and favor open business models and open systems.

These are all ideas and experiences I am integrating into the Cultural Fusion art series with the assistance of some amazing people around the world.
I would very much like to open a dialgoue to explore the potential of using our work to proliferate the work already done to establish that indeed there is a history supporting a culture of peace.
ydubel Apr. 24 2009,22:02
Please see this presentation and consider the Culture of Peace project as an enterprise and Peace being the primary idea defining the brand. The products are the game and archive content. You don't want money but Attention.

This is a primary focus of our work as a service via the art works.

This is how Business is defined within the art series and the SoulFood framework

And since I forgot to introduce myself see my professional profile here:
ashamed to be a human Aug. 30 2009,19:58
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