Newsletter 3
  October 2010

For its third edition, the Forum d'Avignon is really honored to welcome Christine Lagarde, French Minister of Economy, Industry and Employment, who will intervene at the University of Avignon in the presence of Frédéric Mitterrand, French Minister of Culture and Communication.

This month, focus on the debate "2000-2010 : did technological innovation promote culture?" with interviews of Bernard Stiegler (IRI) and Joi Ito (Creative Commons), but also the 2010 novelties (10 universities, Playing for change playing at the Forum d'Avignon), the outlook of Chris Csikszentmihalyi (MIT) and the presentation of the Advisory Board of the Forum d'Avignon.

Renowned French and European universities associate with the Forum d'Avignon
This year, students and professors from European universities gather at the Forum d'Avignon contributing to the debates and presenting their own vision on the issues related to culture, economy and the Media. Among the universities partners of the Avignon : the EHESS, the EJCM, the ESA Avignon, the ESSEC, the IEP of Paris (Sciences po), the INSEAD, the Kaospilots, the London School of Economics, Sciences po Aix, the University of Bologna…
More than 10 countries (Argentina, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, South Corea, Spain…) will be represented by the Phd students, the students and the professors of these universities.  

The band Playing for Change at the 2010 edition of the Forum d'Avignon
Recording and gathering artist voices discovered ramdomly in the street and on the occasion of travels, the collective Playing for change uses new technologies and the Internet to associate talents, visions and innovative experiences and share them with a previously unreachable public. The opportunity of discovering these artists of Playing for Change is offered by Vivendi within the framework of its partnership with the Forum d'Avignon. This project is supported by Universal Music Group promoting the dialogue between cultures as a vector of peace and an inspiring source of creativity for artists.

To know more about Playing for Change, click here.

2000-2010 : did technological innovation promote culture? - The Atelier BNP Paribas for the Forum d'Avignon

• 2000-2010 : did technological innovation promote culture?

Augmented reality, touch surfaces, ‘living’ digital organisms, brain-computer interface, connected devices, interactive artworks, total immersion, digital game, cultural applications,…: are new devices the future of culture? How could devices and disruptive behaviors influence the field of culture and its economy? What are the new cultural behaviors? How is it possible to organize the readability and visibility of the online cultural offer in a context of multiplication of the modes of access? Should we imagine the setting up of federative portals and labels? From a user’s point of view, under what conditions would new technologies lead to the emergence of spaces of creation? What do sharing practices and the internet users’ participation bring to artworks’ broadcasting, to the emergence of new creations?

• Presentation of the study by the Atelier BNP Paribas

The Atelier BNP-Paribas present an overview of the first decade of the 21st century: what are the « main trends » observed? What are the « first hints of the new trends »? Perspectives for the economy of culture are drawn, notably through case studies.
 - What is a ‘cultural’ application? How many are free? Paying? What are the main trends? How is the market of cultural ‘apps’ structuring itself?
- Group purchasing, participation in brands 'activities, choosing a brand according to its values, getting an overview before buying online, co-opting and advising, protecting one’s personal details, make one’s own promotion, …: what are the disruptive behaviors?
- Distribution’s models, access to offers, ‘multichannel’ and group offers, articulation between long term and short term: what is a disruptive economic strategy?

The study will be available online on November 2010. A webography on this theme is already available online.

The interviews

The interview of Bernard Stiegler

A philosophy professor at the University of Compiègne and London, Bernard Stiegler also is the director of the IRI. He has been the managing director of the IRCAM and the assistant managing director of the INA, but also the President of Ars Industrialis. He wrote 25 books on philosophy of technique and industrial society.

  Bernard Stiegler :
Let’s begin by considering two facts. The first is that the famous art historian and amateur Daniel Arrasse explained in Histoires de peintures (Paintings’ history) that he needed 20 years to appreciate the Joconde. The second is that an architect participating at a symposium at the Musée du Louvre in 2005 affirmed that a visitor spent, in this museum, in average 42 seconds in front of an artwork. 

The relationship to artworks became increasingly quantitative, and major museums tend to become mass media. Yet, this relationship collides with what spread throughout the development of cultural industries in contemporary societies: a cultural consumerism which concretely is the opposite of this highly qualitative relationship that art lovers have with artworks.  

In art and culture as everywhere else, the consumer has replaced the amateur, and this is primarily an issue of time spent in front, with and in the artworks. The museum and cultural institution in general tend to either become a kind of cultural industry, or to comply with the formats of this economic sector: their public tends to be audiences in the sense understood when talking of mass media

However, we must add here two observations that contradict these statements. On the one hand, major mass media are in crisis: the widespread digitization - implementation of what was called in the 1990s the convergence of broadcasting, telecommunications and computer technology, is creating a position of cracking of the model. On the other hand, the practices that are deployed on digital networks are much closer to the figure of the amateur than that of consumer.

This evolution exceeds by far the world of artistic culture : it is very likely that the evolution currently occurring in what could be named the field of cultural technologies (with all the questions posed and the shifts implemented by those) is the manifestation of a trend that could ultimately affect the whole new industrial world that emerges before our eyes.

With the digitization, technical functions that were inherently reserved for professional producers of cultural industries are now accessible to a wider public: filming, editing, indexing, various treatments, diffusion. This migration of technological skills radically modifies the situation of cultural consumerism which finally had become prominent, and is quite comparable to the effects that printing had on Christianity: the result has been the Reformation and the birth of capitalism.

Cultural policies should be redesigned accordingly, and in great depth - ie acknowledging that, as stated last year Frederic Mitterrand, digital technologies are a pharmakon: a poison that can be a remedy, a remedy that can become poisonous. Anyway, through the cultural technologies which are deploying on digital networks, a new business model is emerging in rupture with the consumerism (cultural or not) typical of the twentieth century, which had itself replaced the nineteenth century typical productivism. This is the issue of the relationship between culture, economy and technology in the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Artists and creators help regions, cities and regions create a sense of social inclusion and authenticity. Economic prosperity relies on cultural, entrepreneurial, civic, scientific, and artistic creativity. Creative workers with these talents need communities, organizations, and peers that are open to new ideas and different people.  They also look to places that are authentic and unique and the large presence of artists helps a community create an identity that is distinctive. Places receptive to new forms of culture, alternative lifestyles and identities and new views on social status and power structures will benefit significantly in the creative age.

The interview of Joi Ito

Joichi Ito is the CEO of Creative Commons. Co-founder and board member of Digital Garage, he is on the board of many firms and NGOs and participated in the creation of several Internet companies. Visiting scholar at the Keio Research Institute (Japan), he currently researches "The Sharing Economy" at Hitotsubashi University. World-recognized, he notably has been named as one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web in 200 by Business Week.

What is, according to you, the device of the Future?

Joi Ito :
I believe that open access to the Internet allowing access to knowledge, the ability to collaborate and the ability to transaction with the least friction is the most important service that a device could offer.
In order to do this, the device must be low-cost (hardware and network services), easy to use, user-modifiable and able to access the Internet from anywhere at any time.
Clearly, corporations and institutions must have incentives and business models to develop and support such a device and the challenge facing our society is how to encourage the development and support of such a device which would disrupt many existing business models.

Could you identify one disruptive object which, by the way the public took possession of it, has had a deep influence on the ways of consuming and exchanging?

  Joi Ito:
The personal computer was the first open Internet access device with the ability for users to write software and access the Internet. This allowed people to exchange and collaborate at an extremely low cost fueling the explosion of free and open source software, free content such as Wikipedia and the emergence of user generated content.
This free and open source software has lowered the cost of innovation – Google, for instance, would never have been created if it weren’t for the suite of free and open source software that it built upon and the open access Internet that allowed it to compete with existing services with no friction.
The ecosystem of small startup companies building upon the work of the community of free and open source software developers and the Internet are the primary driver of innovation in e-commerce and content distribution.
This amateur and user-driven innovation is powered by an extremely low cost of failure, which enables diversity and rapid experimentation by lowering the cost and scalability of innovation.

Under what conditions could technological innovation serve culture? Modify social representations?

  Joi Ito:
Since the industrial revolution and the development of mass communications the production and distribution of physical products and content has moved to corporations and “professionals” with the necessary capital to develop and distribute these products and content. These consumer items have defined culture.
Culture, in recent history, has been defined increasingly by multinational corporations and the professionals in these industries.
New lower-cost devices for producing and editing both physical and software products as well as a network that allows transactions and the delivery of products and content at an exceedingly low cost has empowered user generated products and content and is causing an amateur revolution.
In many ways, amateur products and content is a return to craft and “folk art”. Clearly the shift of power to the individual and the amateur will have business and quality issues as we innovate and create mechanisms for managing the quality and sustainability of this “commons-based peer production”. However, I believe that in the long run, this shift of power to the people will serve culture in a positive way and enable us to reach another level of global culture and understanding.

The outlook of Chris Csikszentmihalyi

Chris Csikszentmihályi co-founded and is the Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Future Civic Media (C4), dedicated to developing technologies that strengthen communities. He also founded the MIT Media Lab's Computing Culture group, which works to create unique media technologies for cultural and political applications. Trained as an artist, he has worked in the intersection of new technologies, media, and the arts, speaking and exhibiting on every continent.

Discover the integrality of the article of Chris Csikszentmihalyi on our website


The Advisory Board of the Forum d'Avignon

Alongside with the Board and managing team guiding and organizing the Forum d’Avignon, an Advisory Board, chaired by Christian de Boissieu, is operational since June. Active all year long, its role is to identify themes to be discussed and consider in an original way the topics tacked, the preparation of the debates and the studies realized for the Forum. The experts of the Advisory Board reflect the diversity of approaches and ideas characterizing these international meetings of culture, economy and the Media. The members of the Advisory Board are : Christine Albanel, former Minister of Culture and Communication, Executive Vice President, Communication, Philanthropy, Content Strategy of France telecom – Orange (France) ; Arjun Appadurai, anthropologist of globalization (USA-India); Philippe Bélaval, managing director of Heritages, Minister of Culture and communication (France) ; Elie Cohen, Research Director at France's national scientific research center (CNRS) and member of the conseil d’analyse économique (France) ; Sylvie Forbin, foreign affairs advisor, institutional and European affairs executive Director of Vivendi (France) ; Amit Khanna, PDG Reliance entertainment (India) ; Thomas Paris, researcher at the CNRS, HEC and Ecole Polytechnique (France) ; Pierre Sellal, general secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (France) ; Celestino Spada, producer; chief editor of the review Economia della Cultura (Italy) ; Ezra Suleiman, professor of political sciences – Princeton (USA –France - Irak) ; Kjetil Tredal Thorsen, architect (Norway).

To know more about the Advisory Board, click here

Discover all the newsletters of the Forum d'Avignon on our website

Christian de Boissieu (chairman of the Conseil d’Analyse Economique and of the Advisory board of the Forum d’Avignon), Mathilde Maurel (economist and professor), Xavier Greffe (economist and professor), Allen J. Scott (professor, department of Geography and political studies of UCLA), Alain Seban (president of the Centre Georges Pompidou), Richard Florida (author and professor at the Rotman School of Management of the University de Toronto)...
With the intention of preparing the discussions, the newsletter of the Forum d’Avignon presents interviews of specialists and experts of the themes tackled during the Forum who will – for most of them - be present at the 2010 edition of the Forum. Before the debates, discover the last news and the firsts elements of the exclusive studies carried out by the international consulting firms, partners of the Forum d’Avignon.

To consult the newsletters, click here.



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