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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Art and DG CONNECT: Two European Commissioners in conversation with Julia

“Hi there all you artistic folk, it’s me, Julia, part of that highly schizophrenic art-technology pairing known as Julia and Paul.

“Today I have with me two European Commissioners who will say something about this thing called the nexus of art and science.

“So Commissioner Modas, what would you like to say about this topic?”

“Yes, thank you Julia. Let me first say that it is a great please to be here with you today. I think that more and more we all understand that innovation in the future will be on the intersection of arts and sciences.”

“Great. Now how did you come to such a conclusion?”

“Scriptwriter! Where’s my scriptwriter?”

“Well Commissioner while you and your scriptwriter are being creative and trying to find an innovative answer to this simple question, we’ll move on to Commissioner Oettinger. What would you like to contribute to this fascinating discussion?”

“I too would like to say that it is a great pleasure to be here with you today. Artistic creativity and critical thinking are essential for innovation in today's digital world.  Already, highly innovative companies like Mercedes thrive on a strong link between artists and their engineers. The EU will support [such] multidisciplinary themes in H2020.”

Well said Commissioner. Did you know that in the medieval period the Roman Catholic Church also thrived on a strong link with artists? The Communist state in the Soviet Union also thrived on the very strong and rigid links that it forged with artists. So clearly, thriving on strong links with artists can mean many things. It seems that the European Commission is also forging strong links with artists too! Are they also rigid as well? But while you are pondering on these questions, I‘m glad you mentioned Mercedes, because we just happen to have here a representative from Mercedes Finance in the United States. Please tell us something about the strong links you have forged with the art world.”

“Indeed Julia I would be very glad to do so. We work with an art gallery where our employees view masterpieces by artists such as Diego Rivera, Rembrandt and Picasso. A trained facilitator then asks for their impressions during post-viewing meetings. During the debriefing session, we touch on how art applies to business and think about how employees can make use of more creativity at work and offer different solutions to our customers. Participants engage in collaborative discussion and offer answers to messages suggested by the art they view. However, to ask employees to completely connect the art experience to their jobs is forcing it too far. Nevertheless, a business-art relationship offers many advantages. It’s about cognitive diversity. The way people think is based on where they come from. Art reflects the diversity of the world, the workplace and the people in it.”

“So, looks much as though this is just a more sophisticated form of corporate sponsorship of the arts, primarily designed for the purposes of image making – your image! If it is the case that your employees are not sufficiently creative at work, were there no thoughts in your mind that there might be problems with your internal organisational design, or with the company culture, or with employee tasks and roles, or the way they are treated and rewarded, or with the attitude that prevails among middle and senior management? Or are you in need of a visit to the art gallery before you are able to have such thoughts?

“So there you have it – employees with a creativity deficit! The ideology of creativity – founded on an imaginary deficit.

“And I see that the European Commissioners and the Mercedes’ representative have left us. No doubt to reflect upon what they have learned here today. Or perhaps not! They are after all puppeteers … And men!

“Coming soon – more about the Ideology of Creativity. And I will be asking questions about this company called Mercedes and exploring just what they have been doing with artists – more image making! Literally!

“This is Julia signing off, xxx.”

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