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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Art, DG CONNECT and constraints

Constraints are parameters that guide processes and activities. They can be externally imposed such as through culture, deadlines or requests. They can be internally imposed unconsciously through developed beliefs and habits. They can also be consciously yet still internally devised in order to focus action towards specific goals that would not be explored in depth otherwise. Or they can be internally devised to ensure that matters that should be addressed are not! The design of constraints directly defines and confines a problem’s search space, thereby provoking new and potentially creative explorations, or not, as is the case with DG CONNECT.

ICT ART CONNECT, otherwise known as STARTS, is the product of constraints, mostly those of the kind that are imposed unconsciously through developed beliefs and habits, but also, the constraints that come from a culture that ‘does not know what it does not know’, and an intention to exploit art for the European Commission’s political reasons.

There are also another set of constraints at work, that rule out-of-order any thinking outside the limiting horizons of the European Commission political agenda, which at its highest levels, in harmony with the policies of most of the National Governments, is about abandoning the peoples of Europe to the power of money. Taken for granted here, are the neo-liberal agenda, with its defining features of global capitalism, economic inequality, environmental destruction, and cultural colonialism, where deviant cultures have to be converted to a secular and materialistic way of life though the imposition of European values. This is ultimate victory of Western Enlightenment thinking over anything that smacks of not being the rational and objective machine so much worshiped in the Western world, operating in the wider context of the economic machine, which exploits nature, another machine, in the cause of control and domination of people and nature.

All who oppose are evidently suffering from a deficit – which is also about classification and separation, which are also the first two steps on the path to genocide. There is a reason why most of the known cases of genocide are linked to European culture or its adoption by others.

Now is the time to resist, and to find a way to out-manoeuvre Europeans and their cousins in the former colonies, for they surely have a far too good opinion of themselves and do not understand or respect those that are not European and do not want to be European. The opportunity now exits for the non-European world to exert itself, and to create the conditions which will also force Europe to stop being European. And if that happens then the planet and humanity will have a chance of surviving. The alternative is going forwards in the way that is defined by the past, which increasingly is how humanity is conducting its affairs, with both the old and the new Western powers, using their military might to enforce conformance with the European way. Fortunately, China and India are armed to the teeth as well, so bombing and droning are not options for the West. It is time to abandon your civilised killing and violence, time to give peace a chance, and time to turn your weapons into ploughshares.

Now is the moment in time for humanity to recognise that it is not seven billion individuals, but one living organism in which all people are connected together in ways that most Europeans do not understand, value, or even recognise. I am most definitely my brother’s keeper, for I am my brother. When a child dies of famine in some forgotten poorly developed part of our planet, part of me dies too.

We are hyper-connected and always have been.

“Hey Julia, how did we get onto this subject?”

“Everything is connected Paul. Everything! Art is not just about gazing at aesthetically pleasing objects hanging on walls! It is also about confronting uncomfortable truths. And one of those uncomfortable truths is the reality of DG CONNECT – they are living in the past.”

And speaking of the constraints and the past, next week we will examine an aspect of DG CONNECT’s past – a very specific constraint of the not knowing kind – which will come as a surprise to all those people, attending that ICT 2015 theatrical performance we wrote about a few weeks ago, who thought that DG CONNECT was doing something new and timely. Déjà vu! 

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