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Sunday, 5 June 2016

ICT, Art and STARTS: DG CONNECT and STEM peoples’ intention to use art to manipulate the public …

“To help to more gracefully embed science and technology in society.”

As soon as I heard this I recognised the sinister implications of what DG CONNECT wanted to use art for – to manipulate the public into accepting whatever scientist and technologists create. This is something one would have expected to hear in Moscow, in the Soviet Union, in the past, but we hear it from Brussels, from the European Commission, in the present. And also in many other places as well, all of which are part of the STEM world. The monster that John Dewey wrote about in 1920 has arrived!

Let us be clear – this statement about embedding science and technology in society is one of the reasons why DG CONNECT is interested in art. This is a matter of public record, and to ensure that this is not forgotten is one of the reasons why I created the online ICT-ART CONNECT archive. DG CONNECT’s other reason is image making, for they have a very tarnished image. And it is also now a matter of public record that many artists and arts organisations did collaborate with DG CONNECT. Their names too are recorded in the archive.

In my recent blog, the one that goes by the title ‘When a Distinguished Professor of Art and Technology asks questions …”, I mentioned that some STEM people, from very prestigious institutions, had made very clear that their intention is to use art to manipulate the minds of the public into accepting science and technology – the true meaning of embedding more gracefully.

It is truly Orwellian vision that these STEM people have! The phrases they use are: “When the emotions are targeted, individuals pay more attention to a particular event and commit to the cause, storing information in their long-term memory” and “… psychological ambiguity, in which the basic ideas and norms are broken down or weakened, and this disorientation allows individuals to reposition their points of view” and “the incorporation of art into communication of technology can promote new ways of considering issues, appeal to emotions, and form a celebratory atmosphere.”

I have been warning for some time the STEM people’s interest is using art is not benign. But mostly what I hear are STEM people and their ‘artists in residence’, creating a ‘celebratory atmosphere’ that is likely to leave both groups with tarnished reputations, and titles such as ‘distinguished’ looking somewhat empty. Enthusiastic but naïve practitioners! Enthusiasm though is dangerous and no substitute for critical thinking. Thus do the art/science and art/technology mutual admiration societies create the zone of discredited practice! And thus do we take up the pen …

I refer people to the second definition of collaborate that I provided in last week’s blog.

You will pay a heavy price by becoming involved with DG CONNECT and all those STEM people itching to use art to restore their tarnished images and to manipulate the public so that the STEM world’s techno-science delusions and technocratic intentions can become a reality. But there is a pen waiting here, and as I said two weeks ago, “the pen is far mightier that the Scanning Electron Microscope and other such boy’s toys.”  

Thus the artistic voices that DG CONNECT silenced, will be heard, and people will know that DG CONNECT did silence these voices.

Quietly and slowly, determination to expose the true nature of DG CONNECT and their collaborators will pay-off in the end. And the critique becomes a book with the title: STARTS – Science, Technology and the Arts: The artistic voices that DG CONNECT silenced. A British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication record has already been generated. The publication date is set for October 1st 2016. And from the critique came forth …

The next book, even stranger than the one just mentioned, is already taking shape, in which, people who think they can appropriate art, the very ones mentioned above, encounter people – monsters – from the recent past who are somewhat interested in these STEM people and what they can do to help them create a celebratory atmosphere! And we are just warming-up!

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