The Role of Culture in a Sustainable Society, seminar in Helsinki, September 2015

“Culture and art provide our society with creativity, critical thinking, empathy, confidence, risk tolerance and mutual respect. We believe that working with culture and art and through the cultural meeting, we create an essential part of the foundation for the Nordic region and societies to become sustainable”

– Per Voetmann, director, Nordic Culture Point


We are pleased to have assembled a versatile and exciting programme with speakers and examples of inspiring projects from all over the Nordic region:

  • Katriina Soini (FI), postdoc researcher, Cultural Policy, University of Jyväskylä. Topic: Introduction to culture and sustainability
  • Angela Goldin (NO), director, The International Museum of Children’s Art. Topic: How does art projects for, with and by children contribute to a sustainable society?
  • Ola Jacobson (SE), chairperson for the Culture and Art Programme and strategist and responsible for international affairs for Culture Skåne. Will comment on Angela Goldins´ presentation
  • Casper Hernández Cordes (DK), composer, Fonografit and Building Sound Collectives. Topic: Sustainable support and culture and art as a driver for cultural sustainability + artistic intervention about sustainable collectives through sound and movement
  • Kenneth Flak (NO), chairperson for Mobility Funding and choreographer and dancer at Roosna & Flak. Will comment on Casper Hernández Cordes´ presentation and intervention
  • Ulrika Lind (AX), freelance culture and art strategist

Read more here.

Building sound academia. What actually happened in Helsinki?

How do we build sound collectives? How do we create an atmosphere of playfulness and free flow of ideas between adults? If human interaction is much more than words, if it’s also a lot about nonverbal interaction, how can we add this dimension to events where scholars meet to discuss cultural aspects of human life – using almost exclusively words? Are human beings more than merely brains attached to a chunk of flesh&bones, and does it make sense to imagine a modality of human interaction, we could call corporeal reflection? If academia is the institution entrusted with the task of to understanding and finding solutions to our problems, is it meaningful to not involve the reflection taking place in sensorial, bodily reflection in this institution?

These are some of the question that are put into play in the workshop I was facilitating in Helsinki, at the Cultures in sustainable futures conference, May 2015.

The whole session was video recorded. I have experienced that this is a fantastic way of learning from the workshops, I am facilitating. Since we are working with nonverbal interaction, with sound and gesture as means of expression and communication, of course, the temporal aspect is extremely important. In order to get an idea about how the timing works, and in order to get a clearer image about the building of ‘cultural tissue’ that is going on in the collective, analysing a video recording of the session is crucial.

I have picked some highlights of the workshop session, and I am sharing them with you here, for you to get an image about how the tools and methods work.

1) “Pick Two” – Establishing equal distance between you and two other participants of your (secret) choice. Description.

2) Gesture imitation. Read more here.

3) Gesture imitation, with sound

4) Gesture merging

What do you think? Can we reflect via the body?, without words?, in higher education? Does academia need to include bodily reflection as a modality? Can you present a thesis in the form of a choreography?

Join the discussion!! Pitch in!! Write your comments below. Join us on Facebook, join our group ‘Art in Organisations’ on Linkedin.

Organisation’s lethal selfpreservation

Luhmann, collage by CHC

Luhmann, collage by CHC

Luhmann argues that every autopoietic system has this sort of intra-systemic dimension. Autopoietic systems are, above all, organized around maintaining themselves or enduring. This raises serious questions about academic political theory. Academia is an autopoietic system. As an autopoietic system, it aims to endure, reproduce itself, etc. It must engage in operations or procedures from moment to moment to do so. These operations consist in the production of students that eventually become scholars or professors, the writing of articles, the giving of conferences, the production of books and classes, etc. All of these are operations through which the academic system maintains itself across time. The horrifying consequence of this is that the reasons we might give for why we do what we do might (and often) have little to do with what’s actually taking place in system continuance

Levi R Bryant

Regarding the intra-systemic dimension: I have made similar comments on the way the establishment around music in Denmark, – conservatories, universities, schools, high schools, etc. – works. Here’s one of my blogposts about it. (In Danish, google translated).

I actually think, that Levi R. Bryant’s point about intra-system’s lethal drive to selfpreservation is a general problem inherent in our interest based way of organising human activities. The way we have organised our collective problem solving activities, – in what we term as organisations, in which we work, the same problems we are theoretically trying to solve, will systematically drown in our effort to keep the organisations afloat.

Relevant reading from my  blog:

Learning from folklore / Reversed colonialism 2.0

Larval Subjects .

For the last couple of days, I’ve found my thoughts haunted by McKenzie Wark’s brilliant interview over at Occupy Times.  Apart from Wark’s provocative claim that politics doesn’t exist– though perhaps it could come to exist, in a sense analogous to how Meillassoux talk of a “virtual god”? –this passage, in particular, stuck out to me:

…the problem is:  how do you occupy an abstraction?  Power has become vectoral.  It can move money and power anywhere on the planet with unprecedented speeds.  You can block a particular site of power, but vectoral power routes around such sites.

The abstraction Wark is talking about is, of course, contemporary capitalism.  Contemporary capitalism seems to be characterized by two features:  First, it has the characteristic of being everywhere and nowhere.  You can’t point to a particular site of contemporary capitalism and say “there it is!”.  Rather, it pervades every aspect of contemporary life…

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