How Does an International Practice in the Arts Look in 2040?

by Hans Bryssnick and Fabian Barba

It's the 25th of September 2040, and the international arts scene is being shaped and re-shaped by actors coming from different cultural backgrounds and locations. The inter-national has morphed towards the planetary; networks have changed into fabrics; and the category 'Arts' is no longer predominant, as it proved not to be inclusive of non-Western cultural practices and manifestations. In short: the international arts scene made place for a multi-layered planetary fabric for the creation and circulation of cultural manifestations.

In 2040 cultural exchanges are shaped by the interests and values of many communities that are interwoven, instead of being shaped by the interests of individual nation-states or other forms of regional political organizations. The emergence of this planetary fabric dismantled the structure of centers and peripheries. Through that fabric different locations are now able to connect between each other, independent of their size or geo-political position. Within this planetary fabric the appeal of one place is not given by it being "more interesting than another," but by the particularities which make it unique. The particularity of each place gives it a value that cannot be compared to the particularity of any other place. Differences are not translated into hierarchies. Consequently, validation of a cultural exchange is not given externally, according to one inter-national or global model. Rather, the actors involved in the cultural exchange are the ones giving it their value.

In the exchanges that take place, special attention is being paid to reciprocity. An exchange is now like a two-way street, where the inequalities between historically predominant and subordinate cultures are neutralized. Each party is always losing and gaining something in the game. The guest and the host enter in a reciprocal relation that in its most ideal form leads to a mutual transformation, rather than to either one of them having to assimilate.

The planetary fabric is accessible to anyone, not based on privilege. Mobility no longer moves in one way: visas, working and residency permits no longer limit the work of people coming from formerly colonized regions. People working in the planetary fabric are mobile but at a very slow pace. One has good reasons to stay in one place for a longer period of time, and isn't forced to quickly move elsewhere out of necessity. A lot of time is given to these cultural exchanges, because relations take time to build, and then they need time to be taken care of. As a result, a tight fabric is woven between local communities and its traveling members.

When you enter this planetary fabric, if you go to a certain place, the conditions in which you work are always set by the local standards; any advantage or disadvantage that results from your background is temporarily suspended. For instance: if you are being paid, you are paid in the local currency according to the local standards.

The planetary fabric works through many economic funds that operate according to the same principle: a complete separation between where the money comes from and where it is used or what it is used for. The administrative bodies of the funds are constituted by people with no national or political affiliations, they are elected by the people directly affected by their decisions and have a limited time of service. Through the use of these economic funds there is an actual redistribution of wealth in the planetary fabric.

In short: in 2040, rather than circulating commodities (a piece, a show) in an inter-national arts market, we focus on building dynamic, non-hierarchical communities that are politically autonomous.