The Playing Field

It is generally agreed that, throughout the 20th century, we have been through and continue to experience a period of profound change manifest everywhere in western civilization, socially, politically, culturally, intellectually, philosophically and psychologically. This transformation has been most apparent in the arts and the sciences of our century and it is there we must look to discover the meaning of that change and its consequences for society. These tandem sources of knowledge have, consciously and unconsciously, been offering clues for the past 100 years as to where we might be headed.

Every society has at its core an image of itself, a schema of how it operates, how it defines relationships, an image of how that society functions - an organizational space. During the course of the 20th century that schema, for western and probably world civilization, has changed in profound and fundamental ways from the clockwork mechanistic universe to something not yet defined. By exploring art and science, separately and as an ensemble, we can perhaps begin to understand that emerging space and how it works and thereby better understand, and possibly direct, the future evolution of our society.

The organizational space is at the same time a communication space, a visual space, an intuitional space, the space we call imagination and the way we see things operating. It will probably be at least another generation or two before we have consensus on the shape of that space, but if we are to believe what art and science have been saying, it is probable that that space will exist in time, be an interactive process and organised horizontally with a geometry quite different from the euclidian geometry of renaissance perspective.

With the explosion in telecommunications potential and its eventual merger with media, we are witnessing the creation the infrastructure of a new interactive communication space which will inevitably grow in importance and contain more and more of the personal space of each of us. It is our contention that this new space is, in many ways, the technical manifestation of the space described above. That it is the product of the artistic and scientific revolutions of our century, whereby art and science redefine our imaginary space and propose new sets of relationships, adding to our philosophical and psychological givens, time, interactivity and virtuality in a new emerging geometry. Seeing relationships is the stuff of art and of science. The new communication space will change our way of communicating with each other, the perception of the world around us and how we relate to it and to others.

The charter for art and industry that we are presenting here is a response to that change and a recognition that we can in fact begin to see what that new space may be through the artistic use of the evolving tools of communication. As stated in the document, the point of departure is the mutual recognition on the part of the art world and industry that a profound transformation is taking place in our society due to a radical shift in communication potential and that all actors concerned can address the issue and examine ways of collaboration and cooperation to assure the most beneficial use of this new potential for all of society.

People from industry, those of the world of art, culture and education, others responsible for government policy are all asking the same questions about the future of this new space and what it will mean to them and their constituencies. What decisions are to be taken in developing this important new means of communication and for what ends. The charter focuses on a small area of human activity, but with partners directly concerned by the issues, and proposes the beginning of a search for some answers to those questions.

Don Foresta
Paris, 11/97

An Introduction (introduction by Fernando Lagrana)

The Souillac Charter for Art and Industry

Uploaded 22 December 1997.


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