Founded in 2000, the Arts in Society Research Network offers an interdisciplinary forum for discussion of the role of the arts in society. It is a place for critical engagement, examination and experimentation, developing ideas that connect the arts to their contexts in the world. The Ninth International Conference on the Arts in Society in 2014 was focused on the subject “The Lives of Art” and featured plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field. Marco Mancuso was invited to lecture about the new cultural paradigm emerging from Media Art, new economies, open innovation and DIY.
We’ve got to start living with it, the future is here; those who do not take it in are lost. The twentieth-century sustenance models of artistic and cultural production are disappearing and our generation has not had the time to test them all the way. In Western countries, state subsidies for culture, as well as funds provided by enlightened (and interested) sponsors, are ever more scarce and concentrated in the hands of a few representatives of a social and economic elite that is busy occupying and consolidating its roles and positions.
The ability of what we refer to here as “Art Industries” is that of acting as catalysers and incubators of an increasingly popular form of grassroots artistic, economic and cultural production, linked to the usage of (new) technologies; and it is interesting to note how long the list of similar experiences is, both in recent times and with reference to the past century Avant-gardes. The new “Art Industries” highlight the need to operate by activating networks of acquaintances and contacts, integrating artists in the most appropriate productive circuits; designers and creative people belonging to increasingly liquid local/global networks that mirror a hybrid territory, interpenetrated by (in)experience and know-how.