A reality check on the creative industries
Talks, Discussions, Art, Workshops, Performances
20-21 November 2014, @TrouwAmsterdam
Wibautstraat 127, 1091 GL Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Tickets can be bought here.
Thursday 20 November
09:00 – 9:30 Doors open
9:30 – 9:45 Welcome by Geert Lovink
9:45 – 10:30 Why the Creative Industries do not exist
Opening talk by: Robert Hewison
10:30 – 12:00 Artistic Autonomy vs. the Creative Industries
Panelists: Josephine Berry Slater, Pascal Gielen & Klaar van der Lippe
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch break
13:00 – 14:30 Documentary Film: Pitching, Digitization and Authorship
Panelists: Sigrid Dyekjaer, Pieter van Huystee, Maria Tarantino & Morgan Knibbe
14:30 – 14:45 Tea break
14:45 – 16:15 Creative Production after the Creative Industries
Panelists: Joke Hermes, Marijke Hoogenboom & Ela Kagel
16:15 – 16:30 Book Launches: The Allure of the Selfie & The Volkskrant Building
16:30 – 20:00 Dinner break
20:00 – 22:00 Whatever Happens to Musicians Happens to Everybody
Talk by: Bruce Sterling
Friday 21 November
10:00 – 10:30 Doors open
10:30 – 12:00 The Creative City as Internet of (bright, young) Things
Panelists: Zach Blas, Rob van Kranenburg, Frank Rieger
12:00 – 12:15 Launch: The Crowdfunding Toolkit
12:15 – 13:15 Lunch pauze
13:15 – 15:15 MyCreativity Sweatshops
With: DIY 3D Design, Political Co-working, Parasitic Organising, First Aid Failed Projects, Masterclass Serendipity
Please register for the workshop you are interested in here.
15:15 – 15:30 Tea break
15:30 – 17:30 My Creativity, your Depression
Panelists: Pek van Andel, Sarah Sharma, Mark Fisher
10:15 – 11:00 Why the Creative Industries do not exist
In this opening talk Robert Hewison will be reporting on the latest attempts to reboot the ‘creative industries’ concept in Britain with the formation of the Creative Industries Federation. He will point to the continuing failure to establish a working definition of the creative industries, arguing that this is because there is no understanding of the economic gearing between ‘creativity’, the ‘creatives’ who practice it, and the organizations that seek to capitalize on it. Hewison will challenge the Throsby ‘concentric circle’ model of the relationship, arguing that artists are not at the center of anything; they exist at the margins. It is exactly here that creativity takes place and thus we need to think more in terms of clusters of activity and webs of connection. The value of the creative industries concept is that it challenges older hierarchical models of power and taste, which is why it is important to develop a better approach to the concept.
Independent writer, curator, journalist and cultural consultant Robert Hewison has published more than twenty books in the field of 19th and 20th century British cultural history. An authority on John Ruskin, he has held chairs at the Oxford, Lancaster and City Universities, and is an Associate of the Think Tank Demos. He has written on the arts for the Sunday Times since 1981. As a consultant he has worked for Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Clore Leadership Programme. His latest book, on cultural policies and politics in Britain between 1997 and 2012, Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain, is published by Verso.
11:00 – 12:30 Artistic Autonomy vs. the Creative Industries
The question of artistic autonomy has always been a complex and contested issue. As absolute independence from either the market or the state, artistic autonomy seems to be more an ideal than a realistic ambition. In the wake of the creative industries we increasingly understand artistic as an explicitly economic practice as well. Art as creative industry promises a plethora of new forms of artistic engagement in fields ranging from business innovation to urban development. While many artists embrace these new practices – either out of conviction or financial necessity – this raises the question of artistic autonomy with new urgency. What happens to the aesthetic and political impetus of l’art pour l’art when the creative industries increasingly subsume the artistic practice for functionalist purposes. Do the creative industries really represent a new and more sinister threat to artistic autonomy? And if so, how can/do artists fight back – if at all? What are effective strategies of resistance?
Besides her work as editor of Mute magazine, Josephine Berry Slater is Lab Lecturer for the Culture Industry MA, Goldsmiths College, and co-author with Anthony Iles of No Room to Move: Radical Art and the Regenerate City. She is currently writing a book on art and biopolitics.
Sociologist Pascal Gielen is director of the research center Arts in Society at Groningen University where he is Associate Professor in the Sociology of Art. He leads also the research group and book series ‘Arts in Society’ (Fontys School for Fine and Performing Arts, Tilburg). Gielen has written several books on contemporary art, cultural heritage and cultural politics.
Klaar van der Lippe works with Bart Stuart. They are both visual artists with a background in contemporary art and architecture. They work site-specific in an international context, collaborating in workshops hosted on different universities. With their studio on the NDSM wharf in Amsterdam, they are located in the heart of the logistics of gentrification. Therefore they have experience on all levels: planning strategies, participative design and the tension between politics and reality. They operate as explorers and conduct research on numerous topics, concerning politics and the public sphere, tourism, culture and self-governance.
13:00 – 14:30 Documentary Film: Pitching, Digitization and Authorship
The changing ways of financing, producing and distributing documentary films impacts both established and debuting filmmakers and producers today. Cuts in media foundations’ budgets, the increasing importance of international festivals and pitch forums, the popularisation of Video on Demand, and the ever-growing number of crowdfunding platforms impact producers and filmmakers in different ways. How have online funding models, the emergence of the pitch-culture, and the digitisation of the documentary film impacted the documentary film industry in terms of the type of documentaries that are being made and the ways in which they are distributed? Who benefits, and who loses?
Danish filmmaker Sigrid Dyekjær has produced over twenty documentary films during the last fourteen years. Among them Ai Weiwei – The Fake Case by Andreas Johnsen (recent winner of the film critics’ award in Denmark, the Bodil, and nominee at IDFA’s feature length competition in 2013), and Free the Mind by Phie Ambo. Sigrid is one of the most experienced producers in Denmark when it comes to the financing and production of both national and international documentary films. She teaches at the National Film School of Denmark and at DOK Incubator, an initiative supported by MEDIA, and she holds masterclass lectures at film schools around the world. Currently she is finishing Mikala Krogh’s film The Newsroom – off the record about the insides of a major Danish tabloid newspaper, which was selected for IDFA 2014, as well as Oscar-nominee Hanna Polak’s Something Better To Come, also released in 2014, and Phie Ambo’s new film Good Things Await, premièring at IDFA 2014 and the 2015 Berlinale.
Filmmaker Pieter van Huystee started his own production company in 1995. Since then he has produced 135 film projects, most of them documentaries, but also features, short films and single plays. He has worked with both renowned Dutch filmmakers like Johan van der Keuken, Heddy Honigmann, Renzo Martens and Boris Gerrets, as well as young and talented directors such as Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden. In 2000 Pieter van Huystee was awarded a Golden Calf, the highest distinction in the Dutch film industry, for his work as a producer. By combining daring with decisiveness, Pieter van Huystee Film has today become one of the leading Dutch independent production companies, highly regarded for the quality and wide range of its projects. Many of its documentaries and features have been screened at festivals all over the world and have received numerous awards.
Besides being a passionate filmmaker, Maria Tarantino is a food writer and thinker. She studied philosophy for several years before turning to journalism and documentary filmmaking. Her first film, about theatre inside a prison (Inside Out, 2009) was produced by Belgian television Canvas and shown on BBC. “Kubita” (2011, TV5) was a personal project about torture in Burundi. She set up her own production company, WILDUNDOMESTICATED, in 2012, to make Our City, a portrait of the capital of Europe, which premieres at IDFA 2014.
Morgan Knibbe graduated from the Dutch Film Academy in 2012 with his short experimental film A Twist in the Fabric of Space. The film was selected for IDFA and won a Wildcard from the Netherlands Film Fund, which gives young directors the opportunity to develop their own signature. He seized this opportunity to make Those Who Feel the Fire Burning. Morgan also directed the short film Shipwreck. It was awarded a Silver Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival 2014. In addition, the film was nominated for a European Film Award and is selected for AFI FEST, Camerimage and ZINEBI Bilbao. Those Who Feel the Fire Burning is Morgan’s first feature length documentary. He also did camera work for both Shipwreck and Those Who Feel the Fire Burning.
14:45 – 16:15 Creative Production after the Creative Industries
Creative industries policies ostensibly have the ambition to provide structural conditions in which artistic and creative activities can thrive economically. Yet, what is the real impact of these policies when it comes to the empirical reality of creative production? Does the creative industries paradigm indeed expand the possibilities for creative producers or simply force them into the neoliberal straight jacked masked by vacuous creative rhetoric? This panel looks closely at the current conditions of creative production through a variety of specific angles. What does it mean to be a creative producer today for groups as diverse as digital freelancers, designers, or theatre makers? We are going to look for emerging patterns, discuss alternatives, and highlight strategies for a politics of survival and subversion.
Media ethnographer Joke Hermes is a lector in Media, Culture and Citizenship at the InHolland University of Applied Sciences, teaches television and cross-media culture at the University of Amsterdam, and is one of the founding co-editors of the European Journal of Cultural Studies. She is fascinated by the way in which media use and media production become meaningful in everyday life. Her work focuses on the patterns in the stories that we build around who we are and want to be. In her current research she works with independent professionals in the creative industry to chart both the myths and the realities of their working lives and ambitions.
As head of research at the Amsterdam Theatre School, Marijke Hoogenboom leads the Performing Arts in Transition research group. Since 2003 she has also been in charge of the supra-faculty Artists in Residence program of Amsterdam School of the Arts. Hoogenboom was previously involved in the founding of DasArts, the international Master’s degree for various theatre disciplines, where she was also part of the artistic management. Until 2013 she was a member of the Grants Committee of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund; until 2011 she advised the Inter-University Center for Dance at the UdK in Berlin; and until 2010 she shared responsibility for international policy at the Dutch Council for Culture. She is currently an advisor for the Performing Arts Fund NL and also on the editorial board of the Routledge journal Performance Research and the Palgrave book series New Dramaturgies. In 2008 she received the Marie-Kleine Gartman Pen for artists and theatre commentators from the Dutch Stage Association.
Cultural producer Ela Kagel specialises in art, culture and technology. Since the mid-1990s she has produced and designed media art exhibitions, networked performances, mobile and location-based applications, as well as temporary spaces for cultural exchange. She has been a long-time collaborator and researcher at the Public Art Lab in Berlin, and from 2009 to 2011 she was a program curator for the Transmediale Festival for Art and Digital Culture in Berlin. While at Transmediale Ela developed the Free Culture Incubator, a series of workshops and events based on free and open culture. Central to Ela’s practice is supporting bottom-up initiatives deeply rooted in particular communities of practice. From this perspective she also established and curated Upgrade! Berlin in 2006 and founded SUPERMARKT in 2012, which is a creative resource center for Berlin. Ela currently works as the Director of SUPERMARKT, where she curates the cultural program and supports the everyday running of the organization.
20:00 – 22:00 Whatever Happens to Musicians Happens to Everybody
A lay-mendicant order of marginal conceptualists, the creative class varnishes the hand-basket to hell. Interns and oligarchs wrestle in the headlights of the juggernaut. Eternal prototypes, blown away like snow-drifts. If the ice is thin we might as well dance.
Author, journalist, editor, and critic Bruce Sterling is best known for his sci-fi novels. He also writes short stories, book reviews, design criticism, opinion columns, and introductions for books ranging from Ernst Juenger to Jules Verne. His non-fiction works include The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier (1992), Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years (2003), and Shaping things (2005). He is a contributing editor of WIRED magazine and writes a weblog. He has been the visionary in residence for the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam, and the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. In 2008 he was guest curator for the Share Festival of Digital Art and Culture in Torino, Italy. He has appeared in ABC’s Nightline, BBC’s The Late Show, CBC’s Morningside, on MTV and TechTV, and in Time, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fortune, Nature, I.D., Metropolis, Technology Review, Der Spiegel, La Stampa, La Repubblica, and many other venues.
10:30 – 12:00 The Creative City as the Internet of (bright, young) Things
As the creative city mutates into the smart city, we are promised a super-connected life where the objects that surround us organize themselves in an Internet of Things, keeping track of our needs and desires and fulfilling them in real time. While this prospect has captured the imagination of policy makers and big business, an increasing number of observers are alarmed about the potentially disastrous implications of digital wonderland. They see the danger of urban space being reengineered as a potentially endless rollout of sensor technologies to generate data for the new goldmine of data economies. Algorithmic pampering, they also warn us, will go hand in hand with intensified technologies of control that regulate our behavior down to the level of desires, emotions and affects. In this context, what are appropriate strategies and tactics for resistance. Is it possible at all to develop technologies ‘bottom-up’ for the empowerment of ‘smart citizens’? And what is the role of creative producers in all this: are they simply to follow the new technological imperatives or are there ways of transforming the smooth stream of data and control into truly participative infrastructures?
Artist, writer and curator Zach Blas engages technology, queerness and politics in his work. Currently he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo. Blas has exhibited and lectured internationally, most recently at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; the 2014 Museum of Arts and Design Biennial, New York; the 2014 Dakar Biennial; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and The Moving Museum, Istanbul. Zach has recently published writings in The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest; Women Studies Quarterly; and the anthology You are Here: Art after the Internet. His work has been written about and featured in Art Review, Frieze, Art Papers, Hyperallergic, Rhizome, Mousse Magazine, The Atlantic, and Al Jazeera America. Zach holds a PhD from the Graduate Program in Literature at Duke University and an MFA in Design Media Arts from UCLA.
In The Internet of Things Rob van Kranenburg critiques ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID (Network Notebooks 02, Institute of Network Cultures). He is co-founder of bricolabs and the founder of Council. Together with Christian Nold he published Situated Technologies Pamphlets 8: The Internet of People for a Post-Oil World. He currently works as Community Manager at the EU Project Sociotal. He is consultant to IoT China, Shanghai 2014. He Chairs AC8 – Societal Impact and Responsibility in the Context of IoT Applications of the IERC, The European Research Cluster on the IoT. Rob is Startupbootcamp Mentor for IoT & Big Data.
German hacker, author and internet activist Frank Rieger is a prominent speaker for the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) and often contributes to the yearly Chaos Communication Congress. Together with Felix von Leitner he produces a podcast called Alternativlos (alternative-less), which was awarded the title of German Political Podcast of the Year in 2011. Rieger regularly publishes articles in the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung. The CCC and its speakers received the Werner-Holtfort-Preis in 2012 for their citizen and human rights engagement. Rieger is the author of books such as Die Datenfresser (the Data-Eaters, 2011, with Constanze Kurz) and Effizienzwahn (Efficiency-mania, 2013).
13:00 – 15:00 MyCreativity Sweatshops
Please register for the workshop you are interested in here.
Coworking spaces as sources of political self-organization: a workshop for space designers, community managers, knowledge facilitators and freelance creatives. Today we see a trend of coworking centers, ‘fablabs’ and other collaborative spaces morphing into decentralised hubs for political movements and freelance practices. These self-organized cooperations need various spaces to meet different audiences and directly interact with local infrastructures. What is needed is an effective, mobile broking system rather than an ‘office.’ This calls to change the role of managers of collaborative spaces to that of hosts, communicators and knowledge facilitators. In what ways can we design these centers in order to make them sustainable and strong resources for creative workers and activist movements? During this workshop we will look into concrete examples of such spaces in order to understand what makes them thrive and how they can be useful for activist movements. This workshop aims to draw up an inventory of the vital aspects needed to design collaborative spaces, like knowledge management, facilitation of events and encounters, communication, and documentation.
If we want to put our ideas into practice we need money. That is if we adhere to the received wisdom that business is all about financial capital. However, perhaps there are other value systems which suit our ideas much better and which concentrate on social, cultural, or indeed symbolic capital. This workshop instructs practitioners how to actualize their ideas using all of these currencies. In fact it is often much easier to do so than with financial capital, because the most important things, such as passion, recognition and solidarity, cannot be bought with money. In this workshop we will detect streams of alternative assets and how they can be used to put ideas into practice.
First Aid Failed Projects
This workshop offers a critical reflection on the form of creativity in the creative industries. While cities compete for the hippest and most creative image, the business-friendly environments they create promote fast and disposable creativity. By introducing an element of play, and through the welcoming of failure, the participants in this workshop will go on a deeper quest, one without pre-set outcomes. By being playful and meaningful, reflections on how and why we are creative teach us to not just briefly touch, but rather fully embrace our creativity.
The workshop begins with a storyteller’s version of ‘The Three Princes of Serendip’ (1302) by Amir Khusrau, a great poet in the Persian language. Serendipity is a surprising observation followed by a correct abduction. The triggering surprise is an unanticipated, abnormal and crucial datum: an enigma, an anomaly, or a novelty. For the new, an unpredictable element is needed. Serendipity is by definition beyond intuition, imagination, fantasy or dream. There are three ways to find the new: non-serendipity (find the sought), pseudo-serendipity (find the sought by a crucial accident), and serendipity (find the unsought). Claude Bernard wrote: ‘Nothing is accidental, and what seems to us accidental is only an unknown fact whose explanation may furnish the occasion for a more or less important discovery.’ The behaviourist Burrhus Skinner advised: ‘When you run into something interesting, drop everything else and study it.’ As physicist Louis Leprince-Ringuet noted: ‘The true researcher must know to give attention to signs that will unveil the existence of a phenomenon that he does not expect.’
15:15 – 17:15 My Creativity, your Depression
Value creation in the networked economy is increasingly characterized by flexible and ephemeral relationships. We often imagine creative workers and entrepreneurs as cheerful explorers, engaged in the day-to-day fun of building new networks and having unexpected encounters leading to a ceaseless stream of discoveries and inventions. Work is serendipitous play with financial success coming to everyone who knows to combine flexibility and ‘passion’. Yet, what are the real costs – psychologically, culturally and economically – of a serendipitous mode of production that is predicated on the aleatory and ephemeral. Why is it that so much that is presented to us as innovative and creative smacks of vacuous repetition and mere simulation of novelty? This panel tries to look behind the imaginary of contemporary labor/entrepreneurship as a game of innovation, driven by fancy-free yet passionate creatives.
As an experimental ophthalmologist, Pek van Andel has worked together with Jan Worst to develop an artificial cornea that is used widely by the cornea blind. The simple device was honoured with the Wubbo Ockels innovation prize by the city of Groningen in 1994. Additionally, his MRI scans of the human sex act won the satiric Ig Nobel Prize for medicine, which awards research that makes people laugh and then think. Now also known as a serendipitologist, Van Andel has published several books on unsought findings and teaches classes on the subject around the world for university (PhD) students, as well as for investigators and managers of firms such as AKZONobel, Philips, Unilever, Nestlé, etc. He lectures on Ig Nobel Prize winners’ tours during Science Weeks in the UK, Denmark and Sweden.
Researcher Sarah Sharma is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research and teaching explores issues at the intersection of technology, labour, social space, and temporality. She has published essays and articles on autonomist politics and time (Journal of Communication Inquiry), bare life and the modern airport (Cultural Studies), brown space and the taxi after 9-11 (Cultural Studies), media, materiality and the taxi (Social Identities: Journal of Race, Nation and Culture), and the politics of stillness (M/C Journal of Media and Culture). She is the author of In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics (Duke University Press 2014).
Writer Mark Fisher is the author of Capitalist Realism (2009) and Ghosts Of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (2014). His writing has appeared in many publications, including The Wire, Frieze, the Guardian and New Humanist. He is Program Leader of the MA in Aural and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has also produced two acclaimed audio essays in collaboration with Justin Barton: londonunderlondon (2005) and On Vanishing Land (2013).
Additional Programming: Organisations and Artists
With Dictator Chips, Virginie Moerenhout politicizes products we take for granted by emphasizing their connection to dictatorial regimes around the world. By putting the faces of authoritative leaders of countries around the world onto the packaging of an everyday product like potato chips, Moerenhout, raises the issue of nations that champion democracy having covert financial and business ties with regimes they publicly criticize severely. She asks ‘if dictatorships are evil, then why do we do such good business with them?’
Max Dovey is a master student in Media Design & Communication at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. Using elements of performance, theater and new media, he researches the use of networked technologies in public space. Max Dovey will be performing a Zero Hour Contract song which allows the audience to finally really engage with the small print of an employer’s favorite kind of commitment.
SMartNL is a non-profit organisation that offers solutions and services for creative and cultural professionals who work by the project. While providing freelancers with transparency regarding when they will be paid and how to save money, the organisation also works to create a network between the creatives it caters to, and facilitates knowledge exchange and collaboration.
Designers Lasse van den Bosch Christensen and Marlon Harder of Template critique design contest platforms such as 99designs. While the clients offer a small monetary reward for the one lucky winner after choosing from many possible options, the design-crowd enters into a half-hidden and unpaid labor system that does away with individuality. The clients can create design briefs through the use of contrast-sliders (feminine-masculine, young-mature, loud-quiet), and as the designers start creating and copying, they fight for a glorified bounty of next to nothing.