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What is the future of arts infrastructures and audiences across North Africa and the Middle East?

Burak Arikan
8 May 2014

1. What role do the arts play in producing an idea of a future, or, indeed, producing future realities? Art's role in the production of the future is that it maintains a certain public sphere for the possibility of imagination.


2. What do speculations of the future tell us about the concerns of the present and the legacies of the past? Future speculation bridges the present to the past.


3. How do institutions map potential futures? Institutions map potential futures by connecting the dots.


4. How can we imagine new infrastructures and institutions in the context of architectural, institutional, and practical realities? Better imagine now, rather than later.


5. What will future audiences look like and how will culture continue not only to negotiate social activity, political engagement and critical practices, but their future sustainability as ideals? The future audience is already here.


6. How will the changing nature of audiences challenge, if at all, the long-term sustainability of arts institutions? Art institutions will be either become temples or community places.


7. What role does education have in developing audiences and what role, crucially, do institutions expect audiences to fulfil? Education is necessary, especially for connecting to people and institutions from non-art spheres.


8. What is the role of the institution today in terms of developing infrastructures that respond to the needs of the times? Art institutions do not necessarily build infrastructures. But it would be great to see them support the production of tools that can be reused by generations and that would belong to the commons.


9. How have technological advances changed the way institutions interact with audiences? Digital access changed the value of the physical experience forever.


10. Is disengagement with institutions the best way to imagine new forms of systemic practice and self-organized, socially engaged art practices? No.


11. How do forms of self-organizations re-articulate the function, or, indeed, rationale of institutions? Self-organization redistributes power.


12. What is actually needed in terms of infrastructure for culture and its more discursive elements – the way in which it impacts on public space or civil society, for example? The vision to support the production of solid tools and systems for art and culture.

Burak Arikan

is an Istanbul and New York based artist working with complex networks. He takes the obvious social, economical, and political issues as input and runs through abstract machinery, which generates network maps and algorithmic interfaces, results in performances, and procreates predictions to render inherent power relationships visible and discussable. Arıkan's software, prints, installations, and performances have been featured in numerous institutions internationally; most recent appearances include: 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013), Home Works 6, Beirut (2013), 11th Sharjah Biennial (2013), 7th Berlin Biennale (2012), Nam June Paik Award Exhibition, Kunstmuseum Bochum (2012), Truth is Concrete, Graz (2012). Arikan is the founder of Graph Commons platform, dedicated to provide 'network intelligence' for everyone.

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