Anilla Cultural Latinoamérica Europa. The challenge of continuity

This post summarizes a common trajectory of the centers involved in Anilla Cultural Latinoamérica-Europa and the challenges faced by their community.

Fragment of Oscillation of Propagated Sound Waves. The Popular Science Monthly (1878).

Fragment of Oscillation of Propagated Sound Waves. The Popular Science Monthly (1878). Source: The Internet Archive.

The Anilla Cultural Latinoamérica Europa originated in a context of profound local and global transformations. It would have been impossible for the network to emerge or grow without the extraordinary tools provided by the digital revolution, but it would be wrong to limit its scope to the sphere of cyberculture. Although the high speed of technological change is a key factor in the way we conceive 21st century culture, we should nonetheless avoid falling into non-critical fascination with new technologies. What is really at stake is the emergence of a more democratic, open and distributed culture. A less hierarchical culture in which new ways of creating and managing processes, networks and platforms challenge the traditional modus operandi, or, in other words, change our ways of spreading knowledge and accessing the production and reproduction of content, and thereby transform genres, formats and programming styles, and also familiar forms of ‘prescription’.

Since the first face-to-face meeting in Sao Paulo almost four years ago, the member-institutions of the Anilla network have shared an emergent body of theory and a need for practical implementations that would favour the common ground without ignoring the differences specific to each context. All of us, in one way or another, are setting up peer to peer relationships in a horizon of distributed networks that may make it possible to overcome the limits of centralised and decentralised networks. We also share a clear consensus on the need to evolve towards a Citizen Internet that will put the Internet of scientists and experts into its proper historical perspective, along with the Internet being created by IT multinationals. Anilla members have engaged in intense discussions about the role of artists in this new scenario and about the evolution of the entity formerly known as “audience”. And all agree on activating enduring links between the sciences and the humanities, in spite of the strong resistance and prejudices that still prevail.

This initial pooling of ideas turned out to be crucial for understanding the work that has been carried out in the ensuing years. It has been a consistent effort, with weekly meetings and shared projects, not without problems and contradictions, but with a promising balance that offers a clear insight into the obstacles and challenges that the Anilla Cultural will face in the coming years.

  • The systemic economic crisis is undoubtedly one of the most influential factors. The traditional cultural industries are in crisis, funding for culture and education continues to shrink, and it is by no means easy to secure the basic funds to ensure that a project of this nature can thrive.
  • As a result, we have to innovate in seeking potential funding, to investigate national and international cooperation programmes as well as alternative fundraising sources that have sprung up in recent years, such as crowdfunding.
  • The self-criticism sessions held at the start of this year also allowed us to detect, in a transparent manner, the factors that depend on internal working methods, on the conceptual and formal contributions made by each member-institution, on technical problems, and on the obstacles that stem from time zone differences.
Nueva Ágora. Anilla Cultural Latinoamérica-Europa.

Nueva Ágora. Anilla Cultural Latinoamérica-Europa.

The fact is that, leaving aside the existing handicaps, the Anilla Cultural Latinoamérica-Europa is currently an active network of institutions, groups and collectives that has created some unprecedented experiences in Spanish and Latin American culture over the past five years. Even though it has not yet reached its full potential. The future challenge now is tied up with the continuity and evolution of the processes, networks and platforms that have made this project possible. The incorporation of new members such as the Uruguay node, and potential new recruits such as Mexico, are a prime incentive for the expansion of the working programme. The projects in progress for 2014 are another crucial incentive. But above all, the awareness that we are contributing with humility, hard work and perseverance to a local and global conversation around the meaning and definition of culture in the twenty-first century. A culture in which everybody knows something, but nobody knows everything. A culture among peers; a more open, democratic, horizontal and distributed culture.

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Anilla Cultural Latinoamérica Europa. The challenge of continuity