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Hafiz Juma

TEDxDar

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Is the new TED initiative of "Ads Worth Spreading" worth supporting?

http://www.ted.com/pages/initiatives_ads_worth_spreading_about

I am pretty sure I will come off sounding like a hyper-critical pseudo-leftist sympathizer by putting this question up for debate. However, I feel it relates to a growing trend in contemporary life.

Firstly, is the TED initiative an endorsement of capitalism? Or to add a layer of criticism, is this a push towards cultural commodity fetishism as illustrated by Marx and elaborated by Benjamin? What happens in a society when the lines between culture, art, commerce, 'philanthropy' and development are blurred.

Or are we simply to accept that there exists a distinction between Art and Culture and the Art and Cultural industries? If so, how does that affect how we relate to things like TED, Museums and Academic institutions? Are we still capable of taking content at face value? Especially when a clear trajectory of an agenda surfaces (see TED and Africa, TED and Women, TED and the Acumen Fund)- albeit for an ultimately 'good' cause or one with seemingly good intentions?

On the other hand, if the only alternative to an Art as an industry is Art as therapy, is all art produced, regardless of intended implications (whether it be for a cause that is capital-averse or humanitarian, what is Art? Is it a socially dependent process requiring audience and a connotation of value?

I think this is a complex question that requires debate, however, does this inevitably take us to the conclusion that art is inherently capital-driven?

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    Mar 29 2011: Art according to Joseph Conrad:

    art was an attempt to render the highest justice to the visible universe: that it tried to find in that universe, in matter as well as in the facts of life, what was fundamental, enduring, essential. The writer's method of attaining the essential was different from that of the thinker or the scientist. These, said Conrad, knew the world by systematic examination. To begin with the artist had only himself; he descended within himself and in the lonely regions to which he descended, he found "the terms of his appeal". He appealed, said Conrad, "to that part of our being which is a gift, not an acquisition, to the capacity for delight and wonder... our sense of pity and pain, to the latent feeling of fellowship with all creation - and to the subtle but invincible conviction of solidarity that knits together the loneliness of innumerable hearts... which binds together all humanity - the dead to the living and the living to the unborn."

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