Territory: Culture Industry and Digital Media
In response to this invited speakers will explore various areas of cultural practice including cultural criticism, artistic, curatorial and entrepreneural practice.
In its original sense, the culture industry (introduced by the Frankfurt School in 'The Dialectic of Enlightenment', 1944) is in itself a contradictory term setting the culture against its antithesis in industry - referring to the production of mass culture and including such areas of mass communication as radio, TV, press, film/cinema. The account proposed by Adorno and Horkheimer suggests that consumers in late capitalism are deprived of free-choice, and that use-value has been brought under the control of producers due to the power of mass media and advertising in particular. This places the consumer in an awkward if not passive position, and characterises electronic media technologies as necessarily authoritarian (in one-to- many communication). On the other hand, the common view held by new media commentators is to argue that networked digital technologies break this power relation between producers and consumers (in many-to-many communication). However, Adorno and Horkheimers position is to argue that consumption may serve to express a deep awareness of the damage that capitalism is inflicting upon consumers who, in turn, develop a range of effective strategies to use the system to their own advantage. Are these also the strategies employed by practitioners from various areas of cultural practice?
aims to reconsider
the culture industry in response to an evolving cultural
landscape shaped by the advent of new technologies.