Anyone who is sceptical about the power of social media should compare this fromÂ The Guardian this morning â€œGuardian gagged from reporting parliamentâ€ with the twitter stream forÂ #Trafigura. Trafigura, you will remember, are the company responsible for dumping lethal toxic waste in Ivory Coast. The overwhelming sharing of information about the attempt to gag a newspaper from parliamentary reporting is nowÂ online here thanks to The Spectator who no doubt feel empowered by the fact that the genie is already out of the bottle on Twitter.
EDIT: At 1.00pm came this tweet from Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian:
Thanks to all tweeters for fantastic support over past 16 hours! Great victory for free speech.#trafigura
Sometimes itâ€™s worth asking the questions that are so big people people only raise them shortly before last orders. Kudos to Art 21 | blog who have been running a series of what they call â€œFlash Pointsâ€ over the last few months. Their topics have included Whatâ€™s So Shocking About Contemporary Art? and How Can Art Affect Political Change?
Theyâ€™ve just started a new strand with What Is The Value of Art, introduced by Beth Allen:
The questions of how art is valued and how it is monetized inevitably overlap: artworks perceived as â€œimportantâ€ yield high prices at auction; economic development funding goes to out-of-the-way cultural institutions that bring high quality programming and consequently, tourists, to their neighborhoods; exhibitions that push boundaries attract grants from foundations dedicated to promoting free speech; arts education is consistently underfundedâ€¦ Buried within questions about the economics of art, are assumptions and often, judgments, about its value that beg to be examined: How is the value of an artistâ€™s intellectual versus physical labor calculated? Are collectible works valued differently than ephemeral projects? How does individual â€œtasteâ€ and critical reception affect the value of an artwork, exhibition, or institution? What factors influence the way we value an artistic experience, as individuals and as a society? How do we quantify the intangible benefits that art education provides? How do we talk about the subtle and personal value that art has in our lives?
And, of course, theyâ€™re looking for contributors to stir the pot.
Image:Â Photo of Fear Eats The Soul [date unknown] by Rirkrit Tiravanija taken at Gavin Brownâ€™s Enterprise, November 22 2008 by j-No