City know thyself - Chicago Art and the City colloquium


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Presentation given to Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, on June 7 2011 at a colloquium on the City and the Arts.

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  • © Alan Freeman 2011Creative Commons License: you may freely distribute but may not use for commercial gain.Please obtain author’s permission before disseminating or citingIn this presentation, I will show that things society now thinks of as luxuries – art, education, social care, health, beauty, the built environment, the free development of the individual, and indeed, human rights – have become necessities. We have to invest in them, because they are the way out of the present crisis.The reason is that creativity – the most fundamentally human capacity – has become the principal productive resource of the age. It is the foundation of a new paradigm of production.Moral decency and social justice, for the first time in human history, have become essential pre-requisites of economic success.To grasp this, a paradigm shift is needed. These slides preset some hard facts and figures that show why this is the case.
  • The concept of techno-economic paradigm isdue to Carlota Perez.At great, recurrent moments of change in human history, or at least in the history of capitalism, major shifts take place in the technology that drives society. When the steam engine arrived, it didn’t just bring coal from Darlington to Stockton. It introduced a new age, of travel, machinery, and power. It changed the face of the world. Concrete, steel and electricity created the new world of Chicago, New York, and Winnipeg in the Belle Epoqueyears at the start of the last Century. And the age of the motor car changed the world altogether between the Depression Years and modern times.In every previous change, we find that people do not realise what is happening in front of their eyes. They continue thinking in the old ways and reacting in the old ways. In Marx’s words from The Civil War in France, the dead weigh like a nighmare on the brains of the living.A new shift in technology has taken place in front of our eyes – but, for the most part, we haven’t noticed. The element of design, of distinction, aesthetics and variety, has become the driving force of advanced production and, above all, of the industries where value-added is highest.The chart shows the biggest old-technology company in the world – Exxon. And it shows five of the seven media conglomerates, together with Apple, the most design-oriented of the computer companies. The critical thing about Apple is that you don’t buy an iPod because it is cheap, because it is fast, or because of any of the old measures of performance. You buy it for its distinctiveness, and for its capacity to serve you with distinctions; with the music you want, the pictures you want, and the apps you want.This is the foundation of the creation economy
  • Every new consumption paradigm walks hand in hand with a new production paradigm.The basis of the new production paradigm is design; its core technology is not a ‘thing ‘ – the internet, the microchip, or the telephone. It is a kind of labour – creative labour.Carlota introduced me to a couple of relevant ideas : the notion of a carrier technology and those of driver and core technologies.The internet is a carrier technology, like transport: it profoundly modifies the way humans interact. Most important, it has revolutionised the service relation. It has abolished the Baumol paradox. It allows human service activity such as talking, writing, or making images – to be displaced indefinitely over distances, over time, and to be reproduced almost without limit. It has made human labour and above all the labour of design, into the distinctive technology – the driver technology – of the age.People have made the mistake of calling this the ‘information’ or ‘knowledge’ age. This is still old thinking, the thinking that believes things and machines are the fundamental source of wealth. The OECD ‘knowledge’ index adds together PhDs and PCs, as if PCs were a substitute for humans. To the contrary, PCs change, fundamentally, what humans do and are capable of. Actually, they make clear what the difference between humans and machines really consist of. This new economy is not an ‘information’ economy. It is a creation economy.
  • A great talent of artists and designers, is looking at things differently. Economists are not quite so good but we have tricks up our sleeves.These figures are from Will Page, chief economist with the Performing Rights Society (PRS). Will has access to data drawn from royalty returns, and he can make good estimates – and predictions that I have come to trust – about trends in musical consumptionThe solid chart shows the death of recorded media. Sales fall every year. The record companies treated these figures like most of the industry as a sign of doom and gloom. They were wedded to the old way of thinking, which focussed on the material product, and treated file downloading as a menace.But income from Live performance – the bar chart - was going up every year, entirely making up the difference in spending lost as a result of cheaper downloads. People didn’t stop spending on music –they’ve saved what they used to spend on recordings, and spend it on performance. They focussed on delivery, on distinction, on aesthetics.
  • Long booms, like that of 1893-1914, or 1942-1968 , don’t happen on their own. They come about through conscious action, both public and private, to change, radically, the basis on which society functions, by removing the obstacles to the general introduction of the new technology and the social changes that depend on it.I’m going to introduce two of these only in this talk: the way labour works and the way cities work.I’ll take labour first. According to old thinking, the only thing you need to make a product is a factory – four walls, a roof, a space in between, and some machinery in it. According to the old thinking, production means using machines to make things.Modern ‘soft’ innovation, modern creative production, and even simple, everyday design, don’t work like that. Creative activities are becoming the driving force of production. The artists, musicians, technicians, software geeks, performers, designers – these are the resourcesthat the new technology needs. At present, we don’t know how to invest in people. This is what will have to change.Thirty years ago, we thought that machines would take over the world, and people would be dispensed with. It hasn’t happened like that. Design is a uniquely human capacity. Creation is a uniquely human activity.My definition of creative labour: labour that you can’t replace with a machine.The main resource of the creative industries: people, talent, artistic understanding, aesthetic judgment.That’s what we have to invest in. That means reconstituting social values, which is what people require: education, care, health, and above all environment. Environment, here, refers to both natural and built environment: it refers to what urban planners call place.Place is space, plus what happens in the space: a dance hall, a cinema, a gallery, a city square: these are all Places.
  • According to old thinking, the only thing you need to make a product is a factory – four walls, a roof, a space in between, and some machinery in it.Modern ‘soft’ innovation, modern creative production, and even simple, everyday design, don’t work like that. Creative activities are either project driven, or are based on highly interlinked units, each adding its own particular skill – the motley crew principle. What a creative city must offer is the whole range of artistic and design capabilities that are needed to bring a new product into existence.The artists, musicians, technicians, software geeks, performers, designers – these are the resource that the new technology needs. This is a fundamental paradigm shift.
  • City know thyself - Chicago Art and the City colloquium

    1. 1. Alan Freeman London Metropolitan University
    2. 2.    This was presented to a symposium on “the Future of the City and the Arts” organized by the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago on June 5th 2011 Special thanks to Betty Farrell, Mitch Marr, and the team For more information see       Slideshow from ‘My City’s Still Breathing’, Winnipeg 2010 Slideshow from Winnipeg Mayor’s luncheon for the arts ‘London: A cultural Audit’ Reports on creative industries from the GLA These will all be posted during 2014
    3. 3. Instrumental benefit • Economic benefits (the ‘creative industry’ agenda) • Other social goals (such as health, social cohesion, well-being, poverty reduction and crime reduction) Intrinsic merit • A desirable goal of human life Expressing identity • ‘Fourth Pillar’ (Hawkes) • Beasley ‘love your city’ • Branding
    4. 4. $bn Assets (2010 reported valuation) Viacom $500 News Corp $400 Time Warner $300 Disney $200 Apple $100 Sony $0 Exxon Media Exxon
    5. 5. Demand for creative products UK families 1992-2004 Billions of Pounds Sterling Demand for creative products by UK families, 1992-2004 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 Food products Creative products
    6. 6. Millions of Pounds Sterling Demand for creative products UK businesses 1994 and 2004 100 80 60 1994 40 2004 20 0 Advertising, Architecture, Software Banking and Finance
    7. 7. Chart 1: proportion of employees in the service industries in industrialised countries Chart 2: proportion of employees in major sectors, China 90% 90% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% UK US Japan 80% Services Manufacturing 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% Germany 10% 0% 0% 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 10% 1948 1952 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996 2000 2004 employee jobs in services as percent of total employee jobs 80% Jobs in major economic sectors as proportion of total Agriculture
    8. 8. UK revenue from music Recorded Primary Recorded Secondary Live Primary Live Secondary £million 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
    9. 9. What is creative capacity?     The productive paradigm has changed The old idea that machines are replacing people has reversed Design is king The main required resource is people
    10. 10. The conflict between diversity and comparability
    11. 11. 206,000 172,000
    12. 12. Most of the authors are not British Most of the readers are not British So what’s going on?
    13. 13. Australia English language South Asia writers Africa Canada UK UK US US Canada Africa English Language readers South Asia Australia
    14. 14. It connects the parts of the region to each other It connects the region to other regions
    15. 15. Copyright James O. Jenkins M:07876341910 email
    16. 16. The populations of the region mingle in each city Business, government, and ideas come from other cities to exchange
    17. 17. The successful modern city provides the facilities for interchange. It cannot do this as an empty shell; it has to be culturally alive Because culture is the vehicle of exchange.
    18. 18. The city as factory Place Capacity Identity
    19. 19. (and should we measure it at all)
    20. 20. Economic (revealed) value Social (concealed) value • Output • Willingness to Pay • Jobs • Subjective Well-Being • Firms Revealed Cultural Activity User-generated data • Audiences • ‘own-use’ data generated by user communities projects with grants, web communities, etc • Sites • Participation • Diversity • Qualitative indicators (eg ‘buzz’) • ‘Industry’ data: Prizes, reviews, accolades, selfevaluations
    21. 21.      Cultural data is intrinsically contested It took 200 years to agree on what ‘GDP’ was (not defined until 1945) Most economic measures are completely out of date (what is ‘agriculture’?) A standard will not fall from the sky It must be created by communities of users