Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires Talks | Masterclass: What the Future Holds for Art and Technology

Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires Talks | Masterclass: What the Future Holds for Art and Technology


Good afternoon. My name Yasuhiko Genku Kimura, I’m from Japan. Now I live
in the United States. I’m a Zen Buddhist priest
and a philosopher. Three, actually, four,
five years ago, my dear friend Rafael
and I founded BFF, Berlin Future Forum, along with our dear
friend Alec Oxenford. Now BFF, as you know, stands
for Best Friends Forever. And we are, in fact,
best friends forever. Now, B. Let me just go over a little
bit about this B Future Forum. So, Berlin Future Forum is a forum for sustained future, creating
conversations from the future. Some of you may have heard a
quote from Mahatma Gandhi that says, “Be the change
that you want to make.” Also there’s a great visionary
inventor from America, Buckminster Fuller. He said the best way to predict
the future is to design it. So our intention is to have sustained,
ongoing, future-creating conversations by being not only
in the future, but in the possibility that is the future. Many of you know Apple has the
slogan “Think different.” In order for you to think different
you need to be different. So we are having this ongoing
conversation to create a future by placing ourselves
in a different place of our imagination and creating the future from the future. So today, and the next two days, we are
meeting in this beautiful Buenos Aires, having these future-
creating conversations. And in conjunction with arteBA, we want to focus our
conversation more on the art, but you cannot really
separate art from technology, science, and actually, philosophy. I invented the term
“technoartescience,” in fact that maybe the future
of science, art and technology. So before we start our discussion I
would like my colleagues to introduce themselves briefly and then
we’ll start the discussion. [Rafael Steinhauser] Very well, I speak in
Spanish, I am Argentinean. I was born here but I lived
abroad many years ago. I left in 1975, so many of you
hadn’t even been born in that time. But I traveled the world. I live in Brazil now and I am
active in various disciplines, both in the business world and the
theater, I am a theater actor, and also in the
world of thought, creating this initiative
called Berlin Future Forum. A reflexive initiative, in this case about the
future thinking of mankind. I’ll pick up here afterwards and
share a little bit more. Thank you. How are you? My name is Alec Oxenford.
I am the president of arteBA. I am very happy to be here
today with each one of you. I am also a member of Berlin Future Forum.
I am an entrepreneur. I founded DeRemate, OLX, and recently, Letgo. And I’m exited to have this
conversation about two worlds I feel strongly passionate
about technology and art. And as Yasuhiko was saying, they
are absolutely interconnected in ways that are not
that obvious sometimes. So, thank you for being here. My name is Fred Turner
and I’m a poet. I was born in England and
raised in Central Africa by my parents who were
anthropologists. Some of you may have
heard of Victor Turner, who studied ritual, human ritual. And I was educated at Oxford University
and I’m very honored to be here. I’m a professor at the School
of Arts and Humanities at the University
of Texas, Dallas. And I say, these
colleagues here of mine are simply astonishing me. And
this city is so beautiful. Hello, my name is Enrico Bauer. I’m from Switzerland. And it’s my first
time here in Argentina, Buenos Aires. I have learned that I
have relatives here. From my Italian side. So if one of you is part of that
family, please let me know. OK. Found one. I’m interested in art, I
had my own art gallery. I’m a collector of art. I’m an engineer. I’m a business consultant and I
have founded about 15 companies. And I’m very interested in
spirituality and the relation to art, technology, and the development of
our society in a sustainable way. So, we are going to
open this discussion. In Berlin Future Forum when we talk about
the future of technology and art or art and technology, we approach this from the perspective
of the evolution of consciousness. You just can’t imagine the art
and technology and science forming a triple helix, evolving. If we are left behind, there’ll
be a huge problem in society. So you’d like to see the
human consciousness also evolve. And if the human
consciousness evolves, what kind of technology and art and
science would humanity be able to create? And in that context I would like to
ask my colleagues two questions. They are very similar, but
fundamentally different. The first question is: What
does the future hold for art? Second question is: What does
art hold for the future? What does art hold for
the future means that there is a tremendous
possibility that is inherent in art, yes? Given that possibility, what
kind of future does art hold. But then beyond art there are a range of
possibilities that are variable for humanity. In the context of that
possibility, that future, what that future
holds for the art. They are different questions,
yeah? And my colleagues can answer either
question or both questions. And then we want to open the space for all
of you to discuss these things together. As I said, I am a philosopher and our
job is to think and make people think. So our intention is for you
to think together with us so that you start to
sweat in your head, and by the time we
leave this place, our intention is for all of
us to have a new insight. Yes. OK. So… Rafael. You see, too
much light from my head. Sorry. I can’t help being enlightened. Yes. Well, I’ll stand. Maybe a little bit of history. Some ages, some periods, break the shackles
of the past to create the future. But there are some periods that
break the shackles of the present to create the future. Sometimes we recover our capacity
for art by going back to the past. That’s what the Renaissance did. How can I put it… We live on the surface
of the present. The future is what we
are going to make. The world is expanding
into a space that we can do anything with. The only thing, the only resource we
have is where we’ve been already. The materials for making art
are the materials of the past. And I want to give an example
from the great poet of England… William Shakespeare. I could have chosen Cervantes, Dante,
or Goethe, the great German poet. But let me talk a little
bit about Shakespeare. Here we have somebody who is making
an entirely new kind of drama, he is making a new kind of poetry. Revolutionizing drama,
though people who said, ‘You know, Shakespeare
wasn’t making real tragedy because it was different
from Aristotle’s tragedy.’ But now we recognize that
Shakespeare’s tragedy is, in a sense, more tragic even than
Aristotle’s tragedy. So how did he do this? Shakespeare was
making the future but he was using old forms. He was bringing in new forms,
bringing in old forms. His sonnets, he borrowed the
sonnet form from Petrarch, the Italian poet, a hundred years,
more than a hundred years before. He turned it to new uses. To new uses. Right now we are living in a
period where for a hundred years really since Dada,
since Dada, we have been
systematically questioning all of our old forms of art, all
of our old ideas about art. We said, does painting have
to paint pictures of things? Maybe we should make
abstract paintings? We said… Does poetry have to have meter and
rhyme and stanza, and all of those forms? We said… Should actors be making the
audience sympathize with them? Brecht says, ‘No!’ We should have an
alienation effect, Verfremdungseffekt. That the audience shouldn’t be allowed
to identify with the character. In music we went away from tonality
and went into the twelve tone row. Well, that is a kind of tonality, but then you end up with
Stockhausen and Cage and so on. These were really important questions. But maybe one of the things
we were doing was breaking something down
so that we could rebuild it. Let me… I want to recite a
sonnet of Shakespeare’s, and this is Shakespeare
using an old form and making absolutely new. So here it goes. ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the
darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath
all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, (As it does now) And often is his
gold complexion dimmed And every fair from fair sometimes declines, By chance, or nature’s
changing course, untrimmed: But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of
that fair thou ow’st, Nor shall death brag thou
wand’rest in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st, So long as men can
breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and
this gives life to thee.’ So he is using this old form
and giving it new life. And I think in the next, I
see in the next fifty years, the next hundred years, I see
that we’re going to recover all of those arts of beauty, we are
going to recover the idea of beauty, but having been through all the questioning
that it needed to go through. Thank you. Well I’m glad I’m
not the translator. Sorry! But I’m sure it came over
very well in Spanish as well. Well if we go back to
the origins of art you may recall some of the
paintings that our predecessors, 30, 40 thousand years ago
left in the caves, like images of hands. Then, art was not a separate
thing from everyday life. You couldn’t buy the cave or
the artwork and sell it. Or do something crazy with it. It was just a part of
an expression of life. Art was a means to an end. A means to progress, to
expand consciousness, to expand the understanding of humanity. And now we are at the
point where we realize that art should maybe
rediscover that innate function and not be externalized as a
materialistic development just for the sake of investment,
for the sake of concept. And in that sense, I think the
future of art will be a rediscovery of art in its original view,
in its original function, closely connected to the hearts
of people, to the communities, to signs nowadays, through the potential
of technology and art to bring that all together and to help
humanity grow and further develop. And art in that sense,
understanding its original form, will bring us a new future that
is more playful, more explorative. Also, it will solve problems
that we can’t solve from the point of view where
we have created them. Even problems of sustainability, of war,
whatever we encounter in this world, art is a means of reconnecting to
our pure essence and being. Thank you. It’s a difficult question
what Yasuhiko proposes. In the Berlin Future Forum we are occupied
with studying how the world is today and what are the opportunities that open
up with these disruptive agents, especially in the
world of technology that are generating great
advancements in connectedness, communication, in the field
of artificial intelligence, in a fifth generation
of cellular phones, in the singularity that is going in search
of the end, death or life’s limits, in a world of abundance
that technology offers us, but that at the same time brings
along important challenges. Also in the discussions that are going
on today in the world of thought and the social and political world
we are going through in Argentina, but also in the
world as a whole. And what we want to analyze is
how these important disruptions can serve us perhaps to seek a world
that tends towards evolution, in the positive sense of evolution. And in this line, I would like
to make a few observations about the analyses we
currently have at hand concerning technology, and there are at least two. Firstly, the fact that since
Newton’s and Descartes’ days we have mechanized
our thought model and turned increasingly
into societies where individuals specialize
in only one thing. Either I am an
artist or a doctor, I am a technician or a
philosopher, etc. And within medicine I have to get a
specialization in nose, throat, or hearing. And within nose, I
specialize in left nose… So we, human beings, lose our holistic
vision, we lose our sense of rationality. When I say rationality, I mean, one
thing is to have a certain logic or to be intelligent
in a specific area and another thing is to know if
what we are doing makes sense not only for us now, but for
us as evolutionary beings, for the society we live in,
for the world we inhabit, for the universe, for the future. In this way, I think it’s important
that we reintegrate as human beings and that we develop all the areas
of knowledge that are important. Development in the
cognitive, the emotional, the intellectual, and the spiritual realm. The other observation
is the disconnection that we have had in the past centuries
between, on the one hand our real, material, and terrestrial world existence,
and on the other, our spiritual realm. Because at the end of it all
we are spiritual beings and we are very disconnected from that.
And this entails a great risk. The risk of taking decisions in the
political and economical sphere, in business, in life,
that are not necessarily aligned with, to say it in a
way, our superior realms. In my case I’ve had a very interesting
life experience in which, fortunately, I’ve been able to pursue
my curiosities and to be, at the same time, the president of a
large Latin American technology company, Qualcomm, that is a world leader
in cellphone technology, and also a theater actor. I have a play that is currently in the
theater, another two which I am preparing. One as an actor and the other
one as the playwright. I’ve founded the theater festival of
Brazil, the best in its kind, MITsp. Two years ago we created the first school
in Latin America for creative arts, the University for
Creative Arts. I’m an investor in a lot
of startups and companies and at the same time I work
in the universe of thought with Yasuhiko, for
example, in BFF. So, with all of this I want
to prove that it is possible today, without disregarding the
urgencies and needs that everybody has. For instance, I have a family;
my wife is present here, three beautiful daughters,
and a private life. All of this can be compatible. And lastly I would like to go over
the challenges that this entails. I’ve made it, but maybe it took me
too many years to get to where I am. Why can’t we imagine the
possibility of having all the kids being educated in school
or growing up with their families, learn to recognize themselves
as holistic people that explore all the levels
of life. Like I said, the cognitive, emotional,
intellectual, and spiritual, the physical level, at the same time,
in harmony and in equilibrium. The other challenge, and this
has to do with education and certainly with the culture, is
how to really reconnect ourselves to our highest origin, the spiritual
world, as spiritual beings that we are. Thank you. OK. I’m not even going to try to compete
with philosophers, thinkers, and poets so I’m just going to
make a few observations about a more
terrestrial present. I hope they are interesting
to help us think. I believe there are
several things happening in terms of technology
and art evolution. First, I would like to say
that technology is helping us understand the art of the past, which is
very relevant because it is our art. We are the accumulated product of the
infinite history behind us, the past. That is what we are today. To the extent that we fully understand
that we are going to have a better future, that will eventually
be a better present. For example, today technology
allows us to understand art five hundred, one thousand, two thousand
years ago, much better than it was understood by people who lived a short
time after that art was created. For example, the Getty
Foundation in the United States, making use of techniques such as
Carbon 14, which can recreate paintings and ancient works of art
and make them look today as they really looked in the
time they were created. Almost everything we see
that is ancient art doesn’t look like it looked in that time.
It looks really different. It’s affected by the
passing of time, by light. We all know what happens to a painting if
we expose it to light for half a year. Well, let us imagine what happens
to paintings that are five hundred or eight hundred years old. So
that’s a first observation. We are going to better understand
the art from the past, we are going to revisit and
recreate the art from the past using technology
to understand it and that will bring about changes
to the art of the present. Another very important
change that technology is bringing about has to do with the
speed of the creative cycle of art. Historically, for the
last hundred years or so, the cycle of art was composed of
an artist that produced his art, if he was lucky that art would end up
displayed in an exhibition or in a gallery, and if it was really good then
it ended up in a Biennale. It went from a monthly exhibition
to a Biennale after being created. This was for a very
select group of artists. The most renowned. At the same time, we had
newspapers that published, if they were lucky enough,
news about that art. Maybe a monthly magazine
or an annual publication. However, what’s going on today? An artist produces
a work of art. It’s produced and shown on his phone. It’s instantly posted and immediately
distributed to thousands of people. This had never happened before. So,
this has a lot of implications. Because what we are starting to
see, what’s starting to happen, is that artists are
starting to produce art, and understanding that the art is
going to be analyzed, evaluated, and perhaps bought through
a screen this big. OK, so when I understand that,
if my goal is a commercial one, which actually is for many artists
because they have to survive, that heavily limits the production of art. Because they need to
design and produce art that is attractive for
a screen of this size. And that is going to have a
large amount of consequences in the quality of
the art to come. Another important point to make
has to do with the filtering and refinement of
artistic production. As in any activity there is bad quality,
good quality, and excellent quality art. The same happens for
any human activity. Say buildings. There’s great
architecture and mediocre architecture. Same with food, a chair, or whatever. For some centuries,
after Renaissance, there have been filters
that in some way, sometimes better,
sometimes worse, tried to separate the high-quality
art from the low-quality art. We have galleries that filter the
artists who want to show their work and then we have curators who decide if
a work of art passes to the next level, and museums and critics, and then
time and other critics, etc… So that process of feedback
that allows for art’s refinement, whereby what eventually gets
‘massified’ is the most filtered, has disappeared or is
disappearing because right now feedback is not given in
stages of specialized artists, but directly from the people
to the artist himself. Somebody posts something
on Instagram or whatever, it gets more likes
than another post and the understanding is that
this is better that the other. I believe that disintermediation
of experts in the world of art is relevant and also
it has just begun. I can picture this having a
huge impact in the future. These three effects, the better
understanding of the past using technology to restore art to its
original conditions, the acceleration of the art cycle,
and the removal of middlemen, that we said before, is going
to generate very new art very different to
what we see today. I don’t know how
it’s going to be. We’ll discover that with time. I don’t know which of the possible
realities we’ll end up with, but I suspect that these
three fundamental changes will bring about a more ephemeral art and
probably more superficial [art] in some scenes. We’ll see. Reality does surprise
us sometimes. There are collapses and suddenly something new appears. But I think these are questions
worth asking ourselves. I would like to open the conversation
to your questions now. Thank you. So let’s open this conversation
to the whole group. Yes please. My question is about the
triple helix you talked about including art,
technology, and science. But I think something is missing
there, the cultural industry. I mean, we can’t be
so naive to think that in this triple relationship
the cultural industry is merely an interface
and not an actor. And also I’m not so sure that the cultural industry is
disappearing because of social media. For example, in the editorial world
which I know a little bit better, young writers post in Wattpad and publishers are scanning these
platforms like birds of prey to seek the next new talent or something
that can be successful, with results that are sometimes good or not
so good, but it depends, as it did before. So I’m not sure how much
the cultural industry is going to transform itself
from an actor to an interface. Anyone want to take this? I don’t know it either. I was simply pointing out data from today
that can have a strong influence tomorrow. I don’t know how
it’s going to be. But it’s a true fact that people today
spend between three and four hours a day looking at images
in social media. Something that has
never happened before. That three or four hours is more than what
they spend in reading bibliography. It’s a fundamental source of information
that is replacing all the others. Newspaper consumption
has dropped to 20%, this is an 80% fall in
relation to its peek. The same with most of
specialized magazines. So it is a phenomenon
that is taking place. I don’t know how the story ends up,
but that is what I’m observing. Maybe I can add something more. I believe that there’s
a huge opportunity for evolution and
transformation of societies given by technology’s ability to
unburden ourselves from the things that we find more repetitive
and part of a routine. Artificial intelligence will free us
from the work of analytic intelligence. Yes, it’s true, lots of people will
have to find other ways of working, but there’s always been
recycling of societies and we’ll find other ways of earning money. What is certain is that we will
have more time in our hands, and if we have more time we can
create and consume more culture. The danger is, going in that direction
only to trivialize our lives, towards a cheap entertainment
that leaves us stuck to a screen as slaves all day
long without doing anything else. Here cultural education
plays an important role, adequate cultural policies,
adequate cultural people, a society that leads to make a good use
of the time we have in the future. Hello. Alec mentioned that
disintermediation entailed a risk of taking art towards a more superficial
and consumer-based structure. The other two speakers emphasized
the opportunity of linking the arts with something more spiritual. Could
you examine how is that possible? Well… I’ve been wandering
around Buenos Aires and I see all around me almost every
wall is covered with painting. There must be 2 million
painters in Buenos Aires. And they’re beautiful. And their gardens are beautiful. And people are painting their
houses in a way that is beautiful. I think… For me I don’t worry too
much about the culture industry. I don’t really worry that
much about technology, because I think we have an
instinct towards beauty. If you look at the history
of the human species, we evolved as a ritual primate, we evolved as a primate that
was playing ritual games, that was generating
a new generation precisely through artistic performance,
through inventive artistic performance. You can say that what evolved
us was really love songs. That if, you know, if you
sang the right love songs then you’d have more babies and those babies would have
more of the love song genes. And if you could dance well then
there’d be more dance genes. We are, in a strange kind of way, the way we look is what a whole bunch of
apes thought would be really cool to look like. We evolved ourselves. We
domesticated ourselves. And we domesticated ourselves
into this strange game of beauty. This ritual of beauty,
of dance, of singing, of painting on the cave
walls, of pretending to be acting out the hunt, or acting
out the, you know, the sad love affair. In a sense, we’re not an
authentic species. We are a species that turned ourselves into
ourselves through art. I don’t have any fear that
that’s going to go away. We are going to use this.
This technology is terrific. Let’s use it. Let’s
take charge of it. Should belong to us. And I see that already happening. How can I put it? If you think of the… I’m just so full of
admiration for this city. I came here partly because this
is Jorge Luis Borges’ city. And Jorge Luis Borges is god. What I see is this terrific
modern, post-modern technology, these fantastic buildings
going up and so on, but what I see is a really sound
and strong aesthetic instinct. We must rely on it.
We must celebrate it. You know, maybe I’m just too optimistic. Yeah, I think there are two
answers to your question. One is a social one. Imagine you have all this street art
which we can see around the city and it’s fantastic
what’s happening. And the art critics and gallery
owners and institutional collectors would decide what is
good and what is bad and remove what they think is good or bad
or what could be profitable or not. It’s not happening. So that means art is becoming
part of the democratic process. And that is going to be even faster
and more intense with technology, with blockchain, with
access to information, and you don’t even have to
be a trained artist in order to be an artist and put
a graffiti on a wall. And it may even remain there. So that means, if we go back to the
original situation of the cave art, 30, 40 thousand years ago, probably there was no art
critic there around as well, otherwise it could have
been wiped out or replaced. It didn’t happen. So we are back to that situation
where we are free to produce the art as we wish. And in that sense, that’s
a social development which is really helpful and positive. On the spiritual level I believe that if we
reconnect art through the spiritual, make it part of our
consciousness development and create our future in
a more sustainable way then the future of art will bring
back a certain rediscovery that art is not just an object
which you can hang on the wall, with a price and
a certain qualification. It’s also about the producer,
it’s about the artist, it’s even the consumer, the owner
of the work, or the collector. So that means it’s
about personality, it’s about the development
of ourselves. And If we see ourselves
as art products and we develop our personality,
we develop our spirituality as we were artists of ourselves,
we sculpt our own humanity through an artistic process, then the art
object may be helpful in the process, but it’s no longer the
most important thing. We are the most important thing. T.S. Eliot said: “Where
is the knowledge… …that we have lost
to information? And where is the wisdom that
we have lost to knowledge?” And when we speak
of spirituality, that spirituality has something
to do with this wisdom. Information is a bit digital… And knowledge is a totality. And totality and bits are divisible. And the wisdom is something
to do with wholeness. Wholeness is indivisible. So long as we remain whole, we remain spiritual, and in this modern age we have
lost this connection to wholeness and so as a philosopher and
as a spiritual teacher, one of the things that I’m really concerned
about is how to move people in a direction. From information to knowledge to
wholeness, ever-increasing wholeness. And one of the ways to define evolution is life’s thrust
for optimization. And art, science, and technology are three
facets of that evolutionary thrust. And because evolution thrust
is a thrust for optimization, if you are tuned in to
that optimization thrust, you become an optimist. An optimist of the present
an optimist of the future, and optimists are those who optimize
a moment of now, on an ongoing basis. So spirituality has been
connected to religion, but in the future it’ll
be way more beyond religion. It has something to do with
human consciousness as a whole. So long as we remain whole
in our consciousness, Ongoing evolving our wholeness
we will remain spiritual. Now, in that context, you continue to create in the fields
of art, technology, and science. And so long as we
remain this way, we don’t get lost in
our own creation. Those of you who know Hinduism,
there is something called Trimurti. Three forms: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahma is the creative
phase of creation, Vishnu is a preservation phase, and Shiva is a creative
disruptive transformation. And so long as we remain whole, we remain Trimurti. And even if we destroy something it is in this context of
regeneration and new transformation. And when we lose that
creative context and get lost in the creation, our own creation, Shiva loses
its own divinity and wholeness. And that is what evil is. You know, if the English word evil
is spelled backwards, it is “live.” It’s a devolutionary force. So long as we remain in
this modern consciousness, I have great hope and an
optimistic view of the future. Yes. Hello. My question was for Enrico. When you were answering his question
about the future of art, you suggested that, you thought art was going back to
that primal noncommercial purpose, you know. And I was thinking, are
you suggesting that art will no longer be thought of as
a commodity in the future? I guess I’m asking this because I’m worried
about artists’ financial stability. Don’t worry. As an artist I think it’s your
job to create the future. And I don’t think it’s that radical, that
art will no longer be commercial. But it’s not so much
in the next generation as it used to be
or still is partially. So I think it will be complementary. In that sense that art may also
serve a functional purpose that may be to enhance the
beauty of an office space, that may be that it will be a
decoration of your food. There are different
possibilities. And as a long as there is a
function attached to it, there may also be a commercial value. As long as it is ethical, and we are becoming more and
more ethical as a society, this is not necessarily that
art will completely go away, in terms of that trading aspect, but it may be produced out
of a different intention. The intention is not to become rich and
famous, the intention is just to please. Thank you very much for being
here and for this space that helps us think and reflect. I see a sort of brain, like a
mastermind in this atmosphere. I was thinking of
Leonardo’s year, all the celebrations, about this
artist so diverse and multifaceted. I was thinking about the
impact that art has had on you in counterbalancing
hyper-specialization and opening your curiosity
to multiple phenomena and everything that presents us to capture
our attention, open up our interests, connect us in new forms with reality. How has art impacted
your own experience, in that openness towards
a genuine interest? How could art contribute to the
future of these immense topics such as multi-diversity,
integration of opposites, and all the other challenges that may come? How do you think art could contribute
to that greater integration? Perhaps I could start. Thank you for the question. In my experience I think art is
fundamental to us, human beings, all of us should make art
in one way or another. I’m not saying we should become famous
artists or live from the art we make, but at least produce art. Because art is expression itself
entailing two components. The first is the
creation of beauty and through that contact with
beauty we get a different contact or access to this terrestrial
and material level. The second, is the
expression of beauty and when someone
expresses beauty, that person acquires
another life condition, another breath of life
and quality of life. Art has a primary function for
humanity that is the creation of new fields of perception that
we wouldn’t have another way. And these different fields of
perception transcend the ordinary world. In my experience, quite a few
years as an industry executive, where I had to use my head a lot, the
material world, the rational world, an accelerated terrestrial world. But afterwards, when I dedicated
myself to theater and being an actor, well, I discovered another universe
that I believe has expanded me greatly and has produced quality
in everything I do. That is my perception. As a collector I’m surrounded by a lot of art, and I see in me, as I
see it in other people, how art can transform. It can transform
people in many ways. A somewhat pedestrian
observation, but very direct… I’ve seen how people’s
productivity increases. But why does it increase?
Because people are happier. They are more joyful. It produces energy. It generates
something positive in people. Basically when art didn’t fit at my house
anymore I started taking art to the office. It was contemporary art, somewhat
strange and difficult at the beginning. First reactions were,
“What’s this?” Almost rejection. Relatively quickly it started producing
dialogue with the works of art. People stared. They went by on their trip to the
bathroom and they’d stare a bit. Afterwards, there was dialogue
between the people. Suddenly one day I said, “OK, there’s more
space at home now, I can take it back.” “No way!” Everybody was happy with the
art staying where it was. That’s what started happening. In my personal experience I’ve seen how art has
stabilized me, balanced me. I work in technology,
an uncertain world, sometimes with lots of
stress, hyper-competitive. Art compels us to become
contemplative, it humbles us. So art is important. That experience of
moving ourselves aside and looking, observing,
receiving is very healthy. And it definitely helps me
function better on the other side. And the third thing I’d
say is that it unites. There aren’t many things like that. Sadly
in our country this is the way things are. People are considerably
divided in the world. It’s fractured. Everybody is talking about the
divide, the “grieta” [crack], etc. However, art unites us. People may have very different
opinions in almost anything and fall in love with the same piece
of art and absolutely identify with what they are seeing. I think arteBA is
an example of that. It’s not for one side of
the divide or the other. Everybody comes in and is happy.
Nobody is asking or arguing about the
things that divide us. It unites. And that is downright important. And as evolution comes along I think
it will continue to be this way. About transforming one’s
life. Personally, At ten years old, I was a little boy
who was quite clever and I was a dialectical
materialist. And I was living in
Africa at the time, way, way out in the bush, and I was sitting in my
father’s pickup truck and we were driving
through the savanna. And one day, one moment, I looked at the
leaves of the trees and the wild plums in the trees and every single leaf, I mean, look up at these
trees and each leaf, you know, if you wanted
to build one from scratch, it would take probably three or
four billion dollars and twenty years to simply build one
of those leaves out of chemicals. Everything in the world
is detailed in that way. I mean, we look at the leaves,
the leaves are made of cells, the cells are made of molecules, and
they are made of atoms, and so on. It’s all so incredibly
detailed all the way down. And so I had this feeling
of utter astonishment. I mean, astonished! And what I’ve felt ever since then is that
anytime we are not astonished by the world, by the beauty of the world, we are not really seeing
things as they are. You know, that we ought
to be crazy astonished. So I think one of the
things that art does, because this also has
to do with nature, and we haven’t talked
much about nature, is that our artistic process is a
continuation of the creative process that evolved all these trees and
these leaves and these people and the animals and everything. It’s a continuation
of that process. Art should, sort of,
simply grow of us. And that was my transformation and it’s been going ever since. There was something else I wanted to say.
Oh, listen to this. Listen to that. Yeah. Maybe I could put it in
terms of an aphorism. Poetry is fast evolution. Evolution is slow poetry. In my case I grew up without art and when I was 16, I decided I wanted to
have my private room covered with art and I bought posters
from Salvador Dalí. and put them on wooden panels and all my room was covered
with some of Dalí pictures. And I started to dream about liquid
giraffes and all of that. And I think that’s
a crazy thing. A bit later, when I earned my first
money, and I had a bit more money than I could use
for my daily life, I spent everything
buying real art. Originals, and I have no money left. So art helped me
to become crazy, in a certain sense, and that kind of
art I also displayed in my office and clients came and I started
to talk about their lives and the art and the colors, and we did very good business and then
I started to sell this art as well. And I thought: “Well, so I’m really
becoming an entrepreneur thanks to art.” So the story went on, so I
eventually bought a gallery and started to do crazy
projects with artists and then I realize it’s no longer just
the artwork I’m interested in, it’s really the deep
relationship with the artists. They all became good
friends, very deep friends. We have extremely intense
discussions about philosophy and life, and the good and bad
things of life. And art is a communication means, is a platform to grow out of
yourself and to stay crazy. In philosophy, beauty, truth, and
good are the three highest values. You can say those are the
three faces of God. Beauty is truth and good
perceived in appearance. Truth is beauty and good
conceived in abstraction. And good is beauty and truth
achieved through action. When I was younger my
primary focus was truth. Then I met this beautiful woman and between good and
beautiful women, no brainer. And actually beauty is the
emotive cause of love. Love is the emotional
reaction to beauty. So when you have a
reaction to beauty you have this feeling of being in
love with the object of beauty and in 1979, some psychologist
from the United States invented the word “limerence.” L-I-M-E-R-E-N-C-E And she says this particular psychological
state of being in love is universal. So great works of art truly
create this sense of limerence, an ecstatic glance with the essence
of love that is beauty. I think time has come, correct? Yes. Besides my beautiful wife, I love classical music. So my life has been filled with
Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart. Those are the primary exposures
to beauty in my life. That will be my answer.
Thank you. Hi. Thank you to all for helping us, well
for me in any case, open our minds today. Can I say one more thing here
closing this meeting? OK. Thank you for the inspiration of today’s
talk and for opening our minds. I began to think of a book by
Sebastiao Salgado from 2005, which in English is ‘The
Cradle of Inequality.’ And he considered that technology was not
necessarily helping with inequality. And he took photos of schools in
Brazil, Peru, Afghanistan, and Kenya and I would like to know what you
think about that statement today. I also have three
positive things to say. First of all, one of my friends
and artists, Nino Cais, last week, a little bit like what you
said, Alec, in your office, he said that art should give the
viewer a question, not an answer. And I saw a very nice example of
something else that was mentioned today. A Brazilian artist from the
favela, back to Maxwell Alexander, who is now enjoying
success in the world. And also an exchange between Argentina
and Chile with Isabel Croxatto, a Chilean galleriet who met a young Argentine artist from the
provinces in Munar last year and has taken his work to Hong Kong. So these are some examples of artists
with little means who are doing well, but as a general statement, I wonder
what you think about that today, about the inequality and what technology
and art can do to make that gap smaller? Maybe I can answer because
I have recently seen the show of Sebastiao
Salgado in Zurich and it’s still going on,
it’s an excellent show of black and white photographs
called ‘Genesis Project.’ And what struck me most
when I saw those pictures and also the film by Wim Wenders,
‘The Salt of the Earth,’ is how Salgado works. And he works by immersing
himself completely in the situation with
indigenous people, with nature, in very
dangerous situations. Of course he had his
camera that worked, but that was never the point. It was really about himself being
connected to this situation completely. And out of that I think he was able to
create these very beautiful photographs. And in that sense, technology was there to
transport what you wanted to transport, but it was not more than that. It was
always at the limit of what was necessary. So in a way it was very
ecstatic, technology-wise, just to use technology as far as
necessary to what he wanted to achieve. And the main work he did was
really exposing himself as a human being in
this situation. I think this is a great example
of how to use technology wisely. I’d like to respond to this too. Technology is simply getting
better and better and better. And that means everything is getting
cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. Which means that there is less and less
money value to be extracted from it, even as it covers the globe. In many parts of the world, technology
has massively increased equality. I mean, for instance, in China, In South Korea, many countries have been
raised up from poverty by technology, the further result
is going to be, where is the value going to come from? I think value is going to come
from all kinds of things, all of those soft,
charmed industries. You see on television in the US,
and I’m sure it’s the same here. You see reality shows that have
turned cooking into an art, that have turned interior
decoration into an art, that have turned, you know,
hairdressing, fashion, into an art. These used to be considered
as, kind of, lower things. Real arts were poetry,
and music, and so on. Now we’re beginning to realize
that the creative things that people do for each other. You know, they braid
each other’s hair. They make beautiful perfumes. The kids set up music groups. Where the money is eventually going
to be, I think, is art. Because technology will have
made everything else cheap, but art can only be done really
by people being creative. So I have a feeling that
the arc of the economy is going to move towards
art actually being, the main source, with, I mean,
there are some other things, there’s science which is always newer,
always can have a scientific frontier. There’s, I think, what you
might call the moral arts, that is all the arts of healing and of
looking after people psychologically. All those things are still
going to be needed. By the way that word
“whole” that Yasuhiko uses has the same English root as “whole,”
and also “holy,” and “heal,” to heal. “Whole, heal, holy, and hale” means
“healthy,” and health is the same word too. So all of those arts are
also going to survive when technology has made
everything else cheap. I think exploration, we
are going to go up there. And we are going to have
wild adventures up there. But, you know. Well, as I said,
I’m an optimist. OK. Is there a last question
or comment for the panel? You’ve talked a lot about beauty, but I’m not sure if art’s main
goal is to achieve beauty. There are many other goals. I doubt that it’s one
of the primary ones. Perhaps provoking
or defying dogmas, or communicating socially
and politically. There’s a long list.
It’s just a question. Can I respond to this? I think
this is very important. But I think, the point is it depends
on what one means by beauty. You know, if beauty means only
pretty then I think you’re right. But if beauty means for
instance the kind of beauty of a great Greek tragedy, or the
kind of beauty that is in Beethoven, we’re really talking about beauty as making a whole, beauty as something that makes us see
the world more richly and more deeply. A scientist… For any given set of phenomena, scientists could propose
an infinite number of possible theories
that would cover them. They always choose the
most beautiful theory. And usually it’s right. That is, at the bottom
of science is beauty. And supposing we think of the moral
world, the world of ethics, I think one of the fundamental
ideas in ethics is that there are things that
are valuable in and of themselves, a human being is valuable
in and of herself, right? And that notion of something being
valuable in itself is central to beauty. If we talk about
being a good person, it means that I do good
things for other people. Why do I do things
for other people? Because other people are
inherently beautiful. They’re inherently
valuable in themselves. So I think beauty is also
fundamental to goodness as well. Chinese say when beauty
is recognized, ugliness arises. When goodness is recognized, evil arises. And in this binary universe,
there are always opposites. However, when you study the
whole literature on beauty, they agree on one thing. Real beauty is the
coincidence of opposites. And transcendental
conciliates of paradoxes. So when I talk about beauty I’m not just
talking about beauty versus ugliness. When you see both, there’s a way
to pursue this in such a way that there is a unity
beyond these opposites. And in that sense, beauty
encompasses so much. Same is true with
truth and goodness. So it’s an ongoing evolutionary
process of your perception. When you encounter a
great piece of art, which is not just a
pretty-beautiful-ugly, there is something
transcendental to this, and that is also a spiritual
quality, an evolutionary quality. So I agree with
you on one level, but on the other
level, as he said, if you expand the concept of beauty in
this way it encompasses everything. And it is the cause
of your life. Thank you very much, we
enjoyed your company. I just want to say something,
one thing. You know this is a dome, yes? You know the man named Buckminster
Fuller invented this. Do you know how Buckminster
Fuller defined universe? He defines universe
as the aggregate of all humanities
consciously apprehended and communicated, partially overlapping,
non-simultaneous experiences. Universe is the aggregate
of all humanities consciously apprehended
and communicated, non-simultaneous partially
overlapping experiences. Each one of us is
that experience that makes up this aggregate. And each of our experiences,
each of us is singular, unique. So we have a singular
cosmic destiny to fulfill and we have the universe as a
shared destiny to fulfill. And art is one of the ways to celebrate this singular
destiny and shared destiny. Thank you very much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *