GLOBE_Exchange is a collaborative research project focusing on the models and practices of global cultural exchange from the beginning of the 1960s to the end of the 1980s, that is, from the nascent of the Non-aligned Movement in 1961 to the culmination of its most serious crisis in 1989.
Project investigations are conducted along two axes. The first axis focuses on cultural policies and new visual regimes of decolonized African, Asian, and Latin American countries, examining the resulting new models of cultural exchange and collaboration. The second axis is engaged with the internal dynamics of NAM, seeking to address the economic, social, and political framework of these new forms of cultural exchange and collaboration designated as the context for an explanation of their socio-cultural consequences.
The concept of cultural exchange involves a wide range of activities and the circulation of various cultural products. For the purpose of this research, the focus is on exchange programs in the visual arts, architecture and urban planning, including UN/UNESCO programs of technical aid to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, led by international expert networks addressing the most pressing challenges faced by developing countries. The workings of these and other transnational networks established along the cultural exchange activities are taken as exemplary of the complex inter-relations between three very different forms of post-war globalization projects: one linked to the United States and the capitalist West, one to the Soviet Union and other forms of statist socialism, and the third linked to the growth of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The encounter of these different globalization projects in the field of art, termed "global Cold War artistic culture", assuming a particular type of interplay between Western and Eastern Blocs' visual orders, opens up the question of the relations of NAM countries' visual art towards that culture. When and how these relations were articulated, in what social, political, and institutional context? Whether and how NAM countries' artistic and visual cultures were invested in liberation and emancipatory social movements in Africa, Asia, and Latin America? Have they produced any cultural exchange and collaboration models specific to the Global South? What can we learn about these models following multiple, interlocking, and simultaneous spatiotemporal trajectories of images, people and ideas circulating Global South in the 1960s and afterwards?
Seeking to answer these questions, we are cutting across the range of current theoretical explanations, cross-pollinating the methodology of art history with methodologies of cultural studies, sociology, human geography, political science, and economics, aiming at grounding cultural and artistic production of NAM into the political economy of the Global South and linking the cultural dynamics of the artistic field to prevailing social, political and economic tendencies.
Given that the focus of the research is on the transnational circulation of objects, persons and ideas, the trajectories of their movements through different cultural spaces and pertaining temporalities will be represented by the application of custom-made digital tools - digital interfaces for dynamic representations of spatiotemporal data correlations, and multidimensional network visualizations. Apart from gaining new insights into the objects of our immediate interest, the objective of using XR technologies in the development of said interfaces is also to allow researchers to examine whether and how the experience of conducting analytic operations in an immersive, virtual environment affects the way we use data, and understand its cognitive value.
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