5 Dec 2010

Neil Mulholland Presentation


Neil Mulholland delivered a talk which illuminated the paradoxes inherent in contemporary Scottish culture and politics, drawing on Michael Gardiner’s arguments in, From Trocchi to Trainspotting: Scottish Cultural Theory since 1960. Referring to the anxiety which has arisen in the wake of devolution Mulholland compared Scotland with Venice...fiercely independent... punching above its weight, but slowly sinking. He reminded us that there was a British culture and a Scottish culture, that there was currently no English parliament, and that the “big society” was only applicable to England. The Tate Gallery’s brand, for example, is an expression of British statecraft which barely registers in Scotland.  Acknowledging the influence of Hedley Bull’s, The Anarchical Society,  Mullholland noted that within the world order there are multiple loyalties and when applied to Scotland this reveals what he describes as ‘ disputed national imaginaries’.

Mulholland went on to discuss ideas of cultural ecology - how long will our share of the world’s wealth be maintained ? - citing Eric Raymond’s, The Cathedral and the Bazaar,  before returning to the local, where artists’ voices and activities can be and should be of real importance. The example of the New 57 Gallery’s constitution, which was in turn adopted by Transmission and the Collective Gallery amongst others, exemplifies a set of values developed locally, but capable of allowing national and international dialogues and exchanges and offers a ready-made course of action for artists.

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