Arts vs. Culture and Science vs. Technology

Let us simplify issue for a purpose of possible wider interest on this topic. I do not intend to analyze all constituent elements of each concept (meme) taken in consideration but only few of them.

Intrinsic mission of arts and science

Culture is driven from the interest of consumer while on the other side arts are driven intrinsically from artists themselves. That does not mean that there does not exist secondary driver for arts and artists, that is called “audience”, “market” and so on, but this is only secondary driver subjected to the first one. Artists are driven primarily from their intrinsic mission; their “added value”, business model, brand value… is based on intrinsic will, vision and power. Scientists are driven primarily from inside the science as well.

Culture and technologies are markets

Contrary to expectations we should realize, that there exists no market for culture, that would be separated from culture, unlike there exist market separated from arts as arts market. Culture is a market in itself while arts has to have separate market from material arts production. That arts and artists are often implanted in a cultural sphere is ephemeral coincidence of culture. Artists do not feel well in culture since culture abuses them. Scientists do not feel well in technology for the same reason.

Whom to serve?

But this ephemeral fact contributes larger part of permanent confusion in our heads, that is seen in almost all public institutions that try to follow both paths at the same time, cultural and artistic. To follow both paths is impossible task because the core values of culture brand are radically different arts brand as possible. That is a reason for constant frustration of all “cultural ministries” and a large part of a frustration for national media that have a double mission: to serve its audiences and national artists at the same time. The story for science sounds alike.

Individual and national culture is a part of individual and national economy. It is performed on a specific market that cannot be separated from its product in the same way as there is an intrinsic market existing for every market good. This is also an explanation why every human being is a part of several different cultural submarkets, but not necessary to any of arts markets! That is why we say that there exists a culture of clothing, eating; that there exist markets of rave, classical music, rock and at the same time of soccer, golf and gaming. They do all exist on the same level and are all necessary elements of human culture; we know that clothing is necessary regardless differences from place to place on the globe.

There exist a strong parallel of arts / culture dualism with science and technology. Science is as much as arts driven intrinsically. Business model of scientists rest on citations, lectures, references, conferences, peer reviews and similar evaluation strategies that discern good from not so good and better paid from lower paid. On the other side technology and culture is or should be evaluated by markets only.

Science exists in a parallel world with technology.

There is no transmission between the two of them. Illusion that there could be and that even we should work on better transmission between these two worlds to achieve results for economy is one of more disastrous burdens on innovation, technology development and also economy. Technology, that partly use (and abuse) science is a vital part of economy, a part of a brand identity of commercial goods that are or have to be linked to technology. Then it follows that marketing is (should be) more frequent guest of technological development than science. And even if science is a guest, it is only a guest from another world.

Whom to fund?

That is why science and arts have to be subsidized as important parts of national development. On the other hand, culture and technology should be free from public funding. Whenever we are inflicted to subsidize culture and technology, take in mind that this means we are supporting commercial cultural institutions and commercial companies and their interests first and only secondary (if at all) interests of artists and scientists.

Does that mean that enormous funds pumped into new technologies and slightly lower amounts pumped into culture performed by almost all developed and undeveloped countries corrupt markets? Undoubtedly yes. Is this beneficial for long term cultural or technological development? Possibly. But it is undoubtedly not beneficial neither for scientists not for artists.

Andrej Drapal