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Nearly 122,000 are unaware of their HIV infection in Europe. To decrease the number of people who are diagnosed late or are unaware of their infection, new strategies are required to expand targeted HIV testing …

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Home » Culture

Trust The Culture

Submitted by on 12 Jul 2012 – 11:29

Nikolas KamtsisBy Nikolas Kamtsis, Director, Topos Allou Theatre, Athens, Greece


“As the soil, however rich it may be, cannot be productive without cultivation, so the mind without culture can never produce good fruit”

SENECA

We inhabit a continent which has been torn apart by many wars in every previous century. Most people in my generation have no such experience.  Almost seventy years have passed by peacefully in the international sphere. That’s amazing.

Thus what’s the reason of the multifocal crisis we are going through? Are we facing a new type of war? A war hidden under statistics and bar codes; a war whose face we cannot see?

As a person working for decades in the theatre, I need to find replies to the aforementioned questions, even if I fail.

European leaders had the wisdom to establish fiscal and political cornerstones leading to the 21st century. However, they neglected the necessary extra: Culture.

Culture is left alone, almost forgotten. Art, civilization, quality everyday living, community relations are marginalized. Knowledge, education and research are dressed up in an extremely tight costume, squeezed to the point of suffocation. Everything is left to the hands of professionals. All the rest became spectators. But constant watching is boring. Everyday life could be more poetic hence interesting. It could become a piece of art.

Let’s bear in mind that Europe is a place where civilization and art meet heritage and history.

Yet it’s a fact that there is a perpetual lack of laws and institutions encouraging creativity, thus leaving art and civilization in the hands of individuals.

With the exclusion of the ancient world and particularly the Greeks of the 5th B.C. century, when culture in all its aspects was the gist of life, all the other masterpieces of international civilization have come about due to a handful of people, some philosophers, artists and intellectuals who expressed their own thoughts and works.

Contemporary European states are simply following individuals or choose a limited administration of culture created by them. Nobody expects from any state fantasy and sensitivity.

Though this is the common practice all over the West hemisphere, Europe should not use it as an excuse since it carries ages of art and culture.

Leaders able to manage politics and finances with dexterity, put culture aside, leaving fantasy and sensitivity marginalized. Culture means fluidity and is untamed. Thus political leaders prefer to have it under control, performing in specially designated places. Museums, operas, theaters and festivals are considered as institutions and it’s within their frames that culture tries to flourish. But never outside of these frames. Thus locked in a sparkling cell, culture becomes superannuated and oversaturated within a posh fake glamour.

Any existing exception only proves the rule.

After the Second World War a new era arose. A unique chance to progress and to enhance and promote creativity.

Europe should have already started wondering whether technology is above intellectual production, creativity and art; whether statistics and charts are above humanity. Civilizations scattered round the European continent should have the change to interchange with each other equally without the threat of losing their particular characteristics under the pretext of unification or other forms of flatness. Differentiation is the driving force of culture. Museums and festivals are useful. Yet what truly works is making art in the streets, the parks, the working place; factories, shops, offices, state premises can become areas where culture is born. Human communication and creation needs air and everyday places. A fruitful intercourse that helps people to interact, comprehend love and create in unison. Thus they all become artists, for themselves and life itself.

While political leaders should generously encourage cultural dissemination in everyday living, workplace and interpersonal relationships, in fact art and creation become the work of few eccentric, yet at times talented, individuals. The masses are stuck in front of the television.

My suggestion: Amidst the innumerable exchange programs and ‘mobilities’ why not establish exchanges between families, parents, cooks, waiters, retailers, barbers, bakers and workmen of any type?

I yearn for a dream: come a day that I stroll and see people working and feeling creative irrespective of what they do; be it bus or taxi drivers but still enjoying their social offerings and believe that this way they truly communicate with their fellow citizens, project positive energy and get equally positive input.

Utopia?

Maybe.

Still. Let’s consider it. Might we need it? Should we give utopia a second chance before exiling it once more to some atoll of our amazing new world?