Harwood will discuss his art practice of working with the artist-group Mongrel to create shared software tools for community use. He writes: "Our experience with colleagues in India, Jamaica, Brixton, London and Amsterdam has led us to the opinion that this is a time when anyone with access to clean drinking water is attempting to make, publish, and distribute meaningful media for themselves and their communities of interest. Often this activity goes unnoticed by cultural establishments and social elites - snapshot photography, photocopied letters, web sites, texting, stickers, videos, and recorded music are making use of such media systems to grow cultures of minority interest and personal testimony. In most people's lives this overshadows the grand banalities of big media and big art. Even more surprising to many of us is the consistent intelligence exhibited within the use of such media systems &endash; appearing more consistently in the ill, impoverished and the desperate than it does in the 'cultured', healthy and content. The arrogant assertion that we once knew what constituted intelligence or what made for interesting culture is dead: finished by the developing understanding that intelligent cultures manifest to deal with the context in which they are born. The challenge for the artist then is no longer a closed recirculation of the values of taste within a given culture for the reproduction of social elites. It is more a question of finding experimental ways to recognise, celebrate and experiment with intelligent culture when we see them emerging.
This presentation is available as a sound recording in the BALTIC Archive: http://archive.balticmill.com/index.php?itemid=30161