On 8 August 1998, we have the honour to have Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam from Dhaka University, Bangladesh to hold a dialog with us.

ATTENTION   ...............   ACHTUNG

Am 8. August 1998 haben wir die Ehre, Herrn Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam von der Universität Dhaka, Bangladesh zu einer Gesprächsrunde bei uns zu haben.



The Other Critic

Till now, propagation of culture (or in critic terminology: cultural imperialism) runs from the so-called developed nations to developing and under-developed nations in a one-way traffic (westerncentric). This traffic is based on spreading economic interests and not in pioneer efforts to promote cultural intercourse. In reference to culture transfer within the postcolonism debate, discussion should be carried out on the various interconnecting problems that are important for my project. Beside this propagation, critic becomes the main activity of a culture industry, evolving from imperial centres in the west, managed mostly by academic institutions *1.

In today's political scenarios, where cultural differences contribute to the main causes of most conflicts, a sensible approach to cultural intercourse between nations wins a new significance. Promoting a single international culture identity using the western model will definitely lead to a disaster *2. A prejudice exists in the belief that mixing with other cultures will lead to the weakening and decay of one's culture *3.

Contradictions arising due to "between the pressure of globalisation, the predominance of capitalism and the struggle of the working class, states and nations to achieve cultural autonomy" *4 will result in a rise in neo-conservative thinking like "family virtue" in the U.S.A. and "fundamentalism" in the third world and their associated literature "battle of culture" *5. And for the sake of a system based on description and representation "culture has always a headstart before politics, military history or economic development" *6 and in the light of a "transnational and translational" exchange, the autonomy to act and to self define in visible cultural signs and articulations are always present *7.

In the area of contemporary art, artists and cultural institutes of the respective nations are the major key players making this propagation of culture. Culture professionals are therefore interested in having a feedback on this one-way propagation of art. This concept is based on inviting artists, writers, journalists, art critics from non-western countries to view their thoughts.

* Literature references

1) W.J.T. Mitchell: Postcolonial culture, post-imperial critic; compare also E. San Juan Jr. "Over the limit of 'postcolonial' theory": secret/cipher message from the "Third world"

2) E.D. Hirsche: Cultural Literacy; Homi K. Bhabha: Postcolonial criticism, 1992

3) Salman Rushdie: Opinion to reactions to the Satanic Verse

4) Samir Amin: The Crisis, the Third World and the North-South, East-West Relations, in: Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff (ed.): Rethinking Marxism, New York 1985

5) S.P. Huntington: Battle of culture

6) Edward Said: Culture and Imperialism

7) Homi K. Bhabha: The location of culture, Routledge, London, New York 1994

Funded by the foreign department of the Arts Council of Cologne, Hotel Chelsea and private contributions.
Coordinated and curated by Jay Koh