Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cultural Intelligence Imperative

Does the explosion of news on the art market in January hold significance beyond the art world? Perhaps so. The simultaneous expansion of the art market on-line and into the financial industry and the quickly emerging contemporary art markets of China and India reflect a broader phenomenon of the relationship between culture and security.
In a world in which transportation and communication have made national boundaries more permeable, culture has become a de facto boundary. Or thought of in another way, the softening of national boundaries has increasingly exposed cultures to outside influence. Be it the fall of the Berlin Wall, the expansion of the European Union, or the ubiquity of the internet, freedom of movement of individuals and information increases outside influence on local culture. Witness the now oft quoted “cultural security” in translations of statements by officials in China. Whether one considers the change a cause for concern or a catalyst for innovation, increased interaction furthers the need for understanding foreign cultures.
Cultural intelligence has gone from an altruistic aspect of foreign interaction to a practical necessity. Whether it’s human terrain mapping in military deployment or managing an increasingly multicultural populous in an ever more globalized world, knowledge of cultural sensibilities has become critical to domestic and foreign policy. In the face of emerging eastern economic powers, cultural intelligence may well become essential to national security from an economic standpoint.
Can the rapid changes in the art market and the effect on the art world serve as a model for collecting and applying cultural intelligence?

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