Is Art The Lie That Tells The Truth? Culture Lab In Detroit Poses The Question
Featured on forbes.com
Every year, in Detroit, a non-profit organization called Culture Lab holds a series of panel discussions with notable international artists, architects and designers that is free and open to the public. This year’s discussions, which will be held on Thursday, October 5, and Friday, October 6, center around the theme of “post-truth.” Although the term “post-truth” conjures up images of Donald Trump, Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Russian hackers and the Twitter icon, Culture Lab’s founder, Jane Schulak, insists that the platform is apolitical.
“Post-truth is the 2016 word of the year, so it’s very timely,” Schulak told me over the phone. “But it’s also a term that allows us to ask artists why they create. It gets to the root of everything they do. How do you take one world and make another? How can art show us what’s true? Post-truth allows for those kinds of questions.”
Schulak, who was born and raised in Detroit, founded Culture Lab five years ago. It was 2012, and the city was on the verge of bankruptcy. In the media, Detroit was depicted as a wasteland where huge loft-like spaces could be bought for the price of $1. It was a place where artists could live and create without worrying about selling work. The arts scene, I’ve been told, thrives there — unfortunately, I’ve never been.
“After researching for about a year, I realized there was no public forum and no place to share practices,” Schulak said of her motivation to host the first Culture Lab panel discussion. She chose the theme of “Living With Design” so that locals could respond to the influx of art and design in the city.
“There is no other city where so many artist practices are about social justice, social whatever, that are really life affirming, and about sustaining the environment,” she told me. “Detroit’s created its own new culture and voice, and its own economy. The city has done this with very little. In its own way, it’s very sophisticated.”
This year’s panel discussions will take place between New Yorker writer and critic Hilton Als, artist and filmmaker Edgar Arceneaux, conceptual artist Mel Chin, interdisciplinary artist and writer Coco Fusco, architects and designers Christopher and Dominic Leong of Leong Leong, and conceptual entrepreneur Martine Syms.
Moderators Juanita Moore, President and CEO of The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and Deana Haggag, President and CEO of United States Artists, will pose questions such as, “How has the language of today’s political landscape made it into your art?” And, “Does the artist have a moral imperative to be politically engaged?” Apolitical only in the sense that all are welcome, and no one is asked to choose a side — although its easy to imagine what side the participants will identify with.
Click here to read the full article.