The Unifying Aspects of Cultures


Art and New Media

Tina Laporta (New York, USA)
Total Screen: A Cross-cultural Dialog in Times of Global Conflict

How is it possible to understand the differences between cultures when our only contact with each other and primary source of information about each other is through the mass media we access today?

If the information era of the 1990's was to create a global village, breaking down the authority and central command of corporate media, then who's responsibility is it to facilitate and encourage counter voices at the dawn of the 21st century?

How can we create situations that will allow unmediated contact with cultures around the globe, overcoming the fears, hatred and mistrust that reinforces the artificial separation of people. Mass media functions well by instilling fear into the collective public psyche. Putting it's viewers into a catatonic state unable to go out into the world and learn about each other; unable to create more complex images based on direct experience as opposed to mediated indirect ones.

A new global approach to raising consciousness is needed. Sending messages like flag burning or guernica covering through the trance of media only reinforces stereotypes and encourages alienation. Moreover, how to create a global approach to feminism locating universal feminist concerns while respecting cultural differences with a common goal to promote women's influence in all sectors of society.

Entire societies are being kept apart by law and through mediation. What kinds of alternative projects could be developed bringing artists together face to face as an action against the forces that oppress us through isolation?

I would like to present my recent work titled Total Screen, a mixed media project that explores media representations of gender during wartime. The presentation is intended to initiate dialog and understanding of a broad range of creative expressions produced in times of intense social and political conflict.