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Arts Management as Mimetic Irony: maintaining an organic way of knowing

In partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Master of Arts in ArtsManagement, Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design 2010


This essay documents the expansion of an enquiry into Arts Management from a kind of active translation between the worlds of art and business into the much broader and metaphorical idea of Arts Management as the act of maintaining a balanced sense of understanding reality. Through the topic of language as an innate human capacity for making sense out of the world, this research led away from the segmented parts of its original intention toward a greater insight into the bigger picture of how human understanding translates into the formation of ideologies that can become embedded in society. It therefore permeates both the inner and outer aspects of human reality and informs not only how language affects the practical application of Arts Management, but how language gives shape to all extensions of humankind, particularly in what is being described today as a new Creative, or Conceptual Age.

Key Words



acoustic space

visual space

figure and ground

stasis and flow


left & right hemispheres



Over the past decade, the arts and creative sectors have grown exponentially into what some are describing as the “Creative Age” (Florida, 2004, p. 3) or the “Conceptual Age” (Pink, 2005, p. 30). Creativity is the new commodity. Corporations are introducing poetry and other creative tools to help employees begin to see in new ways (Morgan, 2010, p. 195). The boundaries for where creative methods and artistic talents are considered suitable are broadening. There are new pathways being explored in management practices and exciting “intersections” (Johansson, 2004, p. 16) being created between previously conceived incompatible “organisational species” (Morgan, 1998, p. 14).

Historically, however, the arts and creative industries have faced a longstanding dilemma whereby money, profit, and the ubiquitous bottom line represent the nemesis of artistic integrity and an unfortunate necessity for survival as creative organisations operating in a conventionalist business world. By the 1960s arts companies had evolved to the point where traditional business and management practices were no longer adequate. Arts Management began emerging as a new category of management that strove to re-interpret business structures so that the nature of creativity and artistic purpose, as opposed to profit increase, could be better served (Pick, 2005, p. 47). This required a more reciprocal approach that acknowledges and accepts the passionate, unpredictable and often chaotic characteristics of the creative process. It has been my view that the successful arts manager requires an ability to effectively interpret and translate the ambiguous language and culture of the arts into the more quantifiable and traditional language and culture of business and economics.

This essay was originally intended to explore the differing cultures and languages of business and art and the extent to which ineffective interpretation and translation has been affecting the integration and success of arts organisations under the current business ideology. However, after further examination of the literature it has instead led to a much bigger picture of language as the umbrella factor behind all human cognition and perspective, or in Gadamer’s words “how language speaks us” (Gadamer, 1999, p. 463).  The increasing acceptance of creativity and unorthodox management practices in today’s Creative Age is not just limited to the arts anymore. It appears to be more of a right hemisphere renaissance on a worldwide scale that is occurring as a collective cognitive shift that could result in a new conceptually realised business ideology.

My initial inquiry into effective communication between business and the arts arose out of personal experiences within both fields. As an exhibiting visual artist, the realisation of ineffective literal and verbal translation around artworks became a catalyst for further exploration into the use of poetry and context to capture the suggestion of an artwork more effectively so that the connectivity between a beholder and an artwork may be enriched while maintaining an open-endedness and individuality to the viewer’s experience. Additionally, the idea of translating the arts became conspicuous during an internship position as Coordinator of an arts conference at New Zealand’s national arts council (Creative New Zealand) in 2010 where I observed a strong arts purpose coexisting with the strict financial and bureaucratic obligations of governmental regulation.

This conference, known as the 21st Century Arts Conference, is offered to various national arts organisations that have received funding for projects as well as to other relevant industry professionals where space permits. The main purpose of the conference is to reinforce the Government’s financial aid by following up with an annual opportunity for these arts organisations, including some international arts professionals, to enrich their knowledge through the exchange of stories and expertise. It is also a welcome opportunity, as stated by many of the participants, to reunite with industry colleagues and meet new contacts where it is otherwise difficult to do so in the often intense working pace that is typical within the arts industry. Creative New Zealand, in my view, epitomises a working environment that lies somewhere in between the arts world and the world of business and economics and I became curious to observe how the language of art and the language of business affected communications both in the daily practices of the office and within the context of an arts conference.

In summary, this topic extended beyond discussion of only two aspects of industry into a whole human way of knowing based essentially on the underestimated interaction of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The terms art and business emerged instead as representatives of left and right hemisphere interaction, which ceased to stand as two separate entities but rather two aspects of a whole. Arts Management by extension became a metaphor for the perpetual and dynamic interplay of the brain when not impoverished by any dominating forces or hegemonic stigmatizations that language can often perpetrate. It could also potentially, in its practical expansion as a category of management in the Creative Age, be one of the main contributing factors in a global cognitive movement that involves greater synthesis between the hemispheres of the brain.

Additionally, the structure of this report became such that strict segmentation was not conducive to the weave and flow of what is often a very non-linear topic and therefore is presented as an essay with directional headings where some sections emerge. Following the views of mainly Gadamer, McLuhan, Arnheim and Morgan, and using interpretivist and hermeneutic methodologies because of their interrelatedness with the human way of knowing, I explore the phenomenon of what is currently referred to as Arts Management in the broader context of language as two opposing yet unifying hemispheres in constant interplay, and the bigger picture of this as an ideological movement.

Language: Distilling and Constituting Reality

Present day understanding of left and right hemisphere interaction is less clearcut than ever (Goleman, 1997, p. 59). The nexus of interaction between the hemispheres of the brain pertains to a constant flux that is perpetual and uncontainable. I believe this nexus to be the epitome of the human condition and that language is to be explored in this capacity as both the mimetic and abstracted yin and yang of thought. The Taoist yin and yang principle is based on the paradoxical notion of a stationary flux that represents unceasing change as the essence of nature, and the duality of opposing forces that constitutes the unity of an indivisible One (Arnheim, 1966, p. 225).  Arnheim believes that none of the linguistic conceptual models do justice to interaction because “the task of describing interaction discursively is insoluble in principle” (Arnheim, 1966, p. 231). Although problematic, I believe this statement describes the conundrum of language in human understanding and helps to explain the idea that language can be considered a distilled element of human reality, yet remain an atom of infinity. For it contains within it a centreless and uncontained essence that deals with thought, vision, perception, communication, culture, intuition and all other complexities involved in human knowing (Carpenter & McLuhan, 1960, pp. 66–67). And since human knowing affects the ideological forces that shape reality, it has to be the starting place for further examination of a right hemisphere renaissance in a worldwide cognitive movement.

As there are currently many differing viewpoints surrounding the origin of language, I explore three main theories in order to build a more inclusive and shared definition for the term language. The three main theories are: one, that language grew out of social interaction as a tool for greater organisation and survivability (Bickerton, 1995, p. 8); two, that all thoughts, artefacts, and extensions of the human species (including social interaction) are the result of an innate capacity for language (Bickerton, 1995, p. 161; Gadamer, 1999, pp. 402–404; McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 3); and three, that language begins with sight and is a multi-sensory relationship with reality which the alphabet has in fact diminished (Arnheim, 1966, p. 139). Upon closer inspection of the details behind these differing viewpoints, one could create a generalized definition of language as a sense-making ability based on not any particular mode of perception, but the multifarious and simultaneous receptive capabilities of human beings. Hence in this essay I argue that language embraces McLuhan’s notion of a more balanced and unified visual and acoustic space, Gadamer’s hermeneutical view that language is thought, Arnheim’s notion that perception (and therefore language) is a sensory experience, and Churchland and Pinker’s ideas that language is a social tool we use to make sense of the complex world around us. Comprehension of this topic, therefore, begins with three reader attributes: first, openness to allowing for constant interplay between the many categories that help to give meaning to the word language; secondly, openness to the infinite individuality of perception, and thirdly awareness of the fact that even the many carefully utilised words in this essay remain potentially inadequate containers of meaning.

A Linking Thread

I begin with an overview of Marshall and Eric McLuhan’s Laws of Media (1988), in which a common thread emerges as a link to several other linguistic theories. Although assisted by his son in the writing of this book, I will henceforth identify the ideas in the singular as the summative work of McLuhan senior. McLuhan describes language as a dynamic source of infinite complexity from which every thought, idea, behaviour, and artefact flow (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 3). In essence, this source is the world around us in constant interpretation. It is more of an uncontainable energy, rather than a mere tool that exists inside an entity or environment. It is therefore not a point of perception, but the most innate and organic space from which perceptions grow.

The purity of this origin has been distilled by what is referred to by McLuhan as “the only known possible four testable statements that can be made about all media”, or the “tetrad” (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 7). The tetrad is made up of four questions (listed in glossary) that one can ask about all things in order to determine how the left and right hemispheres interact in order to learn or solve a problem rather than unknowingly falling victim to using left hemisphere modes of cognition to solve right hemisphere problems, as he believes human beings have been doing since the invention of the alphabet (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 128). McLuhan also discusses the notion of “figure and ground” (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 18) which echoes the yin and yang theory of dynamic interplay, and the idea of constant left and right hemisphere interaction in a more spatial sense. Hence language becomes a multi-dimensional medium of human reality whereby an environment does not surround or contain, but is in constant negotiation and interaction with the various sensory elements of human understanding. Words, both written and verbal, are useful as tools to create shared understanding, but become infinitely individual when, as written by Gadamer (1999), Arnheim (1966), and McLuhan (1988), their true meanings are derived from the various contributing elements of context, culture, personality, human conditioning, sound, rhythm and all the spaces in between, rather than their objectified alphabetic associations.

McLuhan introduces the invention of the alphabet as the turning point in human perception when visual space began its path toward left hemisphere domination. Although this modern revolution of human language took centuries to take hold, its subsequent effects on the mind have shaped entire ages of human knowing (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 33). From this point in classical antiquity (around 550 BCE), McLuhan offers a bird’s-eye-view journey through the ages of human understanding whereby acoustic space and visual space become the main characters in a story that leads to the bigger picture of present day thought. Although not always referred to under McLuhan’s nomenclature, these two elements comprise a linking thread through many linguistic theories as theypertain to the opposing perceptive modes of the left and right hemispheres of the brain in constant interplay. The dynamic interaction between visual and acoustic space is, in my view, not only the essence of language, but the idea behind an ideal management philosophy based on the human condition: the conflict of order and chaos in mimetic and reciprocal orchestration.

Visual and Acoustic Space

The defining qualities of visual space stem from the formulaic method and nature of the alphabet. The alphabet became a representational tool with which to regulate the sounds of our communications using the sequential zone of the brain (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 16). It was not only through the regulation of speech, or ‘logos’, but mainly through the written word where the left hemisphere thrived using serial methods (progressive – one idea after the other) for mental order through the physical act of writing and reading (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 73; Pink, 2005, pp. 18–19). The alphabet also provided the foreground for objective thinking that has forever changed the way Western societies know. Visual space, in contrast to Arnheim’s sight oriented theory of immediacy, is a contained and linear man-made form of language that attaches made-up sounds and arbitrary meanings to abstracted written symbols (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, pp. 4, 14,15). With the written word, and therefore the expansion of visual space, human beings became able to shift the focus from the ear to the eye thereby separating the outer world from the activity of the other senses. In other words, human beings could now think about what they saw, perceived and said instead of just seeing, perceiving, and saying it. An ideal put forth by Plato in the hope that it provide a solution to the misunderstandings between men and create greater order, harmony, and ultimate survivability (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, pp. 13, 17). Instead, it has potentially moved us away from the organic tongue of the senses and therefore unimpinged mimetic knowing.

The impact of visual space has been immensely powerful in the subsequent delivery of geometry, mathematics, physics and science upon which much of the human way of knowing has been based historically. By feeding and favouring the sequential zone of the brain, we began building the strength of the left hemisphere until it eventuated into the dominant force in human cognition. As late as the 1800s, scientists such as Paul Broca and Carl Wernicke were still confirming the left hemisphere as the control centre of human speech and language (Pink, 2005, p. 14) which was the only differentiating intellectual factor between human beings and animals due to the fact that it allowed human beings to think and see beyond their immediate surroundings. The right hemispherewas written off as an evolutionary animal left-over until the 1950s when Roger W. Sperry won the Nobel prize for his research that found this thinking to be flawed (Pink, 2005, p. 14). Sperry described the language of the left hemisphere as “inadequate for the rapid and complex syntheses achieved by the right” (cited in Pink, 2005, p. 23).

Prior to the alphabet, preliterate language existed only in its acoustic form and is described as an organic way of understanding, or mimesis (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 16). Acoustic space represents a constant flux whereby the uncontainable, multisensory, multidimensional qualities of the knower and the known become the same (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, pp. 16, 33). It accounts for all the various sensory elements that accompany (or more accurately, become) a communication which in turn affects an interpretation and a meaning in both the speaker and the beholder. This echoes Arnheim’s views whose issues with “linguistic determinism” (Arnheim, 1966, p. 139) stem from the idea that language can somehow be detached from the other senses and Gadamer’s notion that the written word “only makes the task of real hearing more difficult” (Gadamer, 1999, p. 463). Acoustic space represents a simultaneous mode of perception that is prevalent in oral societies, poetry, and song whereby understanding is instantaneous and memorisation organically activated through the multisensory experience (Arnheim, 1966, p. 143). It is the soul of the conversation, translation, or narration and the individual meaning a speaker brings to words through feelings and interpretations that are heard through pitch, rhythm, meter and subtle inflections.

Left hemisphere dominance has not only given many Western societies the ‘gift’ of logic, but it has also completely reshaped the environment which gives it power for a secure foothold in the future. Maps, roads, neighbourhoods, and transportation systems are not just modern conveniences, but a reflection of an entire lineal and systemic way of thinking that McLuhan has declared a possible residue of nihilism (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 72). This raises the question of whether modern industry and the machination of ideological business structures is merely the bastard child of a temporary misuse of sense. Or perhaps, as my logically conditioned mind suggests, it has been a necessary stage of evolution, without which the potential for a new way of seeing would not be possible. Could it be that cause and effect is simply dynamic interplay in slow motion? Perhaps, as Gladwell suggests it is “tipping points” (Gladwell, 2000, pp. 18, 19) in society created by the stagnating properties of visual space that are perpetually tipped by the opposing forces of acoustic space: the left and right hemispheres reacting with each other in a kind of worldwide Jungian consciousness (cited in Morgan, 1998, p. 223) that takes more time to transact than the quicker singular binary action of one individual.

Acoustic space, or right hemisphere attributes, were suppressed and ignored for centuries since Galileo’s “law of effect” (cited in McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, pp. 69, 110) and the prevailing wind of logic and objective scientific method that followed in the West. It was not until the dawn of the Electronic Age in the mid twentieth century that pattern-recognition and simultaneity began to supplant the overriding goal of obtaining quantifiable results (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 110). Quantum physics and the wave particle theory were just two discoveries that showcased chaos as a potentially useful aspect of scientific progression in both the living and technological worlds (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, pp. 39–42). Organic mimesis, now possibly an archetype of humanity, was resurrected, but only insofar as it served the progression of logical pursuits. And this, in my view, describes not only the plight of economic survivability in the arts, but also of present day Western society as a whole: an acoustically realised culture that is living and functioning inside a visually biased framework.  This coercion of the opposing forces of long dormant collectively realised acoustic space supports the evidence of change from a visually biased business world, to a more acoustically balanced way of seeing that is emerging as the Creative Age. It is the unity of opposites at work.

Stasis and Flow in the Unity of Opposites

Due to its need for memorization rather than instantaneous connection, the linearity of visual space has a tendency to cause recurrent stasis4 (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 18) and can therefore never be obsolesced by acoustic space. In other words, what is not organic has a tendency to stagnate or become passé. Following Jung’s notion that the sensory elements of human beings can be banished, but never eliminated (cited in Morgan, 1998, p. 225), if it were not for the innate existence of acoustic space human beings may have long ago become operational robots. This is not to imply, however, that ocular orientation creates robots, rather that blindness to the sensory elements of understanding results in the failure of successful tetradic testability. As McLuhan writes, “robotism is to exist without conscience or conflict of any kind”(McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 79), which in Western terms is equated with death . In Japan, to live as one already dead is to be completely expert, or a kind of superman, which Johansson agrees makes it “difficult to break out of established patterns of thought” (Johansson, 2004, p. 52). Either way, it rubs against the mimetic imperfections of having feelings and the individuality of being human. Hence, right hemisphere characteristics are to be ignored at a substantial cost to a well-orchestrated wisdom that exists only when both hemispheres take part in a kind of perpetual dance.

In the context of arts management, leadership is referred to by Lindqvist as “a dance between different spaces and atmospheres” (Guillet de Monthoux, Gustafsson, & Sjostrand, 2007, p. 7; Lindqvist, 2007, p. 7). This alludes to the idea of “fields of flow” (Guillet de Monthoux et al., 2007, p. 5) where fields indicates a less hierarchical, more floating network of relationships, rather than the classical factory model of conventional business. And flow is the means by which our bodily senses are included as relevant to the way an organisation is managed, rather than by discursive intellect alone. Flow is a kind of “sense-knowledge” (Guillet de Monthoux et al., 2007, p. 6) that suggests a wider human characteristic, rather than a mere management principle inside a contained business environment.

Flow is the antidote to stasis in that a more chaotic and ambiguous process is free, if not encouraged to occur. However, like the antagonistic relationship between acoustic and visual space, each requires the other for a kind of paradoxical continuous discontinuity in the ever-changing fluidity of survival. Language and the human condition, as is re-defined here, is this very self-perpetuating balancing act between a need for making sense and an acceptance of ambiguous and individual perception-based meaning. This idea of circular fluidity and catering to ambiguity is also, in essence, the definition of Arts Management in the works of Bereson (2005), Pick (2005), Morgan (1989), Follett (1987), Ibbotson (2008), and Guillet de Monthoux (2007) to name only a few.

If one were to pan out, metaphorically speaking, the phenomena of stasis and flow are evident in a broader biological and ecological context. From a cellular level to an organisational level and beyond, wherever tensions occur, forces of coercion create movement or change (Morgan, 1998, p. 233). This echoes Aristotelian causality which was applicable to both nature and artefacts and widely accepted until the Gutenberg era when printed text and increased regulation of shared linear information marked the “complete ascendancy” (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 88) to visual space dominance and the unification of man’s ultimate goal for total control and order.

On an organisational level, Greiner talks of stasis and flow as the unforeseen effects arising out of rigid systems of bureaucracy under a machine model of management (Greiner, 1972). Beyond the organisational level, old eras dawn into new based on the limitations of the last as evidenced in the transgression of the steam engine into the machine, the machine into electricity, and electricity into satellite capabilities and digitisation. All of these are creative extensions of man’s capacity for language, albeit deceivingly linear in progression and dominated by a left hemisphere desire for a final result in greater power, efficiency and domination over the environment.

Ironically, as we enter a climate of quickening globalization and increasing human affinity for simultaneity (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 80), it may be visual space dominance itself that will give rise to a collective awakening of the right hemisphere and ultimately spell its own demise. McLuhan describes our present situation as a paradoxical way of existing in an acoustically realised world of instantaneous internet and satellite capabilities, while trapped by an overwhelming visually biased system of procedures found in Western education, commerce, politics, and legal institutions (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 80). The idea of stasis and flow in a unity of opposites speaks more to the original intentions of the four causes in that it was about the tensions that occur between concrete and expressive or moving parts rather than a successive means to an end: between regulated phonetics (visual space) and mimetic qualities (acoustic space) resulting in unimpoverished understanding, or on a broader scale, between harmonic ideological forces (figure) and a balanced way of thinking (ground) resulting in a sound and adaptable civilisation.

The Mimetic Organisation

In examination of the practical application of this yin and yang concept in present day business, I look at Morgan’s idea of understanding the organisation in a more acoustic or organic sense. Morgan compares the organisation to the organism by describing it as only one element in a complex ecosystem of many other organisations rather than an isolated and self-sufficient entity (Morgan, 1998, p. 69). An organisation must therefore not only be adaptable to environmental changes, but also be aware of the wholeness of evolution as a pattern of relations rather than separate units moving inside a contained environment. “Survival of the fittest” he says, becomes “survival of the fitting” (Morgan, 1998, p. 70) as environments cease to become external forces but rather a continuously negotiated nexus. Morgan cautions, however, against using autopoiesis (Morgan, 1998, p. 240), or the theory of evolution of the natural world, as a reflection of organisational evolution because of the fact that human beings possess an ability to influence, choose, and ultimately create the world around them (Morgan, 1998, p. 76). However, he also states that human beings “have a knack for getting trapped in webs of their own creation” (Morgan, 1998, p. 199) as McLuhan has suggested we have done through a lack of flexibility between visual and acoustic behaviours.

Morgan uses the brain as a metaphor for the ideal organisation where fluidity and creativity can be maintained within the formal constructs of business, but that these structures can never be fully constructed (Morgan, 1998, p. 78). The problem with this idea, as I see it, lies in the fact that human beings learn by association and assimilation and therefore not only bring a “historical sense” (Gadamer, 1999, p. 441; McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 48) to all newly gained knowledge, but also do not easily discard either the security of a norm or a newly enlightened schema (Goleman, 1997, p. 76) as described in Plato’s cave allegory (Morgan, 1998, p. 199). The way in which words can hold hegemonic power or ‘myth’ (Bathurst & Monin, 2010, p. 2) is, in my view, the equivalent of a construct and may explain how language can perpetrate the cultural differences that serve to create perceived separations that hinder the ideal of fluidity. It would therefore follow that in order to maintain Morgan’s moveable constructs, words themselves must be unfixed and individual understanding transmutable to its direct and perpetually moving context.

Cultures, Norms & Schemas

This brings me to further examination of the seemingly separate cultures of business and art. Under the umbrella of language as discussed in this essay, business and art cease to become separate entities, but rather two aspects of one interactive whole. However, in present day society there are veritable cultural differences that create a perceived separation. The ambiguous stereotype of art and artistic methods became increasingly branded beside the more square shapes and structures of business when the arts filtered into the newly formed cities of the Industrial Age in the mid nineteenth century where they could be perceived alongside each other more rigorously (Pick, 2005, p. 40). Bigger audiences called for greater organisation and events which prompted an inflated economic dependency. Under a machine model ideology however, where efficiency and robotism embodied the well-adjusted protean man, many artists and arts organisations struggled to secure financial stability using standardised management structures and faced numerous uphill battles against left hemisphere dominant conventionalist perspectives.

Where business stood to conform and nurture a “group think” mentality (Morgan, 1998, p. 202), the arts served to challenge favoured ways of thinking. The artist can thus be viewed as one of Plato’s cave dwellers who dared to leave the cave and then faced the challenge of appearing a madman while trying to communicate what he saw to a critical and short-sighted mass. McLuhan describes artists as the “antennae of the human race” (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 5) because they actively practice a more sensory behaviour and therefore uphold an ability to see through a tetradic lens to a reality that is not obscured by what has become the is of accepted norms. As Wyndham Lewis writes, “the role of the artist is needed to prevent our becoming too adjusted like impercipient robots” (cited in McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 78).

Norms are the common beliefs and rituals that serve to codify a culture where shared meaning is gained through a type of learned adaptation and mass conditioning (Hall, 2002, pp. 51–53; Morgan, 1998, p. 202). The term culture, however, contains a great many meanings. In a broad sense, a culture can be described as a system whereby a group of elements are organized in such a way that they no longer operate individually (Hall, 2002, pp. 5, 6). On one hand, the need for order may be met and the human species can coordinate its actions and communications to accomplish social tasks that further its success and therefore survival (cited in Bickerton, 1995, pp. 7, 8). On the other hand, any ordered system has the potential to become embedded as a norm and prevent any action associated with an alternative way of seeing (Morgan, 1998, p. 202). If language embeds itself as schemas, or the patterns of associations and behaviours that an individual collects as knowledge (Goleman, 1997, p. 75) then it would follow that a culture or subculture could form around prescribed contexts and subsequently affect all future situations and decisions within these contexts (Goleman, 1997, p. 96). Dawkins describes this phenomenon as “memetics” (Johansson, 2004, p. 17) (not to be mistaken for mimetics) whereby a meme, or a way of doing things, saying things or seeing things can “leap” from brain to brain allowing an ideological ideal to seep through groups or even whole societies as a form of imitation rather than true mimetic understanding.

While a strong sense of identity may contribute to the success of an individual, it has also been described as a form of denial of one’s own extreme vulnerability (Goleman, 1997, pp. 97, 98). This follows Becker’s view that human beings are subconsciously obsessed with their own mortality and so the primal instinct of survival emerges as resistance to any changes that threaten the security of a sense of identity and knowing what to do next (cited in Morgan, 1998, p. 212). In this sense culture can have the adverse affect of blinding oneself to their own inner reality and individuality rather than helping one cope with the external reality of a day-to-day existence (Morgan, 1998, p. 220). As Boomgaard writes, when culture permeates opinion as a fundamental instrument of identity, “cultural differences run like fast-growing cracks through society” (Boomgaard, 2007, p. 89).

According to Mintzberg, building a cohesive relationship between the parts of an organisation as well as between the organisation and its industry, or environment, is a must in a successful business (cited in Morgan, 1998, p. 56). This implies an easily recognisable identity and therefore a shared and definitive culture. How then can a culture emerge in a business environment that does not stigmatise or contextualise itself into a corner along with the language and knowledge therein? And how does the individual resist an innate homeostatic tendency, where easy recognition of the self within an accepted way of being provides a sense of security, in favour of the ability to differentiate between a self-identity that is mimetically realised and a self-identity that is based on imitation? As Hall writes, identities are not insoluble but rather they are subject to the interchangeable micro cultures of the many different contexts that one shifts in and out of in their own bigger picture (Hall, 2002, p. 110). What emerges is something relating to Bohm’s idea of a “holoflux” as a new order of implicit entanglement (Bohm, 1981, p. 149) where every point is connected and therebymutually constituted toward a kind of simultaneous macro and micro moving picture where an ideal artful self-management could potentiate a type of holofluxic phenomenon described by Sullivan as “glocalisation”, or the “dynamic situatedness in both the local and the global – of being and becoming – both a reflective and generative part of the whole” (Sullivan, 2006).

Translating Interpretation

Effective translation and interpretation as a bridge between art and business has, in my view, been one of the overriding objectives of the arts manager. Where culture, norms, and schemas become a kaleidoscope of shifting identities in a nexus of moving contexts, the meanings of the words and the individuality of interpretation would undoubtedly be continuously changing also. Maintaining effective communication therefore would depend on the situational identities of the communicators within a given cultural setting, context, or circumstance and their ability to remain aware of and in effect translate the inferences of the language being used in a particular moment. Gadamer writes that when a person lives in a language, he or she is filled with the sense of an “unsurpassable appropriateness” (Gadamer, 1999, p. 402) of the words used for a particular subject matter since the adequacy of a word is judged solely by the speaker’s knowledge of the thing it refers to. The familiarity of a word in one’s personal understanding would make the same word in a different language incapable of naming something equally well. Gadamer suggests a kind of interpretive paraphrasing is required for effective translation and offers the poem as an example of this (Gadamer, 1999, p. 402). Arnheim describes this on a more simultaneous sensory level as “isomorphism” (Arnheim, 1966, pp. 36, 68) whereby assimilation can be achieved between differing media by the relationship created with the thing through the senses. He argues that this acoustic knowing is achieved through musical and artistic training that teaches a person how to see and hear in unity and thus receive a fuller experience, as well as deliver more acutely expressed communication (Arnheim, 1966, p. 67).

Many people would argue that art emits its message and that the information the viewer receives is perpetually contestable (Gadamer, 1999, p. 401). An artwork is most often the residue of an artist’s journey and therein ceases to become just an object. It becomes the physical evidence of an inexplicable experience that will forever remain unique to the artist’s individual life conditioning (Ibbotson, 2008, p. 129). Its meaning for a different audience or viewer therefore can only be that which the viewer is able to interpret without the exactness of the same journey and the same self. This argument could also be applied to poetry where many poets, including Poe and Yeats, agree that poetry is written with a “suggestive indefiniteness”, or “for the ear” so that an instantaneous, albeit highly individual understanding can take place that would not happen by being too literal (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 50). This infers an acceptance among the art world, that meaning can only be suggested and that the audience completes a communication. Clare Morgan, in her work bridging poetry and business, notes that Keats describes this as having a “negative capability” (Morgan, 2010, p. 37) when one becomes comfortable with uncertainty.

In the language of business, terminology and communications are tightly defined and regulated in order to improve efficiency. Rampant jargon and buzzwords are rarely questioned and there exists an ”across the board mentality” (Morgan, 2010, p. 2) as opposed to individuality and ambiguity. It harkens the machine model of efficiency where the robotic ideal is one of detachment and hierarchy, and where fact and reason imply certainty. However, Morgan describes the downfalls of this as encouraging a tendency toward the “pinning down” of concepts and an inability to be situational which make an open-ended approach to survivability more difficult (Morgan, 2010, p. 2). Morgan takes poetry into the corporate world as a tool that “uses language to get beyond language” (Morgan, 2010, p. 53) by simultaneously inhabiting both logical and non-logical structures. She argues that effective decision-making can be greatly enhanced by helping to improve confluence between left and right hemispheres and describes the formal properties of the poem as meter and measure, images and metaphor, rhyme and sound patterns, shape and emphasis. We humans tune into these properties by listening, looking, feeling, imagining and reading which she says encourages subtlety in a person’s knowledge (Morgan, 2010, p. 57). A poem, therefore, requires one to modify how they work out what something means: “by its very nature, the poem is throwing things up that delay the pinning down you’d usually do quite swiftly” (Morgan, 2010, p. 58). It is this delay, according to Amabile (Johansson, 2004, p. 112), that is needed to get over the reactionary judgements that result from conditioned thought patterns created by habitual behaviour in an organised workplace.

If the province of the businessman (and businesswoman) is as large as all external reality, then the province of the poet is as large as the world of internal reality within us all. The life of action vs. the life of contemplation … between doing and knowing (cited in Morgan, 2010, p. 1, brackets added).

This quote from the forward of Morgan’s book is by John Barr, a high-ranking businessman with an interest in poetry, and it helps to ratify the idea of an art world and a business world as not separate, but two cultural aspects of a whole human realm that embodies the inner (individual) self and an outer (collective) shared environment. The type of language used by artists and within artistic contexts is based on a quieter, more contemplative thought process where meaning is open to controversy and multiplicity (Morgan, 2010, p. 2). The type of language used in the world of business, by contrast, is based on predetermined meaning that does not account for the sensory influences of an individual, but rather an accepted group interpretation which Ibbotson describes as “necessary for community, but fatal for communication” (Ibbotson, 2008, p. 114). Gusdorf views the act of speaking itself as the expropriation of the inner self because of the degree to which language directs consciousness and “imposes the discipline of exteriority” (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 115). However, if meanings and interpretations happen only insofar as they relate to the hearer’s own experience (Gadamer, 1999, p. 442; Greenleaf, 1977, p. 18) rather than as the groundless abstracted figure of the dialectic (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 9), and taking into account the role of context and circumstance as discussed earlier, then even the more conventionalised jargon will carry some measure of inner and situational colourisation.

Active Arts Management as effective translation under a tetradic model therefore appears to hinge on three key factors: an awareness of the infinite associations that an individual can bring to a communication, the role of contextual identity in an interpretation, and an acceptance of ambiguity as a form of “rational irrationality” (Guillet de Monthoux et al., 2007, p. 6) where logic and reason are not discarded, but devoid of the hegemonic assumption that they should not include the intuitive subtleties of the human being as a sort of aesthetic knowledge that affords a healthier perspective.

Arts Management Going Forward

Arts Management may well already be an outdated term as the idea of employing reciprocal and creative leadership methods is no longer associated solely with the arts. As Pink writes:

We are entering a new ‘conceptual’ age that is animated by a different form of thinking. It is one that prizes ‘high concept’ and ‘high touch’ aptitudes. High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new. High touch involves the ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and to elicit it in others and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning (Pink, 2005, pp. 2, 3).

Pink’s quote positions his argument in the wider world of business and global economy as a result of greater right hemisphere activity rather than within the arts industry. Pink describes three main reasons why this shift toward a Conceptual Age is occurring: the outcome of a consumption-gone-mad awareness resulting in a renewed search for meaning, the loss of routine jobs from the West to the East which has upped the ante for specialisation and entrepreneurial pursuits in Western societies, and lastly because human beings must now embody all the things computers cannot do to avoid total automation take-over (Pink, 2005, pp. 30, 36, 53). The ideological pursuit of financial wealth has not only potentially provided the necessary coercion for a new search for meaning, self-realisation and fulfilment, but has also rearranged the cultural and class patterns of the world to some extent (Florida, 2004, p. 8; McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 80). It remains to be seen how resistant the various phonic societies and acoustic modes of perception in Eastern cultures will be towards the growing influx of machine model jobs and their respective extensions.

Arts Management, therefore, becomes more of an allegorical term that describes literally how the arts are to be managed, but metaphorically how greater left and right hemisphere interaction can be the impetus for maintaining an organic way of knowing. In the words of Ibbotson, “management is not science, but art. It is art in the sense that it needs to be practiced with the full self: with heart, mind and soul aligned” (Ibbotson, 2008, p. 3). Ibbotson explains the creative process as fundamentally the same whether you are producing an artwork or developing theories of subatomic physics: you come to a place where only your imagination can offer a glimpse into new possibilities (Ibbotson, 2008, p. 5). In today’s Creative Age more imaginative associations are being made between the natural environment, science, and technology (Johansson, 2004, p. 32).

This rise in “intersectional thinking” (Johansson, 2004, p. 22) is described by Johansson as a result of three main theories: greater global mobility and a blending of cultures, audiences, and businesses around the world, an interdisciplinary and historical convergence in science where past eras have figured out the pieces which are now being put together with more collaboration between fields, and the “leap of computation” which is resulting in an exponential increase in international communications and social networking opportunities (Johansson, 2004, p. 22). Johansson offers cultural diversity as a key element in escaping imposed viewpoints, or stagnant norms (Johansson, 2004, p. 46), and says that people who speak multiple languages tend to show greater levels of creativity because of the wider range of associations and varied perspectives that different languages can capacitate (Johansson, 2004, p. 47).

This supports Gadamer’s notion of a “hermeneutical scandal” (Gadamer, 1999, p. 402) whereby the conceptual character of all understanding is the indissoluble unity of language and thought and therefore one cannot understand a foreign language when imprisoned in the singularity of their own. Johansson also argues that the intersectional mind is one that can maintain an ability to break out of established patterns of thought and which is capable of a kind of independent thought process that sees beyond and around the “single-disciplinary incrementalism” that occurs inside one way of seeing (Johansson, 2004, pp. 50, 52).  As discussed earlier in cultural terms, Johansson says people and organisations alike can become embedded in a value network made of unyielding processes and procedures that only continue to build upon themselves and in doing so, essentially kill any attempts to break out of them (Johansson, 2004, p. 152). Leaders of highly successful corporations such as Paul Maeder believe increasingly that our educational systems, mentors, and out-dated organisational leadership may also be falling victim to offering expertise based on hegemonic assumptions (cited by Johansson, 2004, p. 49) and are therefore advising students and employees to always question the boundaries of their learning. Single-disciplinary incrementalism is referred to by Pink as “L-Directed thinking” and “R-Directed thinking” (Pink, 2005, p. 26) whereby left hemisphere approaches to things yield toward left hemisphere results and right hemisphere approaches yield right hemisphere results. It would follow then that a more mimetic culture could emerge under McLuhan’s tetradic model of ensuring constant flexibility between both hemispheres and that Arts Management, as the self-maintenance of this ideal could become a way of life.

Acoustic Management Reciprocity in a Conceptual Age

Acoustic Management, in my view, better describes a Western management ideal, however I hesitated pairing acoustic with management in the title of this section as I now feel that the word management implies a hegemonic assumption toward hierarchy and machination.

Acoustic reciprocity feels more suited to a kind of semantic release in a potential future of greater negative capability. In order to draw the concepts of this essay into current practice, I am compelled to examine what a working environment might look like through the tetradic lens of a new ideology based on creativity. Is business in a Conceptual Age just organised art? If so, how does art become organised without adhering to an ordered state?

At Creative New Zealand’s 21st Century Arts Conference, where I had the privilege to work in 2010, many of the discussion topics hinged on paradoxical ideas such as encouraging and managing risk and basing a strategic plan on the ardour and ethereal purpose behind the art. The Morris Hargreaves McIntyre consultancy of the United Kingdom has been a big contributor to the work of Creative New Zealand in the development of arts organisations through both the individual Move on Up programmes and the shared environment of annual conferences. The Seven Pillars concept, although problematic in its linear sounding title, is a method introduced by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre that has proven to be one of the most effective means for successfully integrating quantitative and qualitative methods towards measurability in the arts (McIntyre & Morris, 2008).

Although initially I felt that measuring art in a conventionalist conference setting was another potentially futile left hemisphere dominated mistake, I found that the kinds of questions asked by this concept did not impose final answers and formal constructs in the mind as its title suggests. Instead these questions induce a comprehensible compromise between visual and acoustic characteristics that make the dynamic organisation of the arts a real possibility. I therefore look at the Seven Pillars concept as a way to measure success in the arts, as well as a study by Amabile (Amabile, Schatzel, Moneta, & Kramer, 2004) that looks at qualitative measurability of creativity outside the arts.

During my internship at Creative New Zealand, I observed several paradoxical situations both in the office and in the conference setting. In the context of the office, meetings often took place around a small, impersonal black box on the table and yet there was humour, love, and respect emanating through it by means of Māori waiata, warm introductions for new employees, and praise for those employees who had achieved noteworthy personal and creative goals; strict protocol and careful wording were highly monitored in any public documentation or communications because of the often eggshell existence of government in the public’s eye, however the in-office informal displays of caring camaraderie and empathetic support for unlucky arts funding hopefuls did not reflect this outer persona.

At the conference I observed a conventional conference framework of power point presentations, flip charts, and rigid schedules coinciding with unconventional ideas of abandoning typical marketing practices, emotional and personal stories of growth, rolled up sleeves, and the opting for more intimate and inclusive circular seating arrangements rather than one person talking to a facing crowd.  As an artist I was initially unconvinced that the arts could be advanced in this context, and while I believe the future aesthetics and flow of the conference could bend a little more towards artistic chaos and surprise, I was able to dismiss my scepticism after listening to the content.

The Seven Pillars concept emerged around the turn of the twenty-first century as one of the first methods that could place the integrity of art at the centre of the organisation whilst implementing quantitative measurements of growth and success (McIntyre & Morris, 2008, pp. 4, 5). It introduces seven categories that require further development and individualisation by each organisation that chooses to use this method. The seven categories are: vision-led, which seeks to articulate the originating artistic vision or purpose, brand-driven which outlines an ethos or culture that an organisation chooses to live by, outcome-oriented which focuses on impact as a measure of success rather than merely numbers and dollars, inter-disciplinary where autonomy and connectivity are simultaneous, insight-guided which re-considers the needs of the audience as a group of individuals rather than lumped segments, interactively engaged where art is taken off its pedestal and placed back in the hands of the people, and finally personalised which examines ways to include and maintain the humanity in both the art and the organisation (McIntyre & Morris, 2008, p. 5).

In a report about creativity in the workplace Amabile and her colleagues looked at a corporation that lay outside the arts industry (Amabilie et al., 2004). They argue that the leaders of an organisation can build a perceived culture that encourages creativity based on three main components: respectful autonomy, inclusive and open-minded communication, and situational attention to developments. The reciprocated attitude of employees as a result of this kind of environment, they deduced, would be one based on intrinsic motivation which in turn is an exponential ingredient to the ultimate success of any organisation (Amabile et al., 2004, p. 28). In my view, these three components aid the practical integration of an organic way of knowing into a more glocalised organisational culture.

Respectful autonomy implies the encouragement of individual ideas and a lack of hierarchical constructs, open-minded and inclusive communication indicates a lack of bias and an awareness of the individuality and open-endedness of a communicator’s position, and situational attention to developments infers a more qualitative and considerate approach to problems or change rather than implementing across-the-board policies. While this kind of a management philosophy may not be conducive to simplifying an identity, it seems possible, following Bohm’s notion of the “holoflux” and Morgan’s “holographic organisation” (Morgan, 1998, pp. 97, 100) that a culture could emerge which is not a completed whole, or the sum of its predesigned parts encouraged under a machine model, but rather an active whole where the parts reflect the nature of a whole that is in constant relation to each individual part. Hence simultaneity and connectivity may exist in harmony with autonomy and individual expression or creativity.

Thus the notion that creativity, or a mimetically realised ability, exists only when tangibly evidenced in the physical world is dissolved (Shapero, 1989, p. 191). Instead creativity ceases to become a commodity, or a reason to hire someone, but rather the naturally crafted fabric of the self that in turn aids a fluid and adaptable culture. The diasporic tone of “business as organised art” does not therefore indicate further indoctrination of left hemisphere domination over the arts, but the idea that under a tetradic ideological existence, order and chaos create a unified whole. That is, business and art are fundamentally the same because they are implicit in the whole of humanity. Like the Balinese who say “we have not art, we do everything as well as possible” (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 103), art itself may be reabsorbed into society so that people may practice an artistry in everyday life. Once a balanced awareness of this concept is established, the alphabet itself, being born of imaginary things, could be seen as one of the most influential works of art in history.


In summary, through the topic of language as an innate and infinite source from which all extensions of humanity flow, the idea of Arts Management as a kind of active translation between business and art expands into a much bigger and metaphorical idea of Arts Management as the act of maintaining left and right hemisphere interaction and therefore a mimetic way of knowing in a creative and conceptual ideology. Although human beings learn and further the success of a civilisation through assimilation and homeostasis, these tendencies can become problematic when the fluidity of dynamic coercion between order and chaos stagnate in the form of hegemonic assumption and embedded norms. As Zubiri writes “things will be very different when the logos, as an instrument of human social intercourse, is principally used to convince or persuade others. When the is of conversation becomes the is of things” (cited in McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 36). In this capacity language, and the multifarious interpretive aspects that serve to unify it, reflects the complex and potentially problematic systems that have formed past and present ideologies in Western societies. As a humancondition, it therefore permeates the micro-ideologies within a singular organisation regardless of its relationship with the arts.

Under McLuhan’s nomenclature, visual and acoustic space help to explain the ironic notion of how human beings have gained consciousness of the senses through the objectified Platonic ideal of a formulaic alphabet which has led to its own tipping point of a mimetic coercion by the senses. This perpetually dynamic coercion is reflective of the yin and yang unity of opposites whereby the need for orderly categorisation by the left hemisphere is in constant negotiation with the simultaneous sensory syntheses achieved by the right hemisphere. The perceived separation of the hemispheres has resulted in an impoverished understanding of the more spatial notion of figure and ground as interaction between all interpretations. As McManus writes “however tempting it is to talk of right and left hemispheres in isolation, they are actually two half-brains, designed to work together as a smooth, single, integrated whole in one entire complete brain” (cited in Pink, 2005, p. 25).

This translates into many of the paradoxical concepts involved in managing the arts such as measuring the immeasurable and the organisation of chaotic elements. However, as we enter an age of greater creativity and intersecting associations, these concepts have become relevant and applicable in areas outside the arts. Left-hemisphere dominant, conventionalist corporations that have historically embodied a hegemonic machine model are now introducing poetry, among other things, as a tool towards encouraging greater right hemisphere activity in the workplace. The capacity for translation as a kind of interpretive paraphrasing between different languages and cultures could potentially aid the unification of an increasingly multi-cultural world.

Florida’s Creative Age describes the transformation of whole cities and countries because of the realised value of creativity. In tandem with Pink’s notion of a Conceptual Age where a new era is dawning out of the coercive stasis of at least a decade’s worth of meaningless consumption, there is a collective increase in acceptance and therefore activity in peoples’ creative abilities which is potentially culminating as a worldwide right hemisphere renaissance and an entire ideological shift. Integration of these concepts into an idealistic, or tetradic organisational leadership ability within a workplace would appear to hinge not only on the ability to translate movable interpretations, but also the artful management of a self identity based on a mimetic and autonomous way of seeing. The definition of management therefore must cease to embody a hierarchical nature and instead become a kind of reciprocal group culture consisting of flexible structures in a simultaneous holographic whole where embedded norms are eradicated through intrinsic creativity and inclusive and open communications.

Ironically, systems produced from extremely visually biased technical data are creating unsystems and increased opportunities for uncontainable and chaotic elements to flourish through the rapid exchange of multiple meanings (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 239). As McLuhan writes, “it is no longer about finding fixed answers, but rather the ability to question and interpret in the proper way and place” (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 239). It is about the glocalised notion of artful self-management for the sake of the whole and an acceptance of ambiguity as a necessary ingredient for coercion. Art and business cease to be two opposing segmented parts, but an action and response relationship in a constantly negotiated environmental flux. This supports Arnheim’s belief that art is not for the privileged few, but a natural activity of every human being (Arnheim, 1966, p. 337). Incorporating it into the everyday micro-ideologies of work, education, and personal identity therefore has the potential to produce mature, complete and happy people (Arnheim, 1966, p. 337).

I conclude with a quote by Gadamer that I feel adequately positions the arguments in this essay:

Language is not its elaborated conventionalism, nor the burden of pre-schematization with which it loads us, but the generative and creative power to unceasingly make this whole once again fluent. (Gadamer, 1999, p. 549).


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Glossary (as interpreted in this essay)

Acoustic space – the sensory elements of understanding in language.

Aristotelian causality – based on the idea that only that which had a cause could be explained. However, under the four causes (material, efficient, formal, final) what began as a more left and right hemispherical balance of soft and hard components came to be misinterpreted in left hemisphere terms as an efficient linear series toward an end-point. The four causes were considered parallel to the four levels of interpretation of scripture by medieval grammarians (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 88).

Autopoesis – the theory of evolution of the natural world. Dynamic – of or relating to energy or objects in perpetual motion.

Entity – something that has a real self-contained existence.

Flow – incorporating the senses into the way an organisation is managed to encourage fluidity.

Flux – continuous change, passage, or movement.

Glocalisation – the interrelatedness of both the local and global whole.

Hegemony – the preponderant influence or authority over another; the process and influence of stigmatisation.

Hermeneutics – means interpretive; is a branch of philosophy concerned with human understanding and the interpretation of reality.

Historical sense – a perception that the whole of the literature of Europe (from Homer up to now) and within it the whole of the literature of one’s own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order.

Holoflux – the coexistence of an implicate (enfolded) and an explicate (unfolded) order within phenomena; the interchanges between group members and their effect on the dynamics of the group.

Holographic – a three-dimensional object produced by the reciprocal relationship of the individual parts to the whole.

Human condition – the positive and negative aspects of existence as a human 

being supported in this essay as a result of an innate capacity for language.

Homeostasis – the instinctive preservation of the most favourable conditions for survival and well-being (Bickerton, 1995, p. 87).

Ideology – the body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.

Innate – inherent in the essential character of something.

Interpretivism – refers to the methodological approach of placing considerable emphasis on understanding human behaviour from the researcher’s perspective. Interpretivists argue that positivist attempts to measure human behaviour are inadequate because they exclude the intersubjective and mimetic nature of the social world.

Irony – a difference between what you expect to happen and what actually happens. Isomorphism – a structural similarity of configuration in different media.

Logos – a term from ancient Greece denoting speech as understanding in relation to both human reasoning and a universal intelligence.

Mimetic – an organic way of knowing; a synthesis of being and the world.

Nexus – to bind.

Nihilism – the essence of nihilism lies in history and our belief that what has been believed is what has been real rather than the truth of being as remaining wanting; the obscuring of being by the potency of the real (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1988, p. 64).

Perception – the process by which organisms interpret and organise sensation to produce a meaningful experience of the world.

Plato’s cave allegory – a metaphor whereby all men live inside a dark cave with shared norms and accepted ways of interpreting the light outside the cave. A cave dweller who leaves and learns the truth about the outside world can never again accept the hegemonic norms of the cave and be oblivious to his or her newfound experience and knowledge.

Renaissance – a rebirth or revival. Tipping point – the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development.

Visual space – a objective perspective that eliminates the senses from knowledge as a result of the invention of the alphabet.

Waiata – a Māori song of welcome in a gathering together of people 

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