An introduction to MATRIX CULTURA 2050 and the relation of culture to Sustainable Development
Society is witness to a set of fundamental changes concerning how we live, work, comprehend and understand the contemporary world.
MATRIX CULTURA 2050 is a project that relates how artistic, cultural and local initiatives manifest the value of culture for sustainable development.
The strategy is to generate a community of knowledge.
MATRIX CULTURA 2050 is about enabling a process where the relation between culture and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda1 are thought formally (as an artistic, cultural or local initiative) and informally (as society).
Integral to the project is the capacity to imagine and think how, what we understand to be cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, can have a role to play in the future world objective Vision 2050: Living in Harmony with Nature.2
THE CONTEXT FOR MATRIX CULTURA 2050
Society is witness to a set of fundamental changes concerning how we live, work, comprehend and understand the contemporary world. These changes impact on how we relate culture, innovation and sustainable development. To a degree these changes are being driven by the universal adoption of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations and the seventeen SDGs.
This global iniciative has the support of intergovernmental agencies, multilateral conventions, as well as the collaboration of international organisations such as the World Economic Forum, that includes the signing of a "Strategic Partnership Framework for the 2030 Agenda" between the United Nations and the World Economic Forum.3
At this very moment, a new set of terminologies and "language possibilities" are in the process of being elaborated.
The creation of a new set of terminologies underpins a "theory of change". This is explicitly considered in the Post 2020 Framework for the Convention on Biodiversity.4
This theory of change, is in the medium term related and synergised with the SDGs, and in the longer term with the 2050 Vision and the world objective of Living in harmony with nature.
There is a need to expand the argumentation for relating culture with the SDGs.
If culture is unable to relate its visions and knowledges to the current objectives for sustainable development, then the role of culture as we understand it today, with all its associated diversities and expertises, is in danger of being left behind.
That culture is not directly included in the SDGs is not the real issue. It is something of a false problem. The real problematic at hand is if culture, in all of its many contemporary manifestations, is able to have an informative role in a future era that is being identified as Living in Harmony with Nature.
This future era is being set out as one that is informed and governed by automation, design, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the architecture of blockchain. It will facilitate 6G bio-cybernetic trust and identification technologies. It will enable and facilitate a new set of electromagnetic environments based on rare earth elements, ores and metalloids that include, cadmium, tellurium, indium, gallium and selenium (for solar panels); or the intermetallic compound neodynium alloyed to dysprosium or turbium (for the production of the permanent magnets and batteries used in wind turbines, electric cars as well as the screen technologies for mobile devices or flat screen televisions).5
In the current era of transformation and the future era of Living In Harmony With Nature, all environments whether they be cultural, green, blue, urban, rural, natural, exotic, electric, artificial, hyper or digital: will all be labelled as "smart", "connected" and above all "intelligent".
IS THE FUTURE MORE FUTURISTIC THAN PREVIOUSLY PREDICTED? IS DEVELOPMENT ONLY A MACHINE? CAN WE STILL CONSIDER SUSTAINABILITY?
The short answers are: "No, it is not." "For some." and,"Yes, we can."
To elaborate. If humanity has already advanced from the stone, copper, bronze and iron ages, what we are now witness too, is an emergent new age of rare earth metals. This is representative of nothing less than a new age of metallurgy.
A FIRST OBSERVATION,
It is with the technologies of metal that man thinks and innovates.
As was stated by Gilles Delueze and Felix Guattari in their book A Thousand Plateaus (originally published in 1980 by Les Editions de Minuit, and in 1996 by The Athlone Press):
"It is as if metal and metallurgy imposed upon and raised to consciousness something that is only hidden or buried in other matters and operations. In metallurgy the operations are always astride the thresholds, so that an energetic materiality overspills the prepared matter, and a qualitative deformation or transformation overspills the form. If metallurgy has an essential relation with music, it is by virtue not only of the sounds of the forge, but also, a continuous variation of form. What metal and metallurgy bring to light is a life proper to matter. Metal is coextensive to the whole of matter." (pp.410-411)
When rare earth minerals are the new catalyst, there is a need to think about what is innovation and what is development.
This is the scenario: Does an innovative use of rare earth elements, metaloids and ores represent a going beyond oil and carbon. Is it not just another rational for the continued destruction of indigenous and natural landscapes, a rational that enables a continued exponential extraction of metals and minerals. Are all the natural environments still just another cattle ranch, the zone’s where we cut, graze, mine, extract and profit?
The short answer is, "not in a direct way."
Rare earth minerals, in order to exist, first need to be extracted from the earth. Identified resources include very specific regions of China, North America and increasingly, the seabed. The extracted minerals then have to be refined. Some of those processes are very complex and very expensive. A research theme for the development of 6G mobile technologies includes the capacity for deep sea surveillance.6
A consideration: How many natural or cultural environments are needed to be exploited for the enabling of the next "2050, Net Zero Carbon City"?7
What actually goes beyond mineral extraction is the Digital Revolution. This is a concept of development otherwise referred to as "Digital Culture", the "Digital Transformation" or the "Fourth Industrial Revolution".8
A SECOND OBSERVATION,
Everything concerns digital. Digital is the transformative industry that enables the SDG's.
The technologies of the digital revolution are built on the alloys of rare earth metals and ores. It is the digital revolution that facilitates the future hegemony for the new commodity of data. The infrastructure for data is based on blockchain and mobile technologies. The promise of data enables Social Media: the first exploration for a global "synchronisation of emotion", the first stone for the new smart and connected eras where we all Live in Harmony with Nature.
The ultimate objective of digitalisation is to replace the Gold Standard.9
A THIRD OBSERVATION,
Culture needs to be understood as something more than a tool for the global communicator.
As previously stated, a theory of change is at this very moment being put into motion. It is designed as a cross cutting theme. It is promoted by a number of global entrepreneurs and influencers. This theory of change includes the "financialisation of nature", it includes the suggestion that global technological companies have a representative role alongside democratically elected governments.
This emerging scenario is evidenced with the United Nations report of the “High-level Panel On Digital Cooperation”10, co-chaired by Melinda Gates of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group.11
The report of the United Nations includes five considerations: Inclusive digital economy and society; Human and institutional capacity; Human rights and human agency; Trust, security and stability; Global digital cooperation.
The objective of these five considerations is for the digital divide (what was previously understood to be a variable) is solutioned when the entire population of the globe is in possession of a mobile telephone. It is then that the unconnected 1.1 billion will no longer be considered as invisible.12
The road map for digital cooperation works on the principals of uniformity. It sets out the need for enabling "Identification for development". There is no recognition of the role of sustainability. Everything is stated in the singular, there is no consideration of multipolarity.
A FOURTH OBSERVATION,
There is a need to speculate...
What is understood is that identity, that is to say the new digital identities, the new individual identity of each one of us, is to be enabled, distributed and trusted to blockchain technologies.
Our digitalised identity, our consciousness becomes a subset and a conduit. That is to say, when we recall the ideas of Marshall McLuhan, if we are all and now "electric", have we not, all now become the "messenger"?
It is a principal aspect of the electric age that it enables a global network that has the characteristic of our central nervous system. Our central nervous system is not merely an electric network, it constitutes a single unified field of experience. […] Many people, in consequence, have begun to look on the whole of society as a single unified machine for creating wealth.13
Data, generated by a connected humanity, replaces the commodity of oil. Big Data becomes the new global commodity. This was previously understood to be gold, the metal through which all of humanity ultimately thought and light was given to life.
The true banality of it all: Humanity in the era of Living in Harmony with Nature is in danger of being realised as A Living Currency.
It will then be the turn of the gold standard to be disrupted, the true revolution of the digital.
A further question: How does big data relate to consciousness, to all the calendarial rhythms and to all the chronodiversities of the world. Or is everything now a DeepMind AI computation?
The proposition of the United Nations and its report of the "Road Map for Digital Cooperation" runs as follows:
"Human rights are now in need of being advanced."
Culture and the humanities are required to make a response.
Does this go beyond the capacity of "cultural management"? Yes it does. It should be the responsibility of us all, and that responsibility should not be restricted to what we comprehend as artistic, cultural or even experimental: it should be inclusive of society and all of the politic.
Culture needs to transmit its formal knowledge, informally, to all levels of society from the perspective of a consciousness and a multiplicity of temporalities (chronodiversity).
It is about completing and confirming the global compromise with the SDGs.
To speak directly about what culture can bring:
Whereas Culture Action Europe14 approaches the SDGs from a position of "critical thinking", "intercultural dialogue" and the establishment of "innovative aproaches": the United Nations affiliated Sustainable Development Solutions Network, through the identification of "six transformations", considers "connectivity", "innovation" and "infrastructure" as key factors for the success of the SDGs.15
MATRIX CULTURA 2050 sets out to enable a scenario where: The arts, culture and local iniciatives, through critical thinking, intercultural dialogue and innovative approaches, need to manifest their values and importance for the transitional stage represented by the SDGs, and, for the long term 2050 Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature.
The project MATRIX CULTURA 2050 originates from the drawing of a matrix by Asociación LIVEMEDIA following it's working visit to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2018. The main themes of the congress were the adoption of the SDGs by the mobile industry, and the announcement of the new 5G mobile technologies.
The matrix sets out to establish a relation between innovation and cultural diversity.
Within the matrix, the SDGs represent a methodology.
The objective of the matrix is to position the wealth of humanity (riqueza de la humanidad) as the principle benefit of a relation between culture and innovation.
Chronodiversity and biodiversity are positioned as external factors.
What the SDGs provide is a methodology.
The objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda have the goal to involve all actors: the public sector, the private sector and civil society. "The goals and targets are integrated and indivisible and combine the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental." The SDGs present, "a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future." It is proposed as an urgent call for action by all countries in a global partnership, requiring complementary actions by governments, civil society, science, and business.
The contemporary situation of today can be thought like this,
There is no unified understanding for how the seventeen objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda should be put into action. This is where culture - and perhaps through MATRIX CULTURA 2050 - can assist. If the SDGs are obligatory for national, regional and local governments, NGO's, academic institutions as well as the marketing of international corporations, the SDGs remain something of an after thought for the majority of civil society.
A projected timetable:
In 2025 we will start to read and learn of a first round of international seminars and conferences about the global projection of Vision 2050: Living in Harmony with Nature.
The agendas for these conferences are already being formalised and closed.
The possibility is that development and its set of innovations, becomes divorced from sustainability and from the multiple temporalities of the world's cultures that in their integrity and co-existence enable consciousness.
Why is it not that the "advancement of human rights" is not handed over to the ecosystem of culture and it's comprehension of all the environments: cultural, green, blue, urban, rural, natural, exotic, electric, artificial, hyper, digital, smart, connected and intelligent?
The environment and ecosystem of culture is one that has access to all of the knowledges.
See: "CBD/WG2020/2/4" https://www.cbd.int/conferences/post2020/wg2020-02/documents
USGD-US Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2014/3078/pdf/fs2014-3078.pdf
See:The shift to 6G communications: vision and requirements https://hcis-journal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s13673-020-00258-2
See: Europe’s climate goal: Revolution https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-climate-goal-revolution-net-zero-emissions/ and, To achieve net-zero carbon cities and buildings we need systemic efficiency https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/how-to-achieve-zero-carbon-cities-and-buildings/
Other representations included: Nikolai Astrup, Minister of Digitalisation, Norway; Vinton G. Cerf, vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google; Marina Kaljurand (Estonia), Chair of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace; Marina Kolesnik (Russian Federation), senior executive, entrepreneur and WEF Young Global Leader; Akaliza Keza Ntwari (Rwanda), ICT advocate and entrepreneur; and, Kira Radinsky (Israel), Director of Data Science, eBay.
See, Footnote 33, https://www.un.org/en/content/digital-cooperation-roadmap
See, Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man, pp.348-354, MIT Press 1994