Border-defying change: February 20-26 on openDemocracy

Crossing borders is never made easy. It can be made dramatic, as
Orson Wells does in the opening sequence of Touch of Evil, a film that Salik Shah would never have had access to had it not been for technology - torrent networks - and piracy. Understand that piracy is not just middle class teens ripping Lady Gaga. It's also a way for culture to cross borders where people still find it too hard to do so.

5 March 2012

But culture doesn't always travel so well across borders - or at least it depends how the border transforms it. David Elstein, possibly the most knowledgeable critic of the TC Series "Law and Order" you'll ever read, provides a masterly micro-comparison of two episodes - one the London remake of the other, the New York original. So why exactly is the original so much better? Discover the filmic and social layers as they're peeled away by the critic.

Cultural border-crossings criss-cross Anita Desai's stories about India - language, metropolitan/rural, traditional/modernising James Warner understands the political allegories of her tales, but even more, he tunes in to Desai's description of the delicate, private and secretive attempt by the writer to create meaning. The border between self and other can be so creative.

Jenny Allsop reviews a Tate Britain exhibition that considers the impact of immigrants on British Art. Border crossings from those of Van Dyck to the 1980s experiences of black artists like Sonia Boyce all tell the important story of Britain as a place of refuge - however imperfect. And it goes the other way around too, argues Allsop, "without migrants’ contributions, Britain’s artistic heritage would paint a sorry picture."

Rosemary Bechler tries to explain what is a "transnational idea of Europe" and how we might get there - a 'subterranean politics' that brings together European democratic forces across the borders that the old political class has no real interest in dissolving.

And what, in all this border-defying change, to make of the digital realm Is it the old tricks of bricks and mortar entrapment, in virtualised clothes, with digital goodies produced by free labour and monetised by sharks? If the possibility still remains of the digital becoming a liberating technology, is it through the sorts of tools and uses that Anonymous master?

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