Arts and Literature

Urban Life and Creativity: From Conflict to Cultural Innovation

What role does the experience of urban life play in stimulating creativity? In his newest book, “The Muse of Urban Delirium,” author Blair Ruble writes about the challenges of urban diversity, conflict, and creativity by examining the emergence of artistic expression in a series of specific cities at particular times. His analysis provides the focus for this edition of Wilson Center NOW.

Guest

3 Reasons Why The Arts Should Be Taken More Seriously

“Across history, across regimes of government, if you ever wanted to find the truth, you’d always go to the poet”– Mitchell J. Landrieu, Mayor, City of New Orleans

Vanessa German and Spoken Word Opera

One afternoon in December 2016, well over one-hundred denizens of official Washington crowded into an auditorium in the Woodrow Wilson Center to celebrate “creative placemaking.”  With NEA Chair Jane Chu, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and Kresge Foundation President Rip Rapson looking on, a young African-American artist stepped to the stage and transported the entire room into another dimension with her moving poem about the children of the Homewood neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  German transformed the afternoon into a spiritual awakening with what many were calling the most

Hollywood Made in China

American studios want a bigger piece of China’s USD 6.8 billion box office.

They are willing to edit scripts and flatter China to get it. The Chinese government wants to limit American cultural influence in China, but also to use Hollywood to build China’s soft power. Washington has taken note of China’s ambitions, the lack of reciprocity in cultural and commercial relations, and Beijing’s ability to leverage its market to influence American film. The issue is becoming central to U.S.-China relations.

Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili and Physical Theater

Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili arrived in the United States with their own immigrant dream: to integrate their distinctive brand of physical theater into American theatrical life. As The New York Times has noted, their vision produces an “elegant fusion of dance and experimental theater.” Their approach draws on the long-standing theatrical traditions of their homeland, the country of Georgia, which merges physicality and mime into an exceptional brand of performance.

The Political Performances of Peng Liyuan

I have been an ordinary warrior of the fine arts”– Peng Liyuan, 2007

The Muse of Urban Delirium: How the Performing Arts Paradoxically Transform Conflict-Ridden Cities Into Centers of Cultural Innovation

This collection of essays seeks answers to the challenges of urban diversity, conflict, and creativity by examining the emergence of musical and theatrical originality in a series of specific cities at particular times. It does so by using various performing arts - opera, dance, theater, music - as windows onto the creativity of urban life. These were urban societies in which the socio-economic and political transformations were taking place at such rapid speed as to force consideration of their meaning and identity.

Performing Community 2: Short Essays on Community, Diversity, Inclusion, and the Performing Arts

In 2012, the Urban Sustainability Laboratory began posting short essays by Director Blair A. Ruble about the themes of community, governance, and transparency in cities. By 2015, a sufficient number had appeared to be gathered in Performing Community: Short Essays on Community, Diversity, Inclusion, and the Performing Arts. This first collection included twenty-one essays focusing on the role of the performing arts in community building around the world.

Conservatism as Preemptive Strike: The Case of Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk—Russia’s third largest city and the unofficial capital of Siberia—rarely makes international news. Apart from stories about Akademgorodok, a Soviet-built science city, sometimes called the “Silicon Forest,” the city was barely mentioned in the Western press until recently.

Ukrainian Literature Series: "Decomposition" with Ukrainian Poet Lyuba Yakimchuk

Cosponsored by the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University

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