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Inaugural conference at ZHdK by Dr. Frédéric Martel, Professor (creative economies), Zurich, June 2, 2022.

Let me begin by thanking Andy Pratt for his introduction. He is one of a group of researchers and academics, along with Roman Page, Claudio Bucher, Simon Grand, Carole Guertler, Peter Haerle, Desmond Hui in Hong Kong, Sebastiano Peter in Lugano, Abbas Saad in Lebanon, Consueilo Seizar in Mexico and Joanna Woronkowicz in the United States, whom we have gathered around the Zurich Centre for Creative Economies. Many thanks to all of you. I also wish to thank Thomas Meier, the President of Zurich University of the Arts, for joining us this evening. He has played an important role in establishing our center, the Zurich Centre for Creative Economies, and in validating our minor. Many thanks for your support. Finally, I wish to give special thanks to Christoph Weckerle, without whom I would not be here this evening to deliver this inaugural lecture.


Cultural globalization has been my main research topic for the last 25 years.

Ever since I began studying “cultural globalization” twenty-five years ago, I have always wanted to know — and I am only now realizing this — where I live. This was the subject of my doctoral thesis: in the village in the South of France where I was born, in the families of poor peasants who did not speak English, why had American culture, which was so distant, so exotic for them, become their culture (for example, at our home, we listened to jazz and read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath)? It is still a mystery for me. In my search for an answer, I realized that I needed to study the cultural model of the United States.

Similarly, in the three books that followed, which form a kind of “trilogy” on culture, I sought to understand the meaning of the global and the common sense of the local. Published in 2006, my first book De la culture en Amérique – my PhD dissertation – explored the relationship between American public policy, philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector. I looked at the history of cultural policy form Roosevelt to Obama, a subject that was not widely discussed in Europe at the time. Having considered the “foundations” of this system and the role of the state, I became interested in the cultural industries, and thus in “market” culture: This led to my next book, Mainstream, which was published in 2010. In it, I broadened my perspective: The first part dealt with “American entertainment,” the second with global “mainstream” culture, based on a field survey conducted in some thirty countries. Finally, I tried to delineate the creative industries in the digital age in a book titled Smart, the third volume, so to speak, of the trilogy, which appeared in 2014.

Together, these three books — well, four, actually, if I include a long essay on American theater, also published in 2006 — constitute a coherent whole that was conceived as such. This trilogy aims to decipher the decisive cultural mutation we are currently experiencing in its three intertwined dimensions: the great transformation of cultural policies (De la Culture en Amérique); the metamorphosis of the creative industries (Mainstream); and the digital transition (Smart).

Overall, these reflections helped me to see “cultural policy” in the broadest sense of the term, as a public policy for all cultures. At that stage, it encompassed arts policy, the economy of culture, and of course the cultural industries; but also digital policy and platform regulation; the new philanthropy; arts education; algorithms; creative cities; social networks; the creative class; cultural start-ups; cultural diplomacy and soft power, and so on. (This was the main idea of my article “State of the arts. Cultural policies: Mapping a field in reinvention.” Written here at ZHdK, it observed a widening of both the notion and the field of “cultural policy.” This approach enabled me to reconsider the role of public and private actors, as well as the place of artists in a digital society).

Over the past twenty years, my publications, teaching, and lectures have kept asking the same question: Where do I live? This is not, of course, a personal question, nor even a rhetorical one. It concerns an essential issue, the one I wish to address this evening.

Before I do, let me add one final preliminary remark. All of the research topics I am going to talk about, the texts I have written or plan to write, or the research projects in progress or forthcoming, nurture and will nurture my work here at the Zurich Centre of Creative Economies, my scientific contribution to the DIZH (the Digitalization Initiative of the Zurich Higher Education Institutions), my articles for the new ZCCE website (, our “T-Minor Creative Economies in Practice” (just now approved by ZHdK). All of these ventures will nurture our teaching — as well as the important project on cultural policies that we will be submitting next year to the Swiss National Science Foundation for multi-year funding. Finally, my research also nurtures, constantly in fact, the ZCCE’s “consulting” work, which in recent months we have provided in a dozen cities and countries: Frankfurt, Lugano, Geneva, San Sebastian in Spain, the Swiss embassy in Japan, and the UN’s International Labor Agency (ILO) among others places. Besides generating revenue for the ZCCE, our consulting services also enable us to increase our research, thus creating a virtuous circle: Our research enables our consulting, which in turn nurtures our research; our research enables our teaching, which in turn nurtures our consulting, etc. We call this “la vache qui rit” effect, the “laughing cow effect”: The laughing cow has a laughing cow dangling from its ear, which has a laughing cow dangling from its ear, and so on.

I see my work here at ZHdK and what I will now present in this laughing cow spirit! Time, however, forbids too much academic detail so I have listed my main sources on a handout (published here at the end of the lecture). This “takeaway” serve less to “promote” myself than to allow you to follow up on whatever you consider useful. A note on procedure: To avoid boring you, at least too much, I will limit my academic references. What follows is based on personal work or specific sources. Not citing each and every source will allow me to be more concise and thus share, beyond the actual research involved, my point of view. (The long bibliography at the end of this lecture).

The Digital Century

I am French. As I mentioned, I come from the South of France and I also live regularly in my new apartment in Zurich. I am a man, a professor. I am also, dare I say it, what, somewhat ironically, is called a “public intellectual” in the United States. And like you, I am, here this evening, therefore the product, the accumulation, the aggregation, the sum total of these multiple identities.

Each of us has several identities: We can choose to define ourselves as French or Swiss or as coming from German-speaking Switzerland; as language is so important, others will define themselves as coming from French-speaking Switzerland, Italian-speaking Switzerland, or from Romansh-speaking Switzerland. Let’s not forget that Switzerland has very many dialects and that a quarter of the Swiss population does not have one of the four national languages as its main language! But language is not all that matters: People can also be defined by their canton, for instance, the Grisons, the Vaud, or of course Zurich.

Each of us is a man or a woman. We can choose — just as we are free not to choose. We can be gay or lesbian. We can choose not to assume that identity or indeed not to choose at all. We also belong to a social, economic class — and we can be, as I was, a so-called “transfuge de classe” or “class defector.” We do not need to be Bourdieusian to defend this notion — although we are of course entitled to be Bourdieusian. (At this juncture, let me mention some of the authors who have inspired my thinking on multiple identities: first and foremost, Amartya Sen in his magnificent Identity and Violence; but also Michael Walzer, Charles Taylor and Anthony Appiah, whose works you will find listed on the handout. And of course the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, my master, who wrote “Je est un autre” (I am someone else); or who in Illuminations observes, “Quelqu’une des voix […] – Il s’agit de moi” (One of the voices […] — It is me). His was very much a polyphonic identity.

Therefore, like you, I am the product, the aggregation, the sum total, of multiple identities — and sometimes even their subtraction, when I prefer to be discreet or do not accept that I belong to one community or another. Once again, I am free to do so.

In France, we have also learned, since the election of François Mitterrand, to live in Europe. We were no longer just French: We became Europeans.

More recently, since the new millennium, our identity has been deployed, and multiplied, on the Internet, and soon afterward on social networks. The “mainstreaming” of Google dates back to the year 2000. Facebook was founded in 2004, YouTube in 2005, Twitter in 2006, and Instagram in 2010. This great digital transition, which has been accelerated by the arrival of smartphones (since the launch of the iPhone in 2007), is barely 20 years old — and yet, it has profoundly changed our lives.

We also deploy our identity on social networks. We can make it public — or not. We can change it. Soon, we will even be able to create multiple lives in Metaverse and can already do so on Tik Tok or Snapchat, or in video games.

Consciously or unconsciously, we have become global beings. My tweets can be read synchronously all over the world. An event, an idea, or a text, no matter how specialized, can be commented on in particular communities all over the world.

The Silicon Valley founders, the GAFA billionaires, and venture capitalists are delighted with this new world. Its promise is their promise: That the world becomes “flat”; that borders disappear; that culture standardizes around a global lingua franca: English; that we will be able to live “anywhere” and become, whether we like it or not, nomads and citizens of the world. And that artists will become deterritorialized and, working “remote,” will produce “digital art” accessible from any screen.

Basically, and in particular for us poor members of the “creative class” — artists, critics, authors, intellectuals, Horatios, scribblers — our Flying Membership Card will be our identity card. And that our “miles” will measure our success like our number of followers. Or rather “would.”

Borders are an outdated notion. In Silicon Valley, the theory is that power is shifting from states to networks (it is certainly true that their market capitalization sometimes surpasses that of certain states). National regulations hinder the free circulation of cultural products, which are being transformed into flows, streams, clouds, formats, stories, and apps — in short, into “content.” We have gone from cultural “goods” to creative “services.” Or as the saying goes: “Culture as a service.”

There is much truth in this digital transition. I am not judging it in terms of morals or values. It is neither good nor bad in itself: It is what it is. We have entered the digital century. This is a fact. And I don’t think we can, or should go backward. Those who criticize the GAFAs would be the first to be upset if search engines or Google Maps stopped existing if they had to queue to buy a train ticket or book a plane at a travel agency. As Don Draper says in Mad Men: “Listen, I have a life, and it only goes in one direction: forward.”

“Digitalization“ is, in fact, a new stage of globalization. Which explains why those criticizing this stage of globalization (and the criticism is proliferating) also criticized digitalization.

The digital transition, however, is good in many aspects. New business models are emerging, especially for artists and writers, as I suggested in an article titled “Positive Economy, Towards New Business Models for Artists” (written at ZHdK and published in 2018).

Alas, many are left by the wayside. Musicians have lost their income with the near-total disappearance of CDs, filmmakers, and actors with the announced demise of the DVD and Blue Ray. Today, piracy is threatening most artistic professions. These, to borrow Schumpeter’s phrase, involve “creative destruction” — precisely, “destruction.”

And yet, opportunities have also multiplied with the shift from cultural “goods” to “services”: More artists are sharing the cultural income pie, which has grown considerably, at least in the United States (see, for instance, Steven Johnson’s data and those of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics and the US Census).

Youtubers, booktubers, Instapoets, and influencers are earning a living unlike any of their predecessors in the analog age. I even think it would be useful to — and I will — investigate streaming revenues, which ought to enable showing that the Spotify (Deezer or Apple Music) model, when it matures, could be more virtuous and more remunerative for artists than that of the CD.

Yesterday, artistic production was rare, the number of artists was limited, and the gatekeepers watched over the grain. It was difficult to penetrate the art world, which was so filtered, opaque, dissociated from public taste, and hermetic. Often, traditional art critics played along in the game of “distinction” and social “reproduction.”

This hierarchy, at times artificial, has been mitigated in the digital age. I am among those who welcome this shift. The gatekeepers have been devalued and above all multiplied. Today, with the rise of influencers, they are no longer the smart ones. Not that influencers have the same expertise or the same legitimacy. But they are more numerous, legitimized in their own way by the number of followers, posts, and clicks — most of all, they are more segmented.

We have long suspected — for example, since the American Supreme Court’s verdict on cultural diversity (the Bakke ruling of 1978), or since the debates on post-colonialism (initiated in particular by Edouard Said’s Orientalism, also in 1978) — that cultural hierarchy was artificial. The cultural hierarchy was even top-down, elitist, arbitrary; at times peremptory or condescending — if not paternalistic; always supposedly universal; and yet ultimately Western and European-centric.

To their great credit, influencers break down this often immobile, static cultural hierarchy to make it more dynamic. Non-legitimate forms of arts are valued; the effects of gender and race are mitigated; today, independent scenes, maverick artists, and offbeat culture find their place alongside the mainstream — whereas yesterday they struggled to exist in larger numbers.

Of course, the partisans of an enlightened democracy, the supporters of a form of cultural elitism, and the conservatives of stripes regret this flattening, this dulling of taste. Once more, however, it is not about judging this transition of criticism, which is neither good nor bad in itself. Or as the famous slogan of the queer movement puts it: “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.” We are going to have to live with influencers, whether we like it or not.

This mutation of criticism, the growing power of influencers — a phenomenon that is more important than we think, because it concerns judgment, taste, and indeed all values — is still in its infancy.

In an article on “smart curation” (written at ZHdK), I described these developments in detail. They contribute to making judgments more complex, multiplying filters, and, in so doing, increasing the number of prescribers and points of view. In addition, of course, we have algorithms, which multiply these trends tenfold and, more often than not, privilege quantity over quality.

We are right to feel affected by the new power of algorithms, to want to decipher and decode them, and to fear their inevitable biases. But let’s not forget that the automated (and mathematical) curation or criticism proposed by algorithms is the product of human programming. The algorithm per se has little to do with this. Nor is there much point in trying to summon it to the court of opinion; we can only blame it on the designers and developers — human beings, that is. Let’s not forget that, ever since HAL 9000, supercomputers are still fictional characters.

Given the “abundance” of cultural offerings, this so-called “smart curation” strikes me as one of the futures of criticism and recommendation. On Spotify, we can access 70 million songs, 2.2 million podcasts, and 4 billion playlists. On Netflix, millions of movies and series episodes are spread across 76,897 genres and micro-genres. On Amazon Prime, we can choose from 40,000 movies every night while over 600,000 books are available on Kindle, Scribd, or Google Play Books. Finally, over a thousand videos are uploaded every minute on YouTube.

Confronted with this “abundance,” or even exuberance, this dizzying and at times nauseating surge or indeed flood, we need filters. One of these is the “human” filter (according to traditional criticism) — which, however, is too narrow in the face of this overabundance. Another is the algorithmic filter — which, however, is too impersonal for this luxuriance. “Smart curation” offers an alternative solution by combining both models: On the one hand, the algorithm, to process the great mass; on the other, curation, to personalize and “customize.” This “double filter” adds the power of “big data” to human intervention, aggregates machines and humans, and associates engineers and “entertainers.” This algorithmic curation will be performed both by those who use words and by those who use numbers.

While the term “smart curation” is new (I coined it here at ZHdK), examples already abound Facebook’s “likes,” Twitter’s “retweets,” Pinterest’s “pins,” Tumblr’s “little hearts,” or Spotify’s playlists, starting with “Discovery’s weekly.” All of these tools, specific to digital technology and social networks, are algorithmic, depend on humans, and are already part of “smart curation.”

How does this work? If the cultural event we recommend on Facebook is “liked” by our friends, the algorithm takes this into account and multiplies the visibility of the initial post (the algorithm used on “page” accounts, even more than on personal accounts, is indexed on the number of “likes” and comments). Thus, mathematical power comes into play, yet only in a second stage; first, a human being has recommended cultural content they like to “their friends.” The result is a mixture of “smart” (the algorithm) and “curation” (a person’s singular appreciation expressed by their “like” or playlist). This “peer recommendation” is then multiplied by mathematics.

Presumably, this is only the beginning of this curatorial adventure. Artificial Intelligence — or put more simply, the “big data” aggregated to a “cloud” and to the speed of machine calculation —, is bound to accelerate these new curations without abolishing the human role. It will likely pave the way to a new history of judgment on art. I consider these subjects important and intend to continue pursuing them in the coming years here at ZHdK.


So today, we are living in the middle of this digital transition. Are we at the beginning, the middle, or the end of this revolution? No one knows! We, therefore, need to look at this great mutation with the same eyes as the revolutionaries of 1789, which Alexis de Tocqueville described so aptly in L’Ancien régime et la révolution (The Old Regime and the Revolution): The foundations of our cultural and media model have collapsed, and thus we are walking among the debris without knowing what will remain of the old world, nor what will emerge from the new world. This is obviously a very uncomfortable situation, a source of irrational fears, the desire to turn back, and, in the worst case, of new conspiracies, “alternative truths,” and other “fake news.” And yet, it is our present destiny.

This brings me back to my question for this evening: about the global and the local.

I have mentioned the transformations we have undergone and the global beings we have become. I have talked about the metamorphosis of criticism, which has been overtaken by the talk of influence. I have recalled the ideas of Silicon Valley about the end of borders and about culture becoming a “service.” And yet, this analysis, so irrefutable in many respects — as I have suggested — reflects reality only imperfectly. Has the world become flat, to paraphrase the title of a book by the American columnist Thomas Friedman? Is the world now a “flat, frictionless surface” as dreamed of by Bill Gates? Is the future one of nomadism, of countries without borders, and perhaps even without families? Is uniformity on its way — or does it perhaps already exist?

I don’t believe these analyses are relevant. I believe instead that reality is fundamentally different. What alternate and make friction to the surface to prevent it from being flat? Culture. What prevents flattening? Culture and cultural policy. Instead of ethnocentrism and standardization (castigated as early as 1952 by Claude Lévi- Strauss in Race and History), I see fragmentation. Instead of the mainstream, I see multiple and contradictory flows, regional and local exchanges, and small streams. In fact, we are never “global” beings. This is the message that I have repeated on and on in my books De la Culture en Amérique, Mainstream, Smart, Global Gay, or more recently in a book based on the unpublished archives of the former French Minister of Culture Jack Lang: Une révolution culturelle.

By way of persuasion, allow me a methodological digression. In my doctoral thesis, as in all my books and most of my articles, even if my approach has been essentially qualitative, it has always been backed up by quantitative studies and field experience. [Without going into detail, I am an avid user of various sources and databases: “Activate Technology & Media Outlook” (2022); data from ILO, the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO, the “World Values Survey,” “Eurostat,” and the “Soft Power 30” index (please see the handout for the references). I also frequently use Swiss federal data, compiled by Roman Page, our ZCCE researcher and data scientist].

But the most important thing for me is the field. Unlike the Silicon Valley gurus, who are mainly concerned with the quantitative when talking about a “global Internet” and when looking at their Excel tables, and also unlike some consultants and experts who believe that a simple office computer suffices to investigate culture and technology, I have consistently taken a different approach. Let me hypothesize, counterintuitively, that the Internet is not the same here and elsewhere. Digital conversations are different here and elsewhere. That borders remain in place, more tangibly than ever. Saying this compels me to know the reality on the ground. Being “online” is not enough to understand these matters: We need to meet web actors “IRL,” as the phrase goes, “for real,” “in real life.” We need to go on-site, across the world, observing along the way and laying aside our web browser, in order to really discover “the Internets.” — I am using the plural because these Internets are so different and unconnected. Only qualitative fieldwork and hundreds of interviews on five continents enable us to gradually understand the reality and the profound nature of the digital transition underway.

In Où atterrir? (Down to Earth), Bruno Latour, pondering the question of “What to do?”, suggests: “First, describe. How can we act politically without having inventoried, surveyed, and measured — centimeter by centimeter, animal by animal, human by human — what Earth (the terrestrial) is like for us.”

Finally, it is important to mention a necessary complement to these field observations because the sociological method has fundamentally changed in the digital age. Whether you are an inveterate “qualitative” like me or a “quantitative” like Roman Page, our work today relies on new sources that did not exist in the last century. We are, inevitably, digital researchers and writers.

All my work can be situated in the “digital humanities,” this new discipline that combines both the social sciences and machines. It involves on the one hand using digital technology in our research and, on the other hand, using our research to analyze and criticize that technology and its functioning. That is the essence of the digital humanities. Concretely, this means working with the Internet and social networks, of course, but also with open sources such as Bellingcat researchers and investigators. Or, as I have been able to, to work with professional tools (for instance, Brandwath, KB Crawl or Maltego, and even Facebook’s Graph Search). This very powerful software enables analyzing a person’s or an enterprise’s “social” content; and for that matter their friends and associates, the information liked, shared, or posted, and the multiple linked accounts (sometimes bearing different identities). Thus, and quite legally, this software enables the creation of tree structures and graphs of an account’s social media interactions based on the public information and traces left behind on the web. The result is impressive because exploited thus an account’s complete profile emerges from myriads of data communicated freely on networks, whereas the account concerned thought it was leaving no trace. To escape such tools, we need to compartmentalize our life, use separate networks, and never share any personal information with anyone, which is almost impossible. Smartphones and the Internet are changing the lives of researchers for better or for worse. Today, they belong to the digital humanities — and thus are truly digital researchers of writers.

For all these reasons, and considering the sheer magnitude of both the tasks and the data, we need to work in groups and teams, as I have done for my last books and articles, and as I am now doing at the ZCCE — we simply cannot do everything, nor do everything alone. As that memorable line from Spider-Man puts it: “You’re not Superman, you know.”

So what do we see? What do we see thanks to these field surveys and digital data?

Whereas search engines are global, queries are local; whereas social networks are international, our followers, likes, and retweets are essentially territorialized. Whereas software, infrastructure, and tools may be made in the USA, and our smartphones in China, Taiwan or Korea, most of the time they are connected to a national telecom operator and to national Internet providers. Like television, radio stations are also national, regional, or local — and barely ever global. While there are four networks, four globalized American majors (Universal-NBC, Disney-ABC, Warner-HBO, and Paramount-CBS), most global media groups are national or regional (for instance, TVGlobo in Brazil, Televisa in Mexico, MBC in Dubai, Reliance in India, or CCTV in China). The importance of exogenous cultural capitals is essential, as I have shown, and regional hubs are often as influential as Hollywood or Broadway. The publishing sector is also globalized (see, for instance, Bertelsmann or Hachette Book Group), yet imprints are local. Despite globalization and the digitalization of the world, cultures are not becoming standardized.

Let’s take another example from the music sector. Spotify, as a global service, enables listening to Americanized mainstream music and the Global Top 50 — and yet, audience studies confirm a very strong regionalization. In Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, where Spotify has existed merely for a few years, the “Top 50” by country reveals a cultural triangulation: mainstream American music, “Latin” music, and national music. While this breakdown into the three main types of music varies proportionally by country, and by week, it confirms the regionalization and cultural localization on this global platform. Other local services, such as Taringa! in Argentina, are even more localized.

The same trend is evident on Netflix, another global platform. Studies, however, show that there is a strong local dimension to usage. Local productions, under pressure from cultural policies but also from market expectations, are currently increasing tenfold.

Also frequently criticized are so-called “filter bubbles,” which purportedly enclose us in our community and our political networks. Apart from the fact that this theory, developed mainly by the American activist Eli Pariser, is sometimes contradicted by the “tweet clashes” and Homeric battles on social networks (which confirm that these bubbles are neither hermetic nor closed off to the outside world), we need to seriously measure, as well as establish, how strongly these bubbles are territorialized. Besides, they are not necessarily negative, but can in fact be very positive (I will come back to this point).

Social networks, therefore, are global platforms, yet their content is hardly global. Although teenagers are viewing global content on Facebook, Tik Tok, or Instagram, their friends (whom they chat with and “like”) are hyperlocalized. Often, these are friends from high school, college, or the local neighborhood. Technically, of course, they could chat with any teenager their age in South Korea or Peru — but they don’t. They don’t speak their language and don’t know each other; nor is there any reason for them to engage in a conversation that would go nowhere.

The same is true of artists: They are never global even if their success can be. An artist is a story, a life, a rootedness in a territory, whether their name is Andy Warhol or Robert Mapplethorpe, Glenn Ligon or Christian Boltanski, Gerhard Richter or Philippe Parreno. Even those who have moved to
another country, like Marcel Duchamp, Takashi Murakami, or Ai Weiwei, remain deeply attached to their country of origin or to the place where they live. Andy Warhol was a global artist, yet barely any artist was more American and more New Yorkish. Damien Hirst’s emergence and early work are inseparable from late 1980s Britain and from the fierce criticism of Thatcherism at the time. Perhaps only David Hammons, the quintessential homeless artist, who had no bank account, no phone, and no address, could escape tracking — and still does. He was forced to keep his feet on the ground even when selling his snowballs in Times Square. Thus, as you may have gathered I don’t believe in the “anywhere” artist, in an artist who would be global, nomadic, disconnected, and with no “sense of place.”

Another example is “smart cities,” which I have studied in-depth at ZHdK, supplemented by a dozen case studies and fieldwork. What do we see? Well, “smart cities” have common global elements, yet are different nevertheless. There is little or no connection between Silicon Valley, Boston’s Route 128, the start-ups in Austin (Texas) associated with the South East by Southe West festival (SXSW festival), Porto Digital in Brazil, Israel’s “Start-up Nation,” Chile’s Chilicon Valley, Russia’s stillborn Skolkovo project, or Kenya’s Konza City, or for that matter Google’s abandoned “Sidewalk Labs” project in Toronto. Having investigated these cities, I conclude that the idea that we can create uniform “smart cities,” real “copycats,” is mistaken — it is also one of the reasons why Google City failed in Toronto.

Thus, we are all globally connected but locally situated. We don’t live “anywhere” but “somewhere” (as the economist David Goodhart puts it). I even believe that the Internet still has borders. The English language has two words in this respect: “border” and “frontier.” There is no “border,” that is, no hermetic boundary that can only be crossed with a passport, going passed customs and a national flag. There is, however, a “frontier,” in the symbolic sense, which is constituted by language, by the cultural sphere to which people belong by its multiple identities, and, perhaps first and foremost, by “a sense of place.”

Take the Basque country, for instance, where I recently conducted a ZCCE survey: It has no “border” with Spain because it is the same country; it does, however, have a “frontier,” in the sense that language, yet also a culture or perhaps gastronomy (for example, its famous salsas, the so-called “four sauces”), create a certain distance.

At the same time, Basque is also spoken in a few hundred cities around the world, thus connecting the Basques to each other despite geographical distance. As for the famous “Bilbao effect,” described hundreds of times after the huge success of Frank Gehry’s building, and placing the Basque country on the world map, little should we believe, as the cliché might lead us to believe, that erecting a new building, however spectacular the architectural gesture, is enough to transform a city and a region. What has worked in this case is initiating a novel, complex, and demanding dialogue between a building and a city, that is, using global culture to transform a community and revitalize a neighborhood, against the background of Basque culture. Today, with one million visitors a year, the Guggenheim Bilbao attracts a fairly balanced audience, one that is local, Basque, Spanish, and international. (Based on the work of the French economist Esther Duflo, I intend to devote a prospective SNSF research project to closely examining Swiss museum audiences in order to measure the effectiveness of cultural policies. I will come back to this).

Other groups are also very much worth investigating. The Palestinians, for instance. Three weeks ago, I visited the “West Bank,” East Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Jaffa. Last year, I also conducted a survey in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Jordan, as well as twice in Gaza. We might also study the Palestinians living in Canada, in the United States, or even in Chile (whose Palestinian population totals 500,000). They described to me at length their experience of “borders”: These are often impassable, to the point that, sometimes, members of the same family have been unable to meet for several generations. At the same time, on the Internet, Palestinians meet easily and constantly, unlimited, without “borders.” They are united by language, culture, folklore, and dishes (such as rqaq w adas, the famous lentil stew). The Palestinians even excel at this “sense of place,” as they have no country to speak of.

There are many other examples, whose stakes are either more serious or more anecdotal: England, for instance, has recreated a “border” after Brexit, but will barely succeed in recreating a “frontier” with Europe; the Irish, or the Kurds; or we can also discuss, in a different sector, the communities of vegetarians; Brazilian jujitsu practitioners; transgender people; or Burners (those who have done Burning Man — personally I belong to the Burner’s class of 2016).

Digital bubbles are therefore also made up of these communities without “frontiers”; these creative bubbles, which sometimes are ones of solidarity, are not necessarily negative. Coming together based on territory, a community, or culture is perfectly natural. This doesn’t amount to confinement, as long as internal debate remains free. Diversity is essential, even if it is also important to safeguard what in several books I have called “the diversity of diversity” (a community must accept internal debates, as well as the same diversity within the group as it demands outside).

This concern for “territory,” the importance of the place where we “are,” where we live, remains the driving force of the political mobilizations of our time. For a Frenchman like me, heir to the strictest Jacobinism, and raised in a centralized, hierarchical country suspicious of claims to regional identity, it was not easy to understand — during my recent ZCCE research — the demands for a regional language in Lugano, Barcelona, and more recently in San Sebastian in Spain (apologies, “Donostia” in the Basque country). We also struggle to understand Brexit, which recreates previously abolished borders, and reestablishes a previously discarded passport. Significantly, however, these national claims or the attraction to regional languages coincide precisely with globalization becoming more perennial and with the Internet creating the illusion that the world has become flat.

Let me add another case in point. As you certainly know, Paris is currently divided into 20 somewhat arbitrary administrative districts, which do not correspond to the bassins de vie (living areas) and historical districts, each with a strong identity. Besides, many of the cities around Paris, sometimes located merely a few blocks away, and separated only by a beltway, forming a rather hermetic geographical boundary, are not administratively affiliated with the capital. Now, however, the “Grand Paris Express” project is changing all of this: Involving the construction of four giant new metro lines (15, 16, 17, and 18), measuring 200 kilometers and featuring 68 new stations, this is the largest infrastructure and public transport project in Europe. As a result, the boundary between Paris and what used to be called la banlieue (suburbs) is blurring. New neighborhood identities, created around living areas, are emerging, regardless of administrative divisions. Let me call these areas, these bassins de vie, the “communes” of Paris.

Local residents seem to want this specific, local anchoring. Even if it is still merely a piece of anecdotal evidence, “Le Bijou parisien,” a clothing brand, is selling T-shirts sporting the names of the metro stations around which the city was built in the early 20th century: “Bastille,” “Montmartre,” or “Le Marais.” It is an epiphenomenon, of course, but we are witnessing the slow creation, the gradual emergence of these “communes” of Paris. Extending beyond the arrondissements and the ring road, they are recreating neighborhoods without accounting for administrative divisions. Instead of living in “Paris,” people now live in “Saint Germain des Près,” “la Butte Chaumont,” or “Ménilmontant.” Or, as the boundary between Paris and its suburbs becomes psychologically blurred, if not administratively, people now live in “Montreuil” or “Saint-Denis,” implying that these are districts of Paris.

The concept of the “quarter-hour city” (or “15-minute city”), devised by Colombian researcher Carlos Moreno, partly aligns with these developments. Admittedly, the concept is not very applicable to rural or peripheral areas of cities, and might even be considered too bobo (bourgeois bohemian) or too “gentrifying.” Nevertheless, it attests to an interesting evolution: hyper-localization at the same time as globalization. A concern for a strong local identity is asserting itself, which I believe represents a profound phenomenon.

Many other creative dimensions, sometimes more anecdotal and less directly cultural, also attest to this concern for the “local,” which several years of the Covid-19 pandemic seem to have accentuated even further. Tourism flows show that “at home” tourism has overtaken “international” tourism in recent years, reflecting a fundamental trend also beyond Covid (according to UNWTO data). Essentially, the drivers of “at home” tourism are heritage, nature, and specialized festivals. Everywhere, the heritage cult is generating revenue (“Heritage Days,” etc.). While experiments with creating local beers or local currencies are multiplying, fast food restaurants and the catering sector are promoting short circuits, local culinary traditions, and a return to nature. Take the multi-Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse, whose cuisine focuses on nature, tradition, and modernizing ancestral French culinary knowledge without retreating into localism. In short: local plus innovation.

Such approaches, of course, risk being locked into “localism,” that is to say, into a form of “withdrawal,” a return to the terroir, soil, tradition, and folklore. The risk is isolated fragmentation and conservative patrimonialization. In order to avoid the uniformity of globalization, such approaches involve locking ourselves into an even more uniform locality. There is no point in escaping Disneyland if this means landing in the historical French theme park Puy du Fou! Thus, we return to the soil, we become autonomous, we separate ourselves, and we even hope to earn money! To borrow an image from Asterix: the “global village” becomes the “Gallic village.”

I find a letter by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud on this subject particularly appealing. He wrote it in London in June 1872, after leaving Paris and “his” rural Ardennes. I quote: “The province, where one feeds on floury food […] where one drinks the wine of the soil and beer of the country, that is not what I miss. […] Everything is narrow. […] The Ardennes and Belgian rivers, the caves, that is what I miss.” These lines say it all. I will leave you to ponder them.

The other limitation of these localized communities is “critical mass.” They can neither offer substantial and sustainable economic models, nor reflect local diversity, nor participate in solving the most complex problems of our time, which are most often national and global (the climate crisis, war, epidemics, the nuclear threat). This is the drawback of this “localism.”

What is transforming the “local” today, however, and enabling it to unfold, is the Internet connection. From now on, we can participate in global conversations, trade, and mobilize even from a remote village in Ticino. Even very small communities of interest or affinity can be associated and form a “critical mass.” Working from a rural area, we can earn a living publishing a very specialized newsletter thanks to Substack; we can crowdfund our next film or cultural project; just as we can develop our community and audience on Instagram or Tik Tok.

If the “local” tends — and this is its limitation — to restrict its inhabitants to a single identity, digital technology allows all of us to deploy our multiple identities in a more global way. The single identity is a mistaken “local,” a plural identity a more virtuous “local.”

Digital technology permits us to do the opposite of Daniel Defoe’s or Michel Tournier’s Robinson Crusoe: Setting out to discover the world, he finds himself imprisoned on an island; those who no longer have a “home” begin defending it through localism. In the age of the Internet, Robinson will always have countless Fridays to talk to.

In the context of globalization, it is increasingly difficult to oppose the “local” to the “global.” This idea is barely new. Well, at least not since the 1960s, when Marshall McLuhan coined the notion of the “global village.” And that is where we are today.

Art & Sustainability

At the intersection of the concerns preoccupying me in the field of art and the creative industries, between the “local” and the “global,” I have spoken at length about the digital transition: Let me now consider the ecological transition. Today, art and culture — and we recall Jean-Luc Godard’s famous distinction that “Culture is the rule, and art is the exception” (which explains why Beaubourg, in Paris, was named the “Georges Pompidou Center of Art and Culture”) — art and culture are affected by ecological questions.

The environment might be seen to affect art along six dimensions:

1) Sustainable culture (eco-responsibility): Cultural institutions and artists are called on to act responsibly. For instance, they can reduce the number of exhibition catalogs published, can prevent picture rails (cimaises) from being discarded after exhibitions, or can use ecological materials. This is the dimension of “ecological concern.”

2) Subject-wise: Art can also approach the environment through its subjects (which is not new). This is the dimension of ecological subjects. (See Estelle Zhong Mengual’s Apprendre à voir, Le point de vue du vivant).

3) Outreach: Artists can defend the ecological cause by using their works to raise awareness or become Gaia activists (propagating things green). Some artists have already embraced this goal: the Icelandic-Danish artist Ólafur Elíasson or American artist Chris Jordan, or even, to some extent, Pierre Huyghe or Pablo Reinoso. This project is also being pursued by some institutions, including LUMA in Arles, established by the Swiss philanthropist Maja Hoffmann.

4) Changing the medium: The environment impacts art by changing its media. Take land art. Second-generation “Arte Povera” artists are also involved (see, for instance, David Hammons and his “snowballs”). The work of Swiss artist Julian Charrière, situated between land art and Arte Povera, is interesting in this respect. More recently, Bernie Krause has helped establish the concept of “soundscape ecology” (by recording sounds from nature and exhibiting or broadcasting them). Other examples include Philippe Parreno, especially his exhibition Anywhere, anywhere out of the world, which modified the space of the Palais de Tokyo (with spiders).

5) Re-localization: The environment might also affect art by artists reexamining the relationship between the local, regional, national, and global.

6) A new aesthetics: Finally, and this point interests me most this evening, considering climate and environmental issues can engender new aesthetics. We might consider reconnecting nature and culture, which we humans have separated; in doing so, we need to overcome a certain “anthropo-narcissism” or imagine, for example, une culture du vivant (the reconnection with ourselves and with the Earth). This approach has been pursued by philosophers Philippe Descola and Baptiste Morizot, as well as by Bruno Latour with his project You and I don’t live on the same planet at the 2020 Taipei Biennale.

We will need to rethink art and culture in light of these six dimensions. But let me emphasize that — and this may be a little “out of step” with what some people are thinking or writing, even in this room — we must do so with caution.

I do not believe that artists should, not even due to ecological imperatives, stop interacting with others and with the world. Preventing them from traveling, for example, or from flying, because of the climate crisis, strikes me as profoundly antithetical to their mission. This, as Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist observes in his Ways of Curating, is based on “social interactions” — even if, of course, we can imagine that artists might prefer to stay at home and not talk to anyone. Which they may obviously choose to do.

Without a doubt, artists need to travel less and travel better, or prefer longer artist residencies over shorter ones. Nevertheless, it would be contradictory, in my view, to prevent them from traveling. Similarly, fewer catalogs should be piling up in the basements of contemporary art museums (just as fewer city mayors need to sign fewer editorials of no avail to artists); and yet, catalogs still have a raison d’être, even in the environmental age. They are often, when not serving tourist offices as communication tools, the only way for artists to convey their work at the same time as their thinking and to leave their mark. In the same vein, we need to rethink the model of biennials and universal exhibitions (those that I visited in Milan and Dubai were very disappointing and boring, to the point where the tourist offices wrestled control from the creators). But the places where art and architecture meet remain meaningful. While it is certainly not about traveling faster, further, and becoming more global — the artist, as I mentioned, cannot simpyl be a “frequent flyer artist”; for better or worse, traveling remains relevant in the environmental age.

Thus, I believe in a certain frugality, in new experiments, in profound changes — all of which need to happen intelligently, serving not only the planet but also art: Culture thrives on journeys and encounters. We need to keep this in mind. What would be the use of saving “Gaia,” animals, and plants if we abandoned what makes us human and distinguishes us from beasts: culture? Anti-humanism is a dead end, and always has been. I am a Rousseauist, at heart and in spirit (which makes me both French and Swiss). But I believe in humans even if I adore animals. And I regret to put this quite so bluntly in age — the late Anthropocene — in which we intend to give plants and stones the same rights as humans: We are not plants, nor animals. Humankind and culture are defined by wresting themselves from nature. If we had to choose, even in the Anthropocene, we would still privilege humans over animals.

To take matters one step further: Depriving museums of their foreign visitors is not a lasting, sustainable solution because nothing — as research on arts audiences and art education prove — neither technology nor micro-folies (places of culture as well as places to live), will ever replace the singular look of the amateur visitor beholding Saint John the Baptist in the Louvre. Unless we can see works of art for ourselves, the history of art will be interrupted — unless it is restricted to a small elite, as in Stendhal’s time, when only the rich and the literate could afford the grand tour to Italy.

But our relationship with art is not merely “Malrucian” (the adjective derives from André Malraux). It is also an economic model. Without tourists, museums and temporary exhibitions will no longer exist — and cultural funding will no longer be guaranteed. Foreign tourists, for example, account for about 30% of the Louvre’s budget, not including their spending on the museum’s stores and restaurants. I don’t see how we can replace this essential part of the budget. (As I said, I will be submitting an SNF project next year dedicated to studying one hundred Swiss museums, in order to quantify their audiences and their local, cantonal, regional, linguistic, national, or international distribution and to measure the respective share of these factors in the economic model of these museums).

Conceivably, we might establish, also on a scientific level, an “environmental” label for all cultural institutions, similar to a “disabled” or “inclusive” label, yet on the condition that this label is fair and interested equally in the environment and in art: I am wary of localist, leftist, or reactionary environmentalist injunctions, which are often contradictory or inoperative because they are mortifying for art and culture. Moreover, as evident in France’s new green cities — in particular, in Grenoble, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, and Lyon — a certain localism promoted by elected ecologists has turned against artists and has embraced the cultural ideas of the most reactionary parties. Or at least this is the fierce criticism leveled at them by Bruno Latour, one of the most interesting thinkers of political ecology. The cultural policy of the Greens has been widely criticized, not least for tending to caricature Unesco’s 2001 philosophy of “cultural rights” and that of the 2007 Fribourg Declaration on Cultural Rights. The Greens have promised to revise their cultural project because, as they now say, they recognize that they had not worked hard enough! I do not believe in short circuits, nor in shortcuts, in culture.

We must beware of these easy options, fallacies, and sad thoughts because, if we are not careful, we will weaken art without saving the planet. I intend to conduct several research projects on this subject in the next few years.

If I had to defend only one dimension of art in relation to the environment — and moreover to be moved or stirred by it — it would be what I would, perhaps – ironically, call biodiversity: Continuing to defend the diversity of points of view, the diversity of aesthetics, and the diversity of artists.


Art, cultural policy, and the creative industries are at a turning point in their history due to the aggregation and concomitant action of digital and ecological transitions. I have not considered various other transitions, including that of gender and sex, nor that of cultural diversity, because I have treated these at some length in other lectures or in several books. Even if Switzerland is ahead of other countries as regards gender, much remains to be done in the field of cultural diversity: Efforts still mostly concentrate on the country’s official languages, yet leave aside migration. Based on studying the American model, my doctoral thesis concluded, among others, that “local diversity” needs to be distinguished from “global diversity.” It also suggested that while certain anti-American countries, such as France or Quebec, have sought to champion cultural diversity in international forums, at UNESCO, the WTO, the UN, or within the European Union, they have neglected this issue at home (for example, regional languages, “black” theater, Arab culture, etc.). Finally, by obsessing over one type of discrimination, others, ethnic or social, often remain hidden. This risk also exists in Switzerland.

I have not mentioned China, nor the countries following its lead, such as Iran, Cuba, Turkey, and now Russia, in their censorship of the Internet and their nationalization of digital technology. As you know (and I was able to analyze matters on the ground already ten years ago), China has Weibos not Twitter; Renren not Facebook; Baidu not Google; Youku not YouTube; QQ instead of MSN; Weixin instead of WhatsApp. As well as the same abuses of dominant positions, not by GAFA, but by BAT: Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent! All of this points in the same direction as my hypothesis and argument this evening (I refer you to my publications on these countries, where the Internet is already territorialized and nationalized).

I haven’t touched on “cancel culture” or “woke culture,” but believe the same applies in their case. Culture is dialogue, not debunking; it is confrontation, not prohibition; it also means taking into account plural and multiple identities, because we all have our dark side — even if elected officials have the right to remove monuments and even if we must all remain “alert” to discrimination.

To summarize what I have been considering this evening, and what I have been seeking to understand for several years — or to answer my initial question, “Where do I live?”, “Where do we live?” — let me conclude with one word: Geolocalization.

We are neither “local” nor “global”: There is no such thing as a global human being. Not even Elon Musk is a global being. We are always connected to territory and live somewhere. There is always a place or location that we call “home.” We need a sense of place. Localization, then, is “inescapable.”

Saying that the “local” is no longer isolated, as it was in the village where I grew up a few decades ago. We are connected to the world and geolocalized. This is what I would like to call “geolocalization.”

I know that American English speaks of “geolocation” rather than “geolocalization.” You may be familiar with the common mantra in real estate: “Location, location, location.” However, I prefer “localization” to “location” because it better emphasizes the locale, the locality, the place where one lives (rising sea levels, in particular, might soon make the slogan “location, location, location” obsolete in real estate agencies, which no doubt will begin touting “elevation, elevation, elevation” instead!)

Besides, the prefix “geo” allows integrating the ecological dimension into “geolocalization.” In Greek, “geo” means “hê gê”, “earth.” By defending the idea of “geolocalization” when we talk about culture and identity, we therefore also highlight the importance of this ecological dimension in our future debates.

Finally, I prefer not to hyphenate “geo” and “localization” because I want these words to remain linked, inseparably in fact. We cannot live locally without living globally, and vice versa. “Geolocalization” thus becomes a common noun. Encapsulating an approach, neither its chronological nor temporal boundaries are too rigid.

We are, therefore “geolocalized,” in terms of identity, and culture, but also in terms of our values. As such, “geolocalization” extends beyond both the “local” and the “global,” and even more so beyond the ephemeral “glocal,” which means nothing other than putting an egg on a hamburger as McDonald’s does in Uruguay to make the dish more “local.”

Nor am I adopting the concepts of mondialité (“globality”) or créolité (“Creoleness”), devised by the Martinique writer Edouard Glissant (and since espoused by the French far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon). Although relevant to my discussion, both concepts were construed mainly against globalization, which the great novelist accuses of being negative and equalizing, and of leveling down; yet, as I have shown, there is barely any flattening. In seeking to reach beyond the global and the local, and the one and the other, these concepts seem to have an erasing, obliterating effect. We do not live — and I do not believe that we will achieve this goal — in a truly “Creole” culture. This would be an aggregation of all cultures, a little mixed, a little blended, which, certainly, would nurture each other, but would, along the way, lose what constitutes our cultural identity, what is specific to the place where we live. Saying this, I invite you to reread Michelet, the great historian, in particular his magnificent account of the wisdom of the people, the national tradition, the “historical catechism of the people,” their memory, their beliefs, and their culture. “History is time,” he writes in his methodological conclusion to the second volume of his immense History of the French Revolution.

With Creoleness, American culture would cease to exist, as would German, French, Swiss, or Zurich culture: We would find ourselves in a great, generalized “melting pot,” a sort of “fusion,” as we say with reference to jazz or Asian cuisine; we would be above ground, “stateless,” no longer down to earth!

Of course, the concept of creolité, that is to say, this “blending of culture,” is specific to Glissant’s West Indian territory: Creole societies. The term articulates the complexity of Martinique’s identity and of post-colonialism — and therefore is interesting in this context. And yet, however original, I do not believe it applies everywhere. The objective is dialogue, not the dilution of who we are; the important thing is to be anchored in a territory in order to be able to initiate and engage in dialogue; the essential thing is to know where we live, before being able to negotiate our territory and take a step aside. I would rather say that instead of “Creoleness” or “globality,” the objective ought to be the dialogue between the local and the global in the service of our multiple identities. Edouard Glissant later extended his thinking to the “archipelago” and “archipellization” in his attempt to define our relationship to the world. The latter terms articulate the sense of unconnected islands without any center, an archipelago consisting of a string of islands and different cultures.

I have more in common with the concepts advanced by Bruno Latour, notably in his latest books Où atterrir? (Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climactic Regime, 2018) and Où suis-je? (After Lockdown: A Metamorphosis, 2021). Latour (see the ZCCE website for a detailed survey of his work) had the good intuition to divide the local into four entities: his “local +” backed up by his “global +” align partly with my idea of “geolocalization” (while his “local–” and “global–” obviously constitute the antithesis). While feeling very close to Latour in this respect, I am wary of the inevitable moralization, of the value judgment, which could be endlessly debated, when he speaks of “local–” and “global–.”

There is, moreover, a paradox here. It concerns the “left” and is worth considering: Yesterday, the left, especially that which called itself Marxist, Maoist, Guevarist, or Trotskyite, was globalist and constructed its reasoning exclusively in terms of the global and from a global perspective (see, for example, Gilles Deleuze’s remarks on the “left” in his famous Abécédaire.) Today, it is the opposite. The left is wary of the “global,” which it too often equates with globalization, and proposes that we return to the local (this is the project of certain communists and, often, of the Greens). For my part, I do not believe that we can disconnect the “global” from the “local” quite as artificially as Bruno Latour thinks, nor that we can separate “the wheat from the chaff” of globalization. Whether we like it or not, we are always situated in the local and in the global.

The artist, the writer, and all of us, are, therefore “geolocalized.” We are not nomads but rooted in a territory. And this is the movement that I see taking shape, including the Internet. The extraterritoriality of the GAFAs strikes me as untenable in the long run. I believe that a re-territorialization of the Internet is inevitable. If you are defamed on Wikipedia, as on countless other platforms, you are required to take legal action in Florida: The Wikimedia Foundation does not operate an office that would responsible for content published in Europe. Now, we can readily understand that this extraterritoriality opens the door to all kinds of abuse. One person becomes another person’s wolf. I believe, because we are geolocalized, that all web actors should maintain an office in whatever countries they are present, an office responsible for the contents disseminated in that territory.

Finally, I believe that in the age of globalization and digitization “cultural policies,” in the broad sense in which I have defined these policies this evening, affirm our “geolocalization.” Indeed (and I will try to validate this hypothesis in the project to be submitted to the SNF this autumn), I believe that cultural policies, situated as they are between the national and the global, always lean toward the local and the national, which explains why they are often nationalistic. Sometimes, as I have seen in the United States or in France, but also in Hong Kong or in the Arab countries, cultural policies are even the last nationalist bulwark against globalization. This is their strength — but also their weakness.

As you can see, the concept of “geolocalization” is rich. I will try to apply it to other fields and other universes in the articles, research papers, and books that I intend to write here at ZHdK. It will also be one of the axes of my teaching and of the “minor” that I will be coordinating with the ZCCE team.

For me, the concept of “geolocalization” answers, imperfectly perhaps, but promisingly, the question I have long been asking myself. I have beaten around the bush. I have been searching for a long time. Where do we live in the age of globalization, digitalization, and ecological transition? — I have tried to solve this enigma, around which my research, my teaching, and my books have gravitated. And I believe that “geolocalization” is the answer I have been looking for.

I have spent this evening sharing my discovery with you.

Thank you.


Frédéric Martel’s books mentioned in the inaugural conference:

De la Culture en Amérique, Gallimard, 2006.

Theater, La Découverte, 2006.

Mainstream, Enquête sur la guerre globale de la culture et des médias, Flammarion, 2010. (Trans. in 20+ langages: german, chinese, japanese, portuguese, spanish etc.)

Smart, Enquête sur les internets, Stock, 2014. (Trans. in 10+ languages: english, spanish etc.)

Une révolution culturelle, with Jack Lang, Bouquins, 2021.

Frédéric’s Academic articles mentioned in the inaugural conference:

L’écrivain social, la condition de l’écrivain à l’âge numérique, Official Report, Ministère de la Culture (France), 2015.

• « Smart Curation and the Role of Algorithms in Cultural Reception », in Ruedi Widmer, Ined Kleesattel, eds., Scripted Culture, Digitalization and the Cultural Public Sphere, Diaphanes/Zurich, 2018 (see chapter 3, pp. 42-51 ; three articles first published in 2015).

• « Positive Economy, Towards New Business Models for Artists », pp. 5-25, in C. Weckerle, 3rd Creative Economies Report, ZHdK University, 2018.

Embedded Artists, Artists Outside the Art World: The World in Quest of Artists, ZHdK Publication, 2020 (co-direction with Hartmut Wickert).

• « State of the arts. Cultural policies: Mapping a field in reinvention »,, ZCCE/ZHdK University, 2020.

• « The Smart Sustainable and Creative City », ZHdK University, 2022.

• « Contribution to the preparation of the “master plan creative economy 2021-2026” », Frankfurt economic development, City of Frankfurt, 2020, 15 p. With Claudio Bucher. (the report was not made public).

• Christoph Weckerle, dir., « Sleeping Beauty » – four research notes on the effects of the corona crisis, ZCCE, 2021 : Research Note 1: « Roosevelt the WPA and Artist Relief in America 1936–1939 » (F. Martel) ; Research Note 2: « The Great Cultural Depression » (F. Martel).

• « A research on Trends, Opportunities and Challenges shaping the future of work in the media and culture sectors », International Labour Organization/ZCCE, 60 p., 2021. With Roman Page.

• « Creative Lugano. Contribution à une réflexion sur la politique et la vie culturelle de Lugano », report, Ville de Lugano/ZCCE, Jan. 2022, 24 p. (the report was not made public).

• « Creative Donastia. Contribution to a reflection on the politics and the cultural life of San Sebastián and Tabakalera », Report, San Sebastian City Hall/ZCCE, Spain, 2022, 20 p. (the report was not made public).

A few other sources and books mentioned in the inaugural conference:

• Anthony Appiah, The Lies That Bind, Rethinking Identity, Norton, 2018.

• Philippe Descola, Par-delà nature et culture, Gallimard, 2005.

Les Formes du visible, Seuil, 2021.

• Esther Duflo, Le développement humain, Lutte contre la pauvreté I, Seuil/République des idées, 2010.

La politique de l’autonomie, Lutte contre la pauvreté II, Seuil/République des idées, 2010.

• Édouard Glissant, Archives de Hans-Ulrich Obrist, LUMA, 2022.

• David Goodhart, The road to somewhere: the populist revolt and the future of politics, Hurst, 2017.

• Carole Guertler, « Mapping the role of philanthropy in the cultural policy in Switzerland », to be published, ZCCE, fall 2022.

• Steven Johnson, Everything Bad is Good for You, Penguin Books, 2005.

– « The Creative Apocalypse that wasn’t », New York Times, 19 août 2015 (based on the following data: Department of Labor and the Occupational Employment Statistics and Economic Census; the data are confirmed by studies by the National Endowment for the Arts).

• Bruno Latour, Re-assembling the Social, An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory, Oxford University Press, 2005.

Politique de la nature, La Découverte, 1999.

Enquête sur les modes d’existence, La Découverte, 2012.

– Face à Gaïa, La Découverte, 2015.

– « You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet », Taipei Biennial, 12th, 2020 (with Martin Guinard).

Où atterrir ?, La Découverte, 2017 (trans. Down to Earth, Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Polity, 2017).

Mémo sur la nouvelle classe écologique, Les Empêcheurs de penser en rond, 2022 (with Nikolaj Schultz).

• André Malraux, La politique, la culture, Gallimard/Folio, 1996.

Le Musée imaginaire, Gallimard, 1965 (see also: Jean Lacouture, André Malraux, Seuil, 1998).

• Carlos Moreno, Droit de cité, De la ville monde à la ville du quart d’heure, L’Observatoire, 2020.

• Baptiste Morizot, Estelle Zhong Mengual, Esthétique de la rencontre, L’énigme de l’art contemporain, Seuil, 2018.

• Martha Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, eds., The Quality of Life, Clarendon Press, 1993.

• Joseph S. Nye, Soft Power, The Means to Success in World Politics, Public Affairs, 2004.

• Hans Ulrich Obrist, ed. 140 Artists’s Ideas for Planet Earth, Penguin Books, 2021 (with Kostas Stasinopoulos).

• Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble, What the Internet is Hiding from You, Penguin Press, 2011.

• Adam Pasick, « The magic that makes Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists so damn good », Quartz, 21 December 2015.

• Sébastiano Peter, « Mapping the cultural policy of Italian-Speaking Switzerland », ZCCE (to be published, 2022).

• Benjamin Peters, ed., Digital Keywords, A Vocabulary of Information, Society & Culture, Princeton University Press, 2016 (see: « Introduction », « Algorithmn », « Cloud », « Participation », « Prototype », « Sharing » et « Personalization »).

• Andy Pratt, « The Challenge of Governance in the Creative and Cultural Industries », in Lange, Kalandides, Stober, Wellmann, eds., Governance Der Kreativwirtschaft: Diagnosen Und Handlungsoptionen, Verlag, 2009.

– « Cultural Industries and Public Policy : An Oxymoron ? », International Journal of Cultural Policy, 11, 2005.

• Amartya Sen, Identity & Violence, The Illusions of Destiny, Norton, 2006.

• Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, Jean-Paul Fitoussi, Richesse des nations et bien-être des individus : performances économiques et progrès social, Odile Jacob, 2009.

• Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition, Princeton University Press, 1992.

• Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice, Basic Books, 1983.

• Christoph Weckerle, Creative Industries Switzerland: Facts, Models, Culture, Birkhauser Verlag AG, 2008 (with Manfred Gerig, Michael Sondermann).

– Compendium, Cultural policy in Switzerland, Country Profile, 95 p., 2021 (provided by the Boekman Foundation in the Netherlands, with Claudio Bucher and Yris Apsit).

• Estelle Zhong Mengual, Apprendre à voir, Le point de vue du vivant, Actes Sud, 2021.

Main statistics and data:

Wall Street Journal/Activate Technology & Media Outlook, 2022.

• ILO, cultural industries datas, 2019.

• PriceWaterHouseCoopers, Global entertainment & media outlook 2021-2025.

• WVS, World Values Survey » (Wave 7, 2022). 

• WTO, World Trade Statistical Review, 2020.

• World Bank, « City, Culture, Creativity », 2021.

• IMF, Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Statistics, 2015 and World Economic Outlook, 2022.

• Eurostat, Cultural Statistics (Statistical Office of the European Communities), 2020.

• UNESCO, New Creative Economy Report, 2021 (Institute for Statistics).

• ARTIST EMPLOYMENT (US) : US government’s Population Census; American Community Survey 2016-2020; US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022 ; National Endowment for the Arts; McKinsey Global Institute Survey.

• NEA/National Endowment for the Arts (US): numerous studies available on the NEA site.

• NESTA (UK): Creative Economy & Culture’s reports.

• Soft Power 30, Index, UK, 2019.

Frédéric Martel

Frédéric Martel

Dr. Frédéric Martel is a Researcher and Writer. He has a PhD in Social Sciences and four Master Degrees in Law, Political science, Philosophy, and Social Science (University of La Sorbonne). Since 2020, Frédéric Martel is professor at the university ZHdK in Zurich and works at the Zurich Centre for Creative Economies (ZCCE). His main field works are: cultural policy, soft power, cultural industries, smart cities, smart curation, the creative class, medias and the Internet. He is the author of a dozen books, including On Culture in America (Gallimard, 2006), the best-seller Mainstream : On the Global War on Culture and Medias (Flammarion, 2010, translated in twenty countries) and Smart, on the internets (Stock, 2014).

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