With “Night of Ideas,” French diplomacy delivers an evening of pure Atlanta innovation – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia 2022-05-20 17:08:54 –

Mayor Andre Dickens speaks in a panel with six recent graduates during the Night of Ideas.

Photo by Connie Cross

The most famous icon of France’s influence in the United States is 305 feet high and weighs 225 tonnes, and was shipped from Paris in hundreds of parts before being rebuilt at New York Harbor in 1886. The Statue of Liberty still attracts visitors, but these days, French diplomacy packs a little lighter.In fact, last weekend Night of ideas The festival at the Woodruff Arts Center, where local creatives, entrepreneurs and intellectuals discuss the future of Atlanta, was so clear that it didn’t even notice that it was co-sponsored by the French Consulate.

Prior to Saturday’s event, Gaetan Bruel said it was intentional. Bruel is a cultural counselor at the French Embassy in the United States. Villa Albertine, A French cultural facility that promotes the residence of 10 cities in the United States and artists around the world. “We are not here to raise the French flag first and foremost,” he said. “We believe … Promoting French artists is less important than creating a global framework for debate.”

The French Embassy introduced the Night of Ideas Festival in the United States in 2015 and now hosts this event each year in dozens of cities, from New York to Kathmandu. The “Idea Marathon” runs all over the world until midnight on the same day.This was the first year of the program in Atlanta — “We should have been here sooner!” Bruel equipped — and to get rid of it, Villa Albertine with the Mayor of Atlanta’s Bureau of Culture Cooperated as a parish deputy pastor Speaker list It has a deep connection to Atlanta’s cultural life. The list, including Bem Joiner, was dazzling. Atlanta Creator Affects Everything,Mayor Andre DickensContemporary artist, mural painter Fabian WilliamsWhen Ryan Gravel, Former designer of BeltLine. The panel discussions ranged from the inclusiveness of art and technology to the future of urban development, all guided by the central question, “Where are we going from here?”

“We did it very deliberately to ensure that we covered the creative aspects of Atlanta’s life,” said Camille Russell Love, Secretary-General of the Mayor’s Department of Culture. increase. “It was very intentional Atlanta.

Extensive conversations at night showed both the history of the city and its anxious contemporary self-analysis. Perhaps every city in the United States is keen to establish where to go from here.

At night, a panel discussion began between Dickens and the six recent graduates. Each of them used their field of study to ask questions to the mayor, from the use of public spaces in urban architecture to the importance of bioethics in genomics research. Mayor Dickens thoughtfully answered the students’ questions and tried some stop words in French to win the crowd Francophone, adding, “Thanks to Anderson of Maze High School!”

Rose Scott, Ryan Gravel, Maurice Hobson and Wanona Thatcher will speak at the Night of Ideas panel.

Photo by Connie Cross

Rose Scott, the host of WABE’s “Closer Look,” led a panel on Atlanta’s urban development and inclusion politics, along with an Atlanta historian and professor at Georgia State University. Maurice Hobson When Wanona Satcher, CEO and Founder of Mākhers Studio.. All four criticized the city’s private and public sectors for failing to effectively address the rapid population growth and associated social inequality issues in Atlanta.

“Change is coming,” gravel warned. “We must be deliberate about how we change and for whom we change.”

The night’s new approach to diplomacy was probably best explained in the panel entitled “African Art and the Black Perspective.”Cheryl Finley, director of the Atlanta University Center Art Collective, pulled from her next book Black Venice Track the history of the famous Venice Biennale and the participation of black artists.She arranged the illustrations Congress of Berlin— The pinnacle of imperial diplomacy where European countries divided the African Continent for themselves — in sculpture “Scramble for Africa” Yinka Shonibare, a Nigerian-British artist who presented her work at the Biennale.This year, Finley is the American Pavilion at the Biennale. Held for the first time by a black female artist, Sculptor Simone Leigh enthusiastically incorporates the colonial heritage into his designs. Around the world, Finley seemed to say that a new kind of diplomacy was working.

Co-founders of the Queen by chance Diane Landyce and Miriam Fuari speak in a panel with Atlanta artist Fabian Williams

Photo by Connie Cross

Careful selection by the panelists has enabled fresh conversations and amplified the long-delegated perspective in the margins. A panel on technology and its inclusion in art, led by Alex Frankcom, Fulton County Public Art Manager, delved into Atlanta’s art and technology sector to explore how to build the Metaverse, NFT, and a better virtual world. Frankcom was attended by Williams, who has murals all over the city, and Diane Landyce and Miriam Fuari, co-founders of Accidental Queens, a French video game design studio now in Atlanta. Their conversations traced the pesky Ouroboros of art, society and culture, evoking a new taste of globalism centered on those who have historically reached their limits rather than the heirs of traditional power. “It is our responsibility to create a world that is better than the one in which we were born,” Houlai said.

But just before this conversation, the white supremacist just Shot dead black shoppers and workers At a grocery store in Buffalo. From the stage, Williams admitted shooting with a tired sway in his head. “I’m trying to bring all this reality into the digital space,” he said of his work. “There is a problem that needs to be solved here. There is history that needs to be heard.”

The news reminded us that despite the changes in the world, we continue to be trapped in old hatred and fear. However, it also heightened the sense of critical dominance that stimulated these conversations. Perhaps America has never been so desperate to know where we are going from here. Discussions continued, the nights became longer, and notes of hope quietly spilled over into the hall. It is through ideas like this that we find our way.

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