I wrote this post for InterventTech on 03 November 2008. Click on the link at the bottom to read the full post.
BLOG EXTRACT – A week or so has passed since Ekow Eshun sent his infamous ‘internal email‘ announcing the closure of the ICA’s Live and Media Arts Department. And boy… has it been kicking off in the Media, Computer and Live Arts forums ever since.
Quite right too…
Opinion round up…
As Abs commented on this blog earlier in the week, the most high profile comment in response to Ekow’s decision was made by Lyn Gardner on the Guardian Theatre Blog, Thursday 23rd of October. Very much from a ‘theatre background,’ Lyn’s piece provided a voice for ‘Live Art,’ in response to Ekow’s decision. Reading between the lines, the article exposed Mr Eshun as a strategic ‘tactician’ who has ‘squeezed’ the investment and profiling of Live and Media Arts at the ICA since becoming Director in 2005. He did this Lyn argues, to claim it ‘useless,’ ‘irrelevant,’ and close the department down.
I have absolutely no idea if this assessment of Eshun’s character as Director of the ICA is a fair one. Like most people, I’ve seen him exercising his intellect with Mark Lawson on late night TV, and admittedly found his critical gymnastics off putting, but that doesn’t really give much to go on. What has really stood out though, is that neither Ekow or any other representative from the ICA or Arts Council has responded specifically to this somewhat damning character reference. A guilty conscience or an oversight? Who knows, perhaps someone would like to comment here..?
It’s also worth mentioning (as many comments on Lyn’s article do) that Philip Dodd, Ekow’s predecessor at the ICA, also worked pretty hard to hammer the first few nails in the Media and Live Art coffin. So, shame on Philip too.