What If They Could Read Your Mind?

Researchers believe that advances in microelectronics and medical imaging are “bringing us closer to a world where mind reading is possible and some blindness is overcome with visual prostheses.” But as alluring as some of the possibilities may be, the capabilities of such technology may very likely have a nasty downside. “Researchers may one day find brain activity that correlates with behavior patterns such as tendencies toward alcoholism, aggression, pedophilia, or racism.” If so, what will that mean for those so labeled?

A Place For Big Ideas

Suzaan Boettger writes that Dia’s new outpost at Beacon is a place where space could allow for the jumble and interplay of big ideas. “The Dia collection harkens back to a decade when the convergence of strong fiscal growth, the largesse of Great Society programs, increasing support for civil rights, anti-Vietnam war protests, and myriad forms of personal and sexual liberation made such artistic innovation on a large scale a cultural manifestation of the utopian belief that ‘anything is possible’.”

SARS Slays Lion King

Toronto’s SARS scare has claimed another victim – the Lion King. The show has seen ticket sales plummet after tourists began staying away from the city over concerns about SARS. “The show’s closure will bring to an end the a run of 1,300 performances since March 2000.”

UK Audience For Foreign Films Drops

Britons are watching fewer foreign films in theatres. Why? “The problem with foreign-language films is that they became increasingly marginalised in the schedules on BBC2. They would be shown intermittently and late at night because that was the only way we could get them into the schedule, partly because BBC2 has become a more mainstream channel. It’s not a niche channel any more.”

Is Free TV Worth Saving? Does Anyone Care?

“Since the 1950s, the free broadcast system has served as the great galvanizer and equalizer, accessible to anyone in the nation owning a rooftop antenna and a TV. Even today, most Americans get their news from TV broadcasters. Yet some critics say the system is irreparably broken and growing more irrelevant in the face of competition from cable and satellite services, even as the federal government has moved to prop up the broadcast industry.”

Court Rules Artists Can Use Celebrity Images

Do artists have the right to use images of celebrities in their work? The California Supreme Court says yes. “The court said celebrities have the right to prevent their likenesses from being used simply to sell products, a doctrine illustrated by a 2001 ruling against an artist who sold T-shirts and lithographs with drawings of the Three Stooges. But in a unanimous decision, the justices said artists and publishers have a constitutional right to produce works that include an image, creatively transformed, of an actual person.”

Celebs, Incorporated

“The decision permits authors of fictional works to create characters based in part on celebrities, as long as the portrayals differ from the real people. Celebrities will continue to be able to demand compensation when their actual faces or names are used on coffee cups or other commercial merchandise.”

How Did 9/11 Change The Arts?

“It’s going on two years now, and the work is just beginning. Artists found a daunting, inevitable theme for the 21st century in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A spate of recent works — in film, fiction, music and poetry — suggests how broad and multivalenced the responses will be as this singular national trauma continues to sink in and penetrate our consciousness.”

NY Phil/Carnegie Merger Could Resonate In Pittsburgh

News of the impending merger of the New York Philharmonic with Carnegie Hall has some observers of the classical scene in Pittsburgh thinking that the embattled Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra could take a page from the Phil’s book. “Given the national significance of the Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall, the unexpected consolidation raises the possibility that a stronger collaboration between the Symphony and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust could be viewed more favorably as a way to stabilize the Symphony’s finances. The Trust, an arts presenting organization that owns four theaters in the Downtown Cultural District, has for five years successfully brought the PSO and Downtown arts groups together in its ‘shared services’ initiative.”

NY Phil Moved Quickly, Quietly on Carnegie Deal

When the decision to move the New York Philharmonic’s home base back to Carnegie Hall after 40 years as the anchoring tenant at Lincoln Center was announced this past weekend, it came like a bolt out of the blue. There had been no substantial rumors of an impending deal, little to no speculation that the Phil might be pulling out of Avery Fisher Hall, and no public indication that Carnegie had much interest in reacquiring the orchestra as a tenant. In the rush to get a deal done, in fact, the Phil left some of its board members and supporters out of the process entirely. Lincoln Center officials, meanwhile, claim to have been broadsided by the deal, with no opportunity given for them to make a counteroffer.