Will COVID-19 create a Cultural Flip?
As I write this newsletter, I am listening to a podcast about the idea of ‘the Flip’ proposed by author Jeffery Kripal. Kripal suggests that extraordinary experiences flip our understanding of consciousness and that it takes a combination of philosophical, psychological, cultural and spiritual change brought about by a moment that allows us to grow personally and as a community. It’s a fascinating idea, and one that you can see manifested throughout history, World War One or the Holocaust are examples, so could it apply today, is Covid-19 a flip moment?
While we sit within the midst of the crisis, it is problematic to talk of impacts and change, but as humans, we are speculative and imaginative creatures and it is too tempting not to imagine how we will all be changed by this experience.
I am sure we are all considering how in the future we will take time to appreciate family and friends, savour drinks with colleagues after work, or the pure pleasure of cricket matches on a Saturday morning. But what of the more systemic changes, changes to how we work and travel, changes to manufacturing and food security, changes to how we interact with culture?
As cultural institutions across the world transition to online presentations and engagement, new opportunities and limitations are exposed. There is much around culture that can be experienced online, and for the many audiences comfortable in the digital world, it is one of the main ways they experience it. Despite this, the cultural world is founded on the ‘real world’ experience, the opportunity to walk through the heritage site, see concerts performed live, walk up to an artwork on the wall of a gallery. How do we reconcile this with the experience of life increasingly experienced online?
Could this be the moment in which the foundations of culture, its primary modes of production and consumption move to the digital realm, that for every gallery or theatre visit, the online visitor is valued just as profoundly and experiences are created solely for them? More importantly, could this moment be our flip of consciousness, one in which our understanding of culture changes. No longer based on experiences in the real world, where we go to see or visit culture, but rather one in which, it is the emotions felt, realisations made, ideas created that is the value – and this can be experienced anywhere.
Cultural Development Coordinator
About 7000 years before the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) cast his world-renowned Le Penseur (“The Thinker”) the Neolithic culture of Hamangia (located in present-day Romania) created its own version of the philosophical intellect. Known as the Thinker of Cernavoda (c.5,000 BCE), this small terracotta figurine was excavated in 1956 and is believed to be the oldest sculpture depicting human cognition and introspection. It is unusual for its time as pre-literate art generally depicted hunting or symbolic fertility. I find this small figurine comically moving, with an air of frustration or vexation, its subject is clearly having a bad day. But it’s this relatability that I find so moving. This figure is you and me, in that instant the time between when this object was made and now ceases to exist, and I am reminded how connected we all are, through time and through our bad days.
Mamma Mia: Anybody who knows me, knows that I am a massive Mamma Mia and ABBA fan. Listening to this song (and the whole album!) in the car or at home at 100 percent volume always puts me in a great mood and ALWAYS creates an impromptu solo dance party (yes, even in public) because I just love it. In these times, I think we all need a bit of ABBA in our lives to keep us going.
Customer Service and Online Engagement Officer
Cultural Development Coordinator
This Saturday is Anzac Day and we usually would be stopping to take a moment and reflect on the service of the men and women of the armed forces, however, due to the restrictions placed on social gatherings Anzac day services across the nation have been cancelled. So while we cannot meet at our community cenotaph to stop and remember, there are still a number of ways to acknowledge the day and its meaning.
The Returned Services League has put together a number of ways that you can commemorate Anzac Day from your home
Be part of the Community Ode – Record a video of yourself reciting The Ode or sharing a message of support for veterans on your social media. Respond “Going” to our ANZAC Day 2020 Facebook event. Then use the hashtags #ANZACspirit and #lightupthedawn and share how you’ll be commemorating privately, as well as who you’ll be remembering this ANZAC Day.
Light up the dawn at 6am on ANZAC Day. Go to the end of your driveway, stand on your balcony or in your lounge room and listen to a short commemorative service. Together – even while apart – we’ll remember those who served and sacrificed. You can pledge your support at rslanzacspirit.com.au
Tune in to live services and virtual commemorative services. This includes the 5.30am service from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. There will also be a 10am virtual and streamed service (closed to the public) from the Anzac Memorial in Sydney that will be broadcast live with more details to follow.
Reach out to a mate or veteran who might be alone. Many people are alone during this time of isolation. It’s an opportunity to invoke the ANZAC value of mateship and check to see how a mate is doing. And if you know a veteran please call or reach out to them, check in on them, thank them for their service and help them if needed during this time.
Donate to the ANZAC Appeal online at anzacappeal.com.au. Donations support Australian veterans and their families in need.
Be sure to follow Dubbo Regional Council and the Western Plains Cultural Centre to follow their online Anzac Commemorations.