Globalization, Migration, and the Public Sphere

enc02_globalization_lgPhoto/ Foto: Marlène Ramírez Cancio

3rd Encuentro

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

Lima, July 5-13, 2002

The title of our third Encuentro, 'Globalization, Migration and the Public Sphere', explicitly states our purpose to articulate contemporary thought on core trends and current conditions facing us today with concrete action in the fields of cultural, artistic and political production. This name also stresses the need to maintain the relationship between our research and the ways in which we represent ourselves, grow and recognize ourselves in creative action.

In past Encuentros, we have made progress in analyzing and evidencing that the memory of the processes of conquest and colonialism, atrocity and resistance has kept talent through forms expressed in the most diverse ways thoughout the hemisphere. Our concerns and efforts focus on making known a universe in continuous transformation, as it both confronts and enriches itself with new influences, in order to render an account of what has been lived, enjoyed and suffered in light of the vital presence of the creative porcesses that are with us today.

We are part of a movement that, overcoming dualist theoretical and methodological limitations, has broken free from puerile sparations between what is cultivated and what is popular, between social change and culture, between what is scientific and what is human, between academic and artistic, and even from our own - though sometimes necessary - boundaries between various disciplines of thought.

The ways of creating and facing life with staged proposals involving social life, through what, thanks to some pioneer anthropologists and social scientists, is now increasingly known as performance, are the main subhects of study at recognized academic centers and institutions dedicated to cultural knowledge and creation. As a result of this intellectual option, this assault coming not only from the theaters or accepted spaces for such proposals, but from the streets, the squares, the most unimaginable places, the public sphere is no longer the same. While, on the one hand, the strongest economic forces prevailing at present seek to privatize, discriminate and segment the public sphere, at the same time pursuing cultural homogeneity in the name of globalization, it is impossible to ignore the growing movement towards making each socially involved creative proposal a feast in facor of identity, of strengthening roots, wherever it may surface, thus making the public sphere an emblem of freedom.

We keep looking for new points of support to better understand our reality and understand each other. This can only be accomplished by starting from ourselves, but only provided we can reach out to the other, to others. It is from our local space, from a legitimate conception of what is public in the commuinty sphere, that we can project to a glocal scale. In turn, the most intimate subjectivity in the local sphere is pregnant with a global breath that is increasingly more evident. Only in the equivalence between all the forms of migration to which humans and their communities are exposed can we understand a little bit better and enjoy our human condition.

Since Hegel, in an almost logical manner we recognize supreme artistic form in that which is able to articulate not only the thought but also the reciprocal action between human groups. Such honor, which this illustrious thinker assigned to the theater he knew, can well be extended in various degrees to all the forms of creative action that communities repeat at those times when they most intensely live as such: at times of ritual celebration, in the feast, in each and every way of being and becoming more human. This action has burst among us under the concept of performance as an invitation and a challenge to make and understand life better. Let us make the best of theses day with intelligence and commitment.

I could not end this welcome without thanking the unwavering support given by Salomon Lemer Febres, Rector of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, as well as all the members of our institution that have contributed to this third Encuentro. Zeca Ligiero from Brazil and Javier Serna from México, co-directors of the Institute and organizers of the first two Encuentros, know well how difficult organizing these events can be. Detailed preparation of the Encuentro has been possible thanks to the team at our School Communication Sciences and Arts, to the Cultural Center of our university, as well as to the groups Yuyachkani and Negro Continuo. And, of couse, from the outset the whole project has been made possible, promoted and accompanied by DIana Taylor, main promoter and DIrector of the Hemispheric Institute and her outstanding work team at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

 A warm welcome to Perú and to the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú,

-Luis Peirano