Gilberto Gil has gone beyond being a national idol in Brazil. The former minister of culture, the artist, the social policy visionary and philosopher is today a hero to many around the world. His lecture at the Ontario College of Art Design last Monday was inspirational. The theme was the “Power of Art.”
He started off with a plea for us to remember that culture is imperative for all society and that even those who control the world from behind the scenes know this. “We work six days for a day of culture” he said.
He then read from a speech, translated from Portuguese I suspect, about the digital age and the new opportunities this represents for artists and people who work in the creative industries.
We are in an age of “the dematerialization of commodities, of new possibilities with the new contents that can be put out in a digital landscape: the new whole productive system.” He added that with this whole reassessment of the landscape we must also readjust our ambitions within this landscape. This speech falls into line with policies that Gil espoused as Minister of Culture: empowerment for artistic communities and cultural “hotspots” through technology and digital savvy for communication and creativity. I personally as an agitator in the Toronto arts & music scene, was very inspired and happy that such a prominent artist and politician was espousing views to grow the economy of culture. Favorite quote, “I am from the psychedelic generation.”
After fielding some questions (some more focused than others) Gil was kind enough to grace us with a song at the end.