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Maria Vittoria Mangiarotti Davines Creative Director

Culture Will Save The World

EDITORIAL

Maria Vittoria Mangiarotti, Davines Creative Director, shares some thoughts on beauty, inclusion and time.

I profoundly believe that it is culture’s responsibility to save the world, long before beauty should. I say this because Beauty doesn’t have an aim – it exists for itself. 

Beautyitself doesn’t have end communication objectives – its inspiration is absolute – if we can grasp it. 

Culture, defined as traditions, art, music, stories, cinema, and history, is the only alternative humans have to be able to connect intellectually with their fellow humans, and is the only way an individual human can project himself to others and talk about the world.  

More questions, less "like"

We often reflect on how to improve the future for younger generations and, more generally speaking, on what is right for society. I think that the answer is to provide and impart culture that is neither swift nor fleeting, culture that belongs in a time and a space,culture that expects questions to be asked, contrary opinions to be given, dialogue to be shared, andnot simply “likes,” or abstention due to boredom

Connection at the expense of knowledge
We live in a smothered age where our space has been deprived of spontaneity; there is no time to reflect, to look more deeply into things, to disagree – suddenly and swiftly information and knowledge become one and the same
Information, however, is extraneous to time, whereas knowledge matures over time. And so we go online, to not miss out on the smallest news about the world, without taking part, we don’t go out and belong. When we exist outside of ourselves, we do it out of affinity, to be like others. 
We can go everywhere, yet not have an experience. We take passing note of everything, and gain no knowledge. We amass information and data to no purpose. We crave lived experience and intense feelings that allow us to remain unchanged.  

 

Inclusion, a fundamental value in Western culture, has often become a means to gently decimate the “Other.”  Inclusion happens if there is dialogue, if an exchange of differences is accomplished, if in some way those dissimilar are no longer disconnected outsiders. 
But if we abandon what makes us unique in order to join the common ground, we run the risk of ending up in a society where our dialectical counterpart ceases to exist, and information is no longer based on relationships but is mere mass collective communication. 
Culture demands thought, detachment, solemnity, listening. However, the most frequently applied model of today is simplification and immediacy, in all contexts. And this is the model that drives success. We buy time, we save on resources, and effort is reduced to snap moments. And the same happens when we decide to do something different, to dedicate some time to external stimuli. 

An age of mass simplification

And thus Instagram. It is perfect because it enchants for an instant, inspires for an instant, entices for an instant, deceives for an instant, and in return, reinforces our own self-image.

But engaging in culture forces us to take a position, to chain ourselves to an image, to an idea, and we can go no further, until the compare and contrast has played itself out. Culture is to listen to words, to watch a film, to meditate on the stories we are following. 

And this rite that we are engaged in leads us to discover that we are different from the way we were just before. Our age is filled with extreme and massive simplification, dissemination, and promulgation.It does not envisage critical thinking and even discourages it. 

 

We are in the Coca-Cola era, because it is thoroughly homogenized, based on affinities of the moment. The formula for Coca-Cola is pleasing and simple: water, sugar, and caramel. Everyone likes it and it joins everyone together. It raises no questions, no further thought, no reasoning, no debate, and it spurs no memories. Drinking Coca-Cola is the action of those who are politically correct, fleeing from any hint at later deliberation. 
On the other hand, a good wine raises many questions. But we need the right key to understand it, someone has to teach us to savour it, there has to be a fitting context, we need the right glass, and there is a ritual that leads up to the tasting and the enjoying. 

First and foremost, we need culture. We need it to develop freedom and personal creativity in relation to our own lived experience. And we need time, the right amount of time, not one made up of virtual instants – in a real location with an assembly of the free and the willing. Culture can save the world by developing further thought, given the daily routine that is ever more functional to inherent societal needs and goals. The world will be saved when culture has figured out how to fairly share the right keys – so that Beauty is given the chance to convey itself to everyone.

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