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Culture Shift

Last week was travel week. We had to get out for a few days to readjust ourself a bit. I booked a hotel in Zinnowitz which is small town and a famous vacation destiny in the baltic sea region on the island of Usedom in Germany.

On the second day of our vacation I spent some time walking around the little town, while my wife and son were napping. In the centre I stumbled across the former Kulturhaus (house of culture) of Zinnowitz. It was a impressive building and definitely worth a closer look, which I did.

There were signs explaining the history of the building. Built in the 50’s the “Kulturhaus Deutsch-Sowjetische Freundschaft” was a many-purpose-building for a variety of events. It offered a huge dancing hall, big conference rooms, art galleries and exhibition areas for all sorts of art. It was an enjoyable place for everyone.

Wasting culture space?

Other signs telling stories about what is about to happen with this building in the future. Luxury apartments. I felt anger and quietly mumbled » of course, apartments « and rolled my eyes. I try to explain why my initial thought was frustration:

Zinnowitz is a travel destination. It has nothing but a beach, restaurants and hotels. A lot. You could easily say that every building in this town facing the sea is either a hotel or a restaurant. Or both. There are people visiting this place for 1-3 weeks and spending tons of money on sleeping and eating. The culture aspect of this place is almost non-existent. I get that people normally chill on the beach all day long. But I think there is another, more important issue, concerning the culture diversity in a place like that.

Every house a hotel

Technology is changing cultures

After a few minutes examining the building and the signs, I sat down and took a break. My thoughts were as follows: Is a Kulturhaus pointless to people traveling and staying here? Is that maybe even some sort of a culture shift? It is undeniable that the smartphone affects our consuming habits. Its impact on how we are consuming media and other culture relevant content is steadily growing. In every aspect of our all live we use this machine. But does that mean we can get rid of our Kulturhaus in every city or town? I am super eager to learn more about the whole topic of how our use of technology influences our physical world. Let me know if you have any research on that specific topic, will you? : )

The smartphone itself is just a transitional technology. We already get a sense of how the future might look like. It won’t be with less technology. It will be both: ubiquitous and invisible. Every tasks we do accomplish with our smartphone today will be managed by smart agents implemented in our all surroundings. What might sounds like Sci-Fi is happening many years already. With technologies like Nest or Alexa we got home automation. We communicate with these devices through a voice interface or more generally: a natural user interface. The whole home automation shows where we are heading in terms of humans, using technology. What this means regarding consuming art and media content is not yet clear. At least for me.

There a is this one horrific idea of mine: People sitting in their apartments and the only way they are consuming culture content is through some sort of technology. I am not an alarmist. But Netflix already has a huge impact on the revenue of movie theatres, which is basically a fancy name for another Kulturhaus.

Feature Image by rio lecatompessy