Art in Europe bets on culture through digital platforms

With the campaign #StayAtHome for the COVID-19 health contingency, museums, concert halls, and other cultural activities in Spain and other European countries have opted for virtual reality to disseminate their programming, and motivate people to stay in quarantine.

Cancellations due to the coronavirus are on the rise, so European venues have released their assets and some singers are offering concerts online. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Cancellations due to the coronavirus are on the rise, so European venues have released their assets and some singers are offering concerts online. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In Madrid, for example, the Museo del Prado and the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Reina Sofía improvised a series of activities through their website. The former launched the program "El Prado contigo", with a range of digital activities.

Miguel Falomir, Director of the art gallery, and Alejandro Vergara, head of the museum's Conservation of Flemish Painting and Schools of the North, inaugurated this initiative through social networks, and explained that people will be able to visit museum spaces virtually and even tour areas of the premises that are not available in person, such as the facilities of the Technical Office, the roofs or the machine room.

In addition, on its website, the Prado offers tours of its galleries, videoconferences of its current exhibitions and video games.

The Thyssen Museum, also in Madrid, offers its entire collection on its website, including explanatory videos, virtual tours through microsites and talks.

Another tool that has been reactivated is Google Arts and Culture, where videos are available to see inside dozens of museums and international cultural sites, from the Discovery space shuttle to the Natural History Museum in London. This platform also offers tours of more than twenty Mexican sites, such as the National Museum of Art.

The Berlin Opera will use old recordings of its repertoire for its internet offer, while the Vienna Opera has decided to compensate for the reduction in social life by offering largely recorded performances online in recent years.

For its part, the Royal Theatre is offering this Monday the premiere of Achilles in Sciros in direct transmission through the digital platform My Opera Player.

In addition, since February, the Spanish Theatre Documentation Centre has 1,500 recordings of shows of all genres available on the Teatroteca platform.

For those who love reading, the eBiblio platform is available, an e-book lending service dependent on the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport, and Amazon which has free copies of Don Quixote, Los Miserables, Dorian Gray, and Dostoyevski.

At gutenberg.org there are 60,000 free e-books in the public domain. In addition, the Harper group made available to the public all its online magazines: Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Diez Minutos.

Virtual Shows

Meanwhile, the "I Stay Home" festival was held at Instagram this weekend, the first to be held through this social network. It brought together more than 40 Spanish musicians who performed live for half an hour from their own profile. The initiative was born after the singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler suspended his tour in Costa Rica and decided to offer a concert through their networks.

Alejandro Sanz joins the artists who support the millions of people who have had to stay at home, without going out, because of this pandemic.

An initiative that also includes the participation of several close friends, such as Juanes and Julio Reyes. The Spaniard will give a virtual concert from the latter's home and all the hygiene measures recommended by the authorities have been carried out to make it happen.

With this proposal, Sanz joins the movement so that all people stay in their homes as long as possible and do not step on the street, unless it is completely necessary.

Source: El Heraldo de Mexico

Digital platforms like Uber and Rappi generate underemployment and informality

The digital platforms, contrary to improving the conditions of workers in Latin America, mediate in the labor market in a similar way to what the "recruiters" do in the Mexican countryside. They participate as intermediaries and keep most of the profit, paying for underemployment and informality, which exposes a report from the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).

"Technological innovations (...) have led to the emergence of a work agreement that has been called" digital daily work". It shares many of the characteristics of the work of traditional day laborers, but the recruiter has been replaced by digital platforms that connect supply and demand," warns The Future of Work in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The report details that although by the end of 2018 the regional unemployment rate did not increase (for the first time since 2015), there was not a rebound in labor demand, while most of the new jobs are not salaried. This situation is expected unchanged this year, given the growth expectations in the region and a per capita gross domestic product "almost stagnant" for six years.

"The performance of the economies of the region in the first months of 2019 and the perspectives for the rest of the year do not support the forecast of significant improvements. In particular, the creation of salaried employment will remain weak and the gains in average real wages will be small. On average for the year, it is projected that the unemployment rate will remain virtually unchanged from 2018, around 9.3 percent in urban areas and 8.0 percent nationwide," the document stresses.

ECLAC and the ILO detail that works through platforms have an ambiguous figure. They can be considered self-employment, which added to the informality in salaried employment "represents an additional step backward to progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 8", of the 2030 Agenda, decent work.

They resort to the figure of the recruiters of the Mexican countryside to exemplify: that intermediary familiar with the local labor market and that charges a commission or a percentage of the respective salaries. At the same time, workers are paid for the volume of work done, without guaranteeing a base salary or a minimum number of hours to cover.

"In summary, despite the emergence of new forms of non-standard work, such as platform-based work, many of the current challenges with respect to decent work are strikingly similar to those that have existed during the 100-year history of the ILO."

In this sense, the organizations recommend that these platforms be regulated with "regulatory measures that provide workers with a minimum number of hours, guaranteed and predictable"; as well as collective representation for employees and employers.

By Mexicanist