Salon 36 Renaissance or Revolution?

Emerging into a post-pandemic world it is easy to draw a parallel to the early years of the Renaissance. That optimism, though, is coupled with a unique and time-sensitive imperative for change as even greater existential crises loom large in our future–in the realms of politics, economics, environment, and beyond. The Renaissance was characterized by huge leaps in art, architecture, economics, and science, but those were coupled developments of international finance, colonialism, and inequalities that later spurred some of history’s most influential revolutions. After this annus horribilis, many are conjuring a renaissance in the name of progress. To others, however, real progress can be achieved only through revolution. In an effort to reveal mechanisms that can shape the way we are reborn from crisis, this Salon raises questions around the definitions of both a renaissance and a revolution, and the means by which it can exist, particularly:

What and who defines a renaissance? What about a revolution? What is the difference between the two? Who is in charge of either? Are they mutually exclusive? Do they both lead to progress? For whom? Can the progress they summon be equitably distributed? What are the roles of culture, science, technology, and finance in a renaissance? And in a revolution? Can we define a renaissance as we are living through it? What power structures are inherent to both means of transformation?

This salon took place on November 15th, 2021


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