The InterGalactic Cultural Relations Institute (P₄+₂) Purpose 

(Initially released Stardate - October 23, 2015; revised on Stardate February 9, 2016, Extraterrestrial Culture Day) 

The IGCRI P₄+₂ Purpose = Ponder – Policy – Protocol – Preparedness + Past vs. Present

Ponder

– What art would we show an alien/ET audience and why? How would we go about deciding, and what would be the criteria? How can we develop a sense of the “Alien Aesthetic” and what does the “Alien Gaze” mean for artists being able to express their own cultural agency on a global/galactic level and then, what becomes the role of the “earthling cultural gatekeepers”? Do ET’s need curation? Why, why not? We can’t understand all of the individual human aesthetics so how could we develop a single alien aesthetic? Because that would be probably be impossible, we should focus on learning to be confident in our own sense of the arts and use that to tell our story to "Them". 

Policy

– How will art and culture be integrated into the existing research, scientific inquiry, planning, protocol and policy development for contact and possible ET consumption of art and cultural offerings? (Note: this is already happening on some very special levels, but what can we do to help all efforts along at a more robust pace?) What will the top level thinkers, and all of humankind, approve as representative displays of human creative, artistic expression and how will such efforts be funded, managed and tracked/collected? Will ET’s be allowed to influence and affect their consumption of cultural offerings and if so by what methods? Will artists be allowed to interact with alien audiences? Can ET’s commission their own works of art from humans, and who will own the intellectual property rights of such interactions?  The IGCRI approach to policy is set as a value proposition to foster collectivity and connectivity, generosity, openness, transparency, responsiveness and responsibility.

Protocol

– How will arts and culture of planet Earth be showcased and presented upon contact and in formal diplomatic relations ceremonies and other introductory, “get to know you/get to know us" welcoming events? Who will coordinate the display and ceremonies that must necessarily include arts and culture of humankind? The IGCRI can inform and establish relations with other global efforts as the “go to” advisors for an interplanetary arts and cultural diplomatic roll out, without having to do the heavy lifting on the “day of”, specifically as a peacekeeping and welcoming initiative, which leads to… 

Preparedness

– How shall we identify, select and/or commission the “best of the best” artists and cultural presenters (what the heck does that even mean in terms of “the best” art?) to be ready at a moment’s notice for the arts and cultural components to be ready for the world's official diplomatic interplanetary relations. How shall we advocate for having the most appropriate arts and culture ready to roll out and how shall we fund artists to be ready with art and cultural expression of the largest interplanetary/intergalactic diplomatic magnitude we can imagine? What “infrastructure” will be needed to present such art? We have time to develop an arts and cultural preparedness plan - or do we? 

Past vs. Present

– There will be considerable effort dedicated to hauling out the ancient and not so far past supreme examples of human arts and culture to show ET’s. Should the IGCRI primarily focus on art being made for ET’s now, from hence forward? Or at least in recent times? Such coordination is probably only possible if there could be extreme institutional cooperative efforts and only if the criteria and protocol are harmoniously meshed with other sympathetic institutions.  Perhaps only those historic works of art that can be “art historically proven” (whatever that might look like) to have been created for extraterrestrial audiences would be included for consideration. 

Which brings everything back to P₁ - Ponder. 

Postscript 

Many of the terms used in developing the IGCRI Purpose overview have been selected specifically because they are loaded, complex, multidisciplinary and just fun to think about. All uses of the word art are intended to be inclusive of all artistic disciplines and inter-disciplinary artistic efforts. As the ICGRI “founder”, writing this has been a much needed exercise but has obviously led to many, many more questions than answers about what the InterGalactic Cultural Relations Institute is going to be or do. Many of these fundamental ideas about the role of artists, cultural gatekeepers and audience have already been worked out in art and social history theory, but they are fun to reexamine under these terms, while still keeping a somewhat lighthearted and poetic approach to all of it.