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The Dream Cafe: Lessons in the Art of Radical Innovation by Duncan D. Bruce, Dr Geoff Crook

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XX-RATED

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Shaken and Stirred

Shock was the most common response to the disruption that came out of the radical disruptive challenges that emanated out of those café culture moments when the world of convention was shaken, stirred and eventually transformed. The avant-garde shocked the status quo because of its willingness to cross boundaries of decency, morality and tradition. Resistance to the assault on tradition was the common spark for the defensive stance that underpinned the desire to protect and defend continuity and all that it stood for.

It wasn't difficult to offend the contemporary mores of society in the nineteenth century, as the establishment were deeply concerned about the corrupting potentials of access to new ideas and new opportunities for engagement that industrialization created. An attempt to superimpose religious piety over human instinct dominated the official institutions' response to the threat of licentious seduction.

We run into more problematic terrain where aesthetic innovation inspired a backlash. For example, the opening night of Stravinsky's ‘Rite of Spring’, in 1913, provoked a ‘riot’ – in much the same way that the deliberately provocative ‘Sensation’ art show in Brooklyn, in 1999, evoked an attempt by New York Mayor Rudolph W Giuliani to cut funding for the museum. Moral indignation inevitably swelled visitor numbers, but the outburst of concern ...

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