Culture in 2018: Trends that will shape society | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 31.12.2017
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Culture in 2018: Trends that will shape society

As the #metoo movement expands and TV continues its decline, DW looks at what 2018 has in store for culture and the arts.

"The only thing that is constant is change," said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus sometime in the 6th century BC. But today's society does not wait for change to happen, it demands it: social media and constant interconnectivity have made us crave novelty every second, not only in the sphere of consumer products but also when it comes to universal human rights.

The female viewpoint

The strong wave of contemporary feminism will surely not diminish in 2018 and will continue to influence culture and arts. 

Read more: Germany's most famous women's rights activist Alice Schwarzer at 75

The English photographer, actress and television host Amanda de Cadenet established an online platform "Girlgaze" in 2017, a project that aims to promote the role of female artists across genres and disciplines.

In the US alone, the movie version of the Marvel superhero comic "Wonder Woman" earned over $100 million (84 million euros) during its opening weekend, an unprecedented success for a feature film starring a woman. 

#MeToo #NoMore?

Maler Balthus Therese Dreaming Gemälde Balthasar Klossowski (picture-alliance/dpa/O.Berg)

Petitions were signed against the display of Balthasar Klossowski's "Thérèse Dreaming" (1938) in the MET

One of the strongest trends of the ending year was the hashtag "MeToo," which took the social media by storm with stories of sexual misconduct. 

Read more: The Harvey Weinstein effect

The movement's impact will doubtless continue to resonate through all areas of society. Like every movement, it caused a counter-reaction after a petition demanded that New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art remove the painting "Thérèse Dreaming" by the French modern artist Balthasar Klossowski. 

Read more: Hollywood chooses Anita Hill to lead anti-sexual harassment commission

The 1938 work of art shows a 13-year-old girl lost in thought with a rolled up skirt revealing her underpants. The signatories claimed that by putting the image on display, "the Met is romanticizing voyeurism and objectification of children." The institution refused to take it down, and numerous critics accused the petition of trying to achieve art censorship.

Religious comeback

On May 10, the MET Costume Institute in New York opens its annual fashion exhibition "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." According to a trend report by J. Walther Thompson Intelligence, the theme marks the rising need for spirituality in the world.

"After years of consumers turning more secular, religion is making a comeback in some places, following major social and economic shifts," says the annual JWTI report. "There's been a lot of wrenching social change. It's almost as if people need a breathing period to look around and evaluate who we are and what values we believe in," it adds. 

Read more: 'Welcome to Jerusalem' exhibition explores a divided Holy City

As the report indicates, religion offers a "feeling of rules and norms for a society searching for a sense of stability," a sensation that has also contributed to the resurgence of realistic painting and sculpture in the last few years.

The end of TV?

Once an alternative and disruptive industry, online streaming providers such as Netflix and Hulu have become the new norm, forcing television corporations to develop their own streaming services.

Read more: 'Babylon Berlin': The most expensive non-English drama series ever produced

Online TV has become so prevalent that its major operators started producing high-budget and critically-acclaimed movies and series. Netflix's hit show "Stranger Things" won several Emmy awards and has been nominated for a Golden Globe in 2018. YouTube has just recently started its own paid, ad-free service.

The trend of ditching traditional TV with its fixed schedule for a service that gives viewers relative freedom will only grow stronger. A new player on the scene: a startup called The Screening Room, which aims to bring movies still playing in theatres to the home. For a fee of $50 (42 euros), subscribers will be granted a 48-hour rental period.

Read more: Amazon to produce 'Lord of the Rings' TV series

The company has just announced a partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute.

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