Friday, August 27, 2010

In which a grumpy old man tells some kids to get off his lawn.

In which a grumpy old man tells some kids to get off his lawn.

This may be slightly disjointed because I’m still trying to collect all my thoughts on the subject, but I feel like I need to get some of this out now in order to allow everything to percolate a bit.

Creativity in the internet age ain’t what it used to be.

I’ve been thinking a lot about art lately. And people that consider themselves cultured. And people that create and others that consume and the symbiosis between the two. And while there is still some great art out there, I feel most of what we’re seeing is merely whimsical and ultimately shallow. We remix and mash-up cute, yet “inspirational,” phrases. Much of what is lauded as forward thinking is in fact the rear view of someone trying to climb back into their inner childhood. And not even their actual childhood; instead it’s some heavily romanticized, perpetually ironic, 1970s sitcom version of a childhood.

Do I think that, especially now, everyone with the tools and the platform and the audience should share whatever creative vision they have? Of course I do. I’m just getting sick of cruising through Tumblr feeds full of what people consider to deep thoughts and imagery when they are in fact reflecting pools exposing the mediocrity they are constructed from. I’m tired of seeing cheeky guerrilla installations that are hugely entertaining but ultimately devoid of any lasting meaning being held up as iconic happenings. And while I am a great fan of deft wordplay I am truly sick of people accepting sloganeering as life principles.

Is the internet to blame for all of this? No, ultimately it’s not. One of the reasons I dropped my art major in college was because much of this bullshit existed back then, as I suspect it did twenty years before that and twenty years before that and, you get the idea. The difference this time around is scope. And it’s that scope that is beginning to erode actual deep and meaningful creativity.

We’re surrounded by amazing stuff but we’re no longer demanding that stuff be amazing for more than the few seconds it takes us to process it and move on.


geekgrrl said...

we have to demand deeper art in order for it to last. alas, popular art is seldom very deep regardless. the broader the reach of mediocrity, the further we have to dig to reach meaning.

Tankboy said...

Popular art can be lasting. Look at Norman Rockwell. Or Stephen King. Art doesn't have to be obtuse in order to be meaningful, it just has to be well done.

Lizard McGee said...

What cheeky guerrilla installations are you talking about specifically? Just curious. But yes, I agree. With so many things, the internet just makes it worse. There is a lot more noise and that's where the shallow art lives. The deep/great/connected art is there, just that much harder to find. Most people don't care to try.

Gage said...

I think the issue is that with the internet in particular, EVERYONE can "be" an artist. And almost everyone "is" if you were to ask them. In the laziest, most ADHD of ways... and that is the sad by-product of a world that is constantly connected and let's us all spew our crap 24/7 on anyone who happens to see it.

Mediocre bands? They get picked up off Myspace.

Everyone is a freaking photographer and sets up a website to sell their "prints". Art has been reduced to something not so much skilled as based on one's willingness to put something out there and demand that it be accepted. I hate that.