Sunday, April 24, 2011

The MP3 Remains the Same

Today the tools of creation and distribution have not only changed, they've made it easier for anyone to enjoy the act of making art on a level that would have been simply impossible or unaffordable a decade before. And we enjoy a plethora of digital devices with which to create, communicate and distribute our collective brilliant inspirations.
I think most will agree that Andy Warhol was right when he postulated in 1968 that "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." –Except of course, the real time frame is the 1.5 seconds it takes 15 million 'followers' to like your video or read your 'tweet'.

But to this observer, the bulk of the content being pushed through the pipes remains traditional in almost every aspect. Perhaps it's too soon to expect that artists have caught up with the Internet, but if middle class computer programmers from suburban California can access the future, why can't contemporary artists?

Granted, the integration of game theory into many heretofore non game platforms is an interesting movement, as is nonlinear and hyperlinked story telling in both advertising and entertainment platforms. But if we narrow our focus to the so-called fine arts, then why is it that even art which calls itself experimental or Avante-garde is not so different from the experimental or Avante-garde created more than a half century before?

Really, now, isn't about time that every musician who decides to 'experiment' try something different than dabbling with modular synthesizers? I, for one, would like to see real experiments, testing a hypothesis, and executed with purpose, not just some guy executing a filter sweep with one hand and popping a Molly with the other. And for those that do invest the time and energy to learn modular synthesis, when exactly do you plan to stop experimenting and actually master your craft?

Likewise, with a few notable exceptions, contemporary  dance, for instance, is no more modern than the 'modern dance' of Hanya Holm, Anna Sokolow or Alwin Nikolais, and arguably most of it is less so.

Perhaps one day this word, 'modern', will only refer to the hundred years spanning the middle of the 19th Century to the middle of the 20th Century. Or we may have just begun the Modern Age, which in that case, we have a century or more, and maybe a another millennium before its played out.

And that may be a more accurate prediction, because as of right now, we have a hard time shaking it off.

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