Monday 16 December 2013

Amusing Ourselves to Death: The Downfall of the Aesthetics of a Globalized Society

ONCE upon a time - as every good old story begins - one of my oldest friends, with whom most of our conversations were revolving around the art of cinema, described to me how completely subjective every opinion related to any artistic creation is. He looked at the sky and said: “When we both observe the same cloud and its shape, you might still see a cloud and I might see Mickey Mouse.” This sentence and Picasso’s quote “if there were only one truth, you couldn't paint a hundred canvases on the same time”, concentrate still the essence of why all of us can be exposed to any kind of artistic stimulants, to any artist and his labor, but yet we can perceive them so differently. Nevertheless I still believe that no matter how we end up evaluating a… cloud, there is one fact before that moment of judgment: that for every cloud to be formed there was a specific process that was methodically followed, step-by-step, a process that in its core it has always been and will always be the same.


But nowadays it seems that most “clouds”, most works created by the core processes of the Art of Cinema and the Art of Music look and sound more or less the same. Apparently those processes got flooded by commercial patterns. Most importantly though, those involved in the making of these works think that the people who will experience them like and want these patterns; although they should have noticed by now that… not all of them want them really. In other words, it seems that because money is invested for the creation of these works, an art is not anymore considered an art, but simply a craft serving a fast-food industry. Therefore a work of art is only viewed simply as a product to be consumed. Although this is an inevitable reality for many decades now, since the conception of the entertainment industry, which naturally aims to entertain the masses, for almost the last couple of decades there has been an utter loss of balance, a complete downfall of the aesthetics. Suddenly almost everything, with rare exceptions, is destined to get produced with the same rules and patterns and then sold in order to bring quick-&-easy profits. Suddenly artistic values are simply insignificant to consider or relevant with the business. Suddenly people are polarized, more than ever before, separated in artists and producers, intellectuals and trendy/mainstream individuals. Sadly the scale of the critical mass leans to the latter…

It is truly fascinating to think that if someone was born in the year 2000, he grew up by experiencing a completely digital world where the creation, production, marketing and distribution ways of the entertainment industry’s products have been massively transformed from the preceding ways. That wouldn’t be such a problem though if, particularly in the Film Industry, those new ways wouldn’t affect:
a) the content and overall quality of the movies produced,
b) the education of the current and future people who will be involved in the filmmaking process,
c) the intellect of an entire globalized society.

Under this perspective someone who was born in the year 2000:
a) grew up by being exposed to e.g. more than 50 commercial movies based on comic superheroes,
b) he’s going to be educated in how to use only the modern film-making digital ways,
c) should wait for a coincidental event to happen that will lead him to discover composers like Tchaikovsky and directors like Andrei Tarkovsky.

It is in our hands, in the hands of every global thinker who has the same concerns, to start shaping up a better future, more creative and less sluggish. People are now getting more aware that the fast-food model of producing and feeding audiences with products destined to temporarily entertain them is obviously in deep crisis; a crisis of quality aesthetics, of quality content, of original ideas. Even if we’ll name Cinema or Music as Arts or as Industries, their core will always be the same: Creativity. If we want in the future to sit in a room where lights dim down and then someone starts to tell us a story, which will in the end succeed to endure the test of time and stay in our memory, then Creativity should become again the main element to focus and to prioritize. After all Creativity was, is and will always be also the same main element that feeds our human nature, ceaselessly hungry for stimulants, regardless if in the end of the day we’ll perceive them as a cloud or as Mickey Mouse. 

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