By admin | June 18, 2012
In a recent book called ‘Imagine’ author Jonah Lehrer attempts to explore the science of creativity. The book raises some interesting notions on the way we see creativity and what drives the creative spark to become exceptional. But trying to see it through scientific eyes, as if you could capture the exceptional as an algorithm or institute it as part of a uni curriculum, leaves me pondering the effect of digital media tech on the art world and on creativity as a whole.
I can’t help thinking that when you try to see or describe creativity in some sort of scientific idiom you lose the very essence of the creative spark. In a world of photoshop wizzing and home music studios, one has to ask; have the arts gained and evolved accordingly, or are there just more people with basic skills aided by technology producing mediocre art?
Have the arts become more a populist hobby than a noble pursuit and obsession of the creatively driven artist. We have expanded the bounds of creativity and creative process to include all, we have dropped the technological skill barriers to hopefully stimulate and facilitate the creative spark in anyone who feels a desire to create, but are we creating more or better art than before? Have the traditional arts responded and risen to greater heights or have they been watered down and become bloated with mediocrity?
Certainly graphic design has expanded exponentially with tech advances, but has it become better design? Maybe. Maybe it has just become more anal and cliche! Has music become a richer and more exciting experience? It is certainly more diverse, but ironically I personally find it has become samey and mediocre with many bands sounding much the same. Production values have become expert and far more professional, but the creative content seems to be just a bit player in the production.
It begs the age old questions of what is an artist and what is art? – no, I’m not going there in this article other than to say “Art is what Artists‘ do”
When the production skills needed to create art have become so much smoother, more powerful and easier to use; are we producing better art? Have the traditional Arts benefitted and expanded with the digital age? Do we make better sculptures, better painting, drawings, music or literature? Is the contemporary obsession with ‘in your face’ installation art a legitimate reaction to elitist art media or a banal response to modern digital superficiality and mediocrity?
If Andy Warhol was alive today would he simply be known as ‘the clip art king’? Would his social commentary be lost on the youtube twitterist generation or would it hold the same power of after thought it held back in the 60′s? Where are the Andy Warhols of today? Do we even need them, or is art just a digital prisoner in the great walled garden of corporate media interests?
So there are more people able to bring creative ideas to fruition and put them in front of the public eye, but have we just bloated the middle of the road and in doing so suppressed the exceptional? I say this not in judgment, but only in question and observation. Maybe the digital popularism of creative tools have exceeded their worth or maybe they mark the point at which creativity and the creative spark have truly evolved to become inclusive rather than for the exclusive use of the creative elite. But are there more true creative ‘geniuses’ than before or less?