Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sounds familiar.

"The organizers of the downtown party network also looked on in dismay at the disfigurement of a culture they had once claimed as their own ... they were effectively powerless to intervene, lacking the infinite finances and the critical mass that would have been required to shape these new venues in their own image. Not that a massive amount of money and a captive audience of millions would have made much difference given that their organizing principles ... meant that they would always spread more slowly than their less discerning competitors. Then there was the obscure yet persistent problem of political isolation ... New York's most radical and visionary party people were operating in an ideological vaccuum, thanks to the fact that politicians and union leaders were not exactly open to the field of progressive pleasure ... 'That ... moneymaking attitude contributed to the demise of disco.' "

-Tim Lawrence, Love Saves The Day

"I knew that if it became more commercial this positive statement that I was trying to make would be harder to maintain. I didn't decide to stay in because it was awful outside but because I knew what I wanted to do. Change comes from within."

-David Mancuso, Love Saves The Day


So as you might guess I have been reading from this book a lot lately. And I can't help but notice how many parallels can be drawn between what happened then and what is happening now. Some of it is reassuring, but some of it, particularly the above quote, leaves me feeling dismal about the whole process that occurs whenever art join hands with business. Is every major art form doomed to experience a beautiful golden age before it spreads too quickly across a massive population, facilitated by those who are eager to market it, serve "consumers" with what is "next", and in turn make more money than they need? The source of the problem seems to be to be fundamental. When entering into a business venture, we expect and do anything we can to achieve profit, and steady growth. Unfortunately the world does not work like that, so we are left with a mass of distortion. This phenomenon will clearly continue to accelerate, due to the internet and the progression of global communication and connectivity.

There is a clear distinction that must be made between two angles. First, the natural dissemination and progression of a manifestation of culture, one who shares something beautiful with others for its own sake. On the other hand, a speedy expansion and over-saturation of something "next" that is viewed as a means to provide a "product" to a faceless consumer, and in the end, profit. The difference is between making enough, and more than you need. Unfortunately, this is the reality that we live in, and apparently these are two poles in the same spectrum. I suppose the difference comes down to each and every individual. Do you have dollar signs in your eyes? If not, then what is the alternative? Hearts? Gifts? Love? Maybe there isn't a symbol for it...

I realize that dissemination and variation is a natural and ever-present phenomenon. But it's undeniable that it is only us humans who attempt to put a price tag on its results, exploiting them, in turn stretching and reshaping them, in vain expectation of a constantly increasing payoff.

Is my entire reason for writing this, my dismay for the loss of true quality in the midst of marketable or "good enough" quality, an inevitable result of a capitalism? I'm afraid so.

1 comment:

  1. fuckingaye! wicked good quote there.