Friday, November 10, 2017

Unvaluing cultural production.

Read this in an article by Alex Petridis;
"Nevertheless, there are certainly areas that cloak themselves in a kind of wilful obscurity. As Marcus Mustafa – owner of London’s solitary specialist heavy metal record shop Crypt of the Wizard – puts it: “Bands want to maintain themselves as small. They’re like, ‘Don’t listen to this record, don’t talk about us.’”
He and Crypt of the Wizard’s manager Charlie Wooley reel off examples – the legendary French black metal bands of the L├ęgions Noires collective, who refused to release any albums or play live, preferring to circulate demos in tiny numbers among their friends, which eventually leaked on to the internet; labels such as California’s Rhinocervus, which released albums and EPs without titles, artist names or track listings; festivals that decline to inform fans who’s actually playing, “so it’s like, ‘Are you strong enough to come anyway?’”
It’s an extreme ethos partly founded in a rejection of commerciality. “I think it’s a bit like if you can’t make money doing something,” says Charlie"
Thinking about this, it connects with a couple of other things;
1. Is this a manifestation of the Long Tail economic model of cultural production? Eg, It's simply a result of the fact that there is so much more product, and that means everything  becomes "devalued' or "unvalued" or "revalued". I seem to constantly come across articles/interviews where various artists/writers/whatever are bemoaning the fact that it's impossible to make a living from their art anymore. The root cause of this isn't just the increased platform for 'content', it's the the massive proliferation of content, (Two slightly different things) which has resulted in commercial value plummeting. This partly because value in the art world was always maintained by means of a scam. A coterie of artistic aristocracy (critics, gallery owners, etc) who could maintain an illusion of unquestionable, non-subjective value. A canon.
2. Is this one version of the future? In a world where, we are told, technology will make work unnecessary and where citizens will need to be given a universal wage to keep us functioning as consumers in a capitalist society? Will we all become producers of capital product? All making our death metal albums, paintings, poems, etc? 
3.Will we return to a model of production/consumption more resembling the early modernists? Short print runs for friends ?

4.I'm excited and anxious about all this. It's like Beuy's model of art-for-all. Only brought about by malign market forces rather than social political momentum.

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