Trade Groups, Arts, Marketing
"The MP3 format and the trading of music
A while ago, Mr. Nicolae Manolescu complained of the absence of the SF art in a previous program on TV. He was not deploring the lack of the writing art. At this moment, we could agree and disagree on several points.
There is certainly tons of waste paper (but isn't bad prose issued elsewhere too?) as great novels, well written and structured, have also a presence. That was not the point of the debate but the future of the SF that - according to him - is doomed to be artless, incarcerated within the shining metallic walls and the luminous screens. It would be too easy to show that this statement proves only the lack of reading in this sub-field, if we were only to refer to the solarian sculptress of old Asimov.
But it would be more interesting to see what happens with this future that is knocking so hurried at our doors. The syncretism of languages has been the primary obsession of the SF art as musical or advertising video clips have shown by even before the appearance of the Internet. One can see here how arts combine and multiply each other and how we, as consumers, often cannot separate image from music, film from photograph, design or sound, as the esthetical impression is not determined by one of these channels but by their assemble that fascinates us.
And if art was available to everybody in the scarcely inhabited world of the same Asimov, art becomes again an attribute of a certain class into the denser and implicitly more stratified world of our century. Speaking in these terms, the Internet has a powerful status in its simplest form of mere transportation of values. I don't refer here to the visiting of Louvre on -line, which is a debatable question if we think to the sense of proportions but to on-line radio stations, for example, that can give us access to live concerts and symphonic concerts also :) or to the numberless photo exhibitions on the net, available to anybody.
It's also the Internet that becomes more and more responsible with the progressive breaking out of marketing pressures of this art. Smaller and smaller music folders are used by artists -especially by musicians- not only once to "feint" the great house records. The tycoons of art distribution give thus to the public a music -be it good or bad- that can't be found anywhere else.
Of course, the artist wouldn't find it convenient to "offer" his work infinitely, he must pay the rent somehow but if we partially pay for the art that we all consume irrespective of our cultural level, it would suddenly become more precious for him and cheaper for us. Otherwise we could think that the artist would be much more willing to offer his product to the classic consumers between the ages of ten and thirty than to sell it for almost nothing to the multimillionaire producers who pay tiny copyright.
Within the endlessness of the web, the artist looks inevitably much smaller. And you know what I'm talking about. We like a tune and we do not remember the author but we don't strain our memory, as the pleasure of hearing is enough. Successful creation must be repeated to make us remember the name of the artist. The competition becomes then different then now, when the latest hit of X is still ringing in our ears, as it was played and promoted to us twenty times that day on our car radio.
In addition, competition wouldn't have isolation as a consequence, as a well kept site can't be composed by only one individual. Even if we don't consider the collaboration between artists in front of this huge medium, which is the Web, competition begins to recover its natural attribute, which is quality. Consequently, the group, or art school may come back to its initial structure and it's predictible, especially for musicians, that solitude is closing its end.
We could demonstrate to the extreme that the presence of the Web, more and more important in our present life, leads to certain characteristics of art: language syncretism, pseudo-anonymity, intimacy with the public, as well as a certain regeneration of the trade group unity of the artists. All these happen under the circumstances of a gradual separation -not necessarily total- by the great cultural marketing capital.
A kind of folklore aged by an elitist sophistication experience is reborn and it seduces us more and more. In addition, it reflects and determines alike a social transformation that so many extremes adept philosophers saw as possible only through fear, force and crime. Therefore the most we could reproach to the anticipation writers is that they haven't glimpsed the proportions and especially the serenity of the artistic phenomenon of the future which we already feel. .