23 August 2011

Creation vs. Curation

From an op-ep via The Daily titled "Rejecting the re-mix", relayed by Simon Reynolds, Trevor Butterworth offers:

"Whether you agree with Lee and Reynolds or not, these are nothing if not stimulating ideas, and if you are of a particular vintage, it is hard not to find them compelling. To be over 35 is to be a child of a certain kind of revolution, a product of fixed forms and styles. No amount of criticism pointing out how cultural decay was with us in this past is going to stop us from feeling that. Actually, now the decay is qualitatively different – that we have reached the end of cultural history because culture is no longer about creation, it’s just about recreation and repurposing the immediate past.

It is not surprising that the speed of recent history — economic and technological — should leave us feeling uneasy at the disappearance of so many fixed forms even as we enjoy the quantitative pleasures of accessing anything we can think of, anywhere, and at any time. It’s only when we are reminded that a mortgage should be a mortgage and not a traded security that we can think about the importance of book being a book and nothing else."

The piece touches on a number of topics, and frankly I don't know where to begin in terms of addressing them. Yes, there are the issues and debate concerning digital culture and the way it seems to have imposed certain limitations on creativity. And then then there's the matter of "fixed forms" which begs a number of larger theoretical aesthetic concerns (christ, he would have to drag Walter Pater into this, wouldn't he?) that make me wish I hadn't gotten rid of my copy George Kubler's The Shape of Time some years ago.

Worth a read. Incidently, the Stewert (not "Stephen") Lee piece Butterworth mentions can be found here, and the Gabler column in question can be read here.

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