First written and published for Congregation.ie a few years ago, this is interesting to read back and re-examine in the context of the current NFT Digital Art goldrush. It seems at least possible now that we have, to some extent at least, resolved the question of preserving and curating digital art. And indeed perhaps with the rising tide of wellness and mindfulness, is the world finally waking up to the need for rest?
Is Technology Killing Creativity?
I should have written this weeks ago but that’s the whole point of this post. I am so busy responding and reacting, I’ve no time for reflecting much less creating and writing. Flicking through Facebook last night I was struck by an article on fast fashion and how its killing couture. It got me thinking. Is technology killing creativity?
Fast fashion is killing greatdesign. Major design houses are in decline. Burnt out couturiersthat used to turn out two collections a year are now being forced to turn out six. Meanwhile, the fast fashion following retailers are turning out 52! That’s one per week. The upshot is that the thought leaders, the iconic designers from Dior and Givenchy have no creative downtime, no space for reflection and innovation and as a result fashion is stagnating. We’ve been in an endless cycle of recycling since the early 90’s. The major runway shows are where the fast-fashion followers seek their inspiration but who will they follow now and are they worth following at all? By their own admission designers can no longer work to the high standards and design ideals of the once revered brands they represent. In an effort to satisfy the needs of a faddish consumer they indulge ‘designer limitations’ #BalmainforH&M.
So what has this to do withtechnology and its impact on creativity. First of all, it is technologythat is powering fast-fashion and it is fast-fashion micro-trends and micro-prices that devalue the great designers and quality standards. Secondly, it is technology that is shaping a generation who live their lives on ‘free services’, consuming ‘free content’ and where almost anything can be acquired ‘as a service’, the result is little appreciation for investing in anything for keeps. Thirdly, technology is constantly beeping, pinging, ringing, poking and alerting a generation that CANNOT rest.
So again on facebook in recentdays, I saw a post on the behaviours and needs of creative people. Creative people need to daydream. It’s hard to daydream when constantly interrupted by a ping or ring. Creative people work to a flow of time that works for them. With pervasive technology, we are now ‘on’ almost all of the time. How can I find time to ebb when I am expected to constantly flow? Creative people use intuition over logic. In a data driven world of analytics, there’s little value placed on intuition and no matter how hard working the daydream believer, they will rarely cut it with the VC patrons of their arts.
I was at Web Summit last week,the open submission gallery for start-ups. Wandering the endless aislesof alphas, everything seemed tagged as a recycled version of an existing design– the ‘Uber for laundry’ or the ‘Tinder for dogs’. Beta boys showcase their brilliance on these start-up runways. Less of a runway for take-off, it is the slow sashay designer runway that leads to a modelesque heel pivot where they back track from whence they came to remerge in a slightly different version of essentially the same design moments later.
To master the pivot is to fail without falling – and to fall would be the end of any burgeoning runway career! These ‘creatives’ are racing toget easily replicable, disposable apps trending for a few seasons but then theyare gone. Few survive and those small number that do will inevitably be caught, like their fashion designing peers in a constant race against time to keep the attention and favours of a faddish marketplace with shortened attention spans and a distorted sense of price and value. The only winners seem to be the ones who build the platforms and the runways. The designers whose work they showcase are of fleeting interest and so I wonder if technology is not killing creativity but rather the value we put on it.
1. Creativity is a process, onethat is facilitated and nurtured by time and space. In an always-on world, if we value ourcreativity we must prioritise giving ourselves the space to be creative.
2. The genius of technology is inpart its ability to decipher complex and voluminous data for decisionmaking. The genius of the creative humanspirit is the ability to intuitively ‘feel’ for what is right. We should not lose sight of or value forthis genius. Lies, damned lies andstatistics!
3. In a faddish micro-trendingworld we need to think about our physical legacy for future generations. We are wearing disposable clothing and usingtransient trending apps. Will the museumof our generation’s great designers, artists and creatives be thedelete/trashcan icon on our screens and landfill sites of fast fashion?
4. Where everything is reallycheap or completely free, we need to value creativity in a new way.