The farce of the “new” creative industries

Peter’s article, and our seminar discussion has brought to light the overall issue that surrounds the term “new media”, as well as society’s overall approach towards it. We are guilty of mystifying new technologies, while at the same time denouncing their historic implications. In our class activity, my group was given electricity as media to analyze, and through our discussion we came to the conclusion that electricity is no longer seen for its complex structure, and history. It has become naturalized to disconnect new media from electricity, even though electricity still plays such a vital role in technological production.

As Carolyn Marvin writes:
In a historical sense, the computer is no more than an instantaneous telegraph
with a prodigious memory … all the communications inventions since have
simply been elaborations on the telegraph’s original work. (1988: 3)

 

In a similar sense, I believe this farce of “new media”, can be applied to my area of interest surrounding the creative industries. The creative industries are often viewed as a hot “new” job market, as economists like Richard Florida, support the development of the creative class, and creative production. This concept of the “creative” is relatively recent, and is credited with the ability to bring together creative individuals who are able to work together towards overall successful cultural production. From an outsider’s perspective, creative industries are very mystified, and at the same time deeply desired. Similar to a 3D printer, no one can really tell you why the creative industries are so coveted, or how the operate, yet more and more individuals are navigating their career in this direction. The reality however is that the creative industries function as a rebranding of the cultural industries, into the realm of economic production. As scholar Lilly Kong points to, this evolution has changed society’s understanding of cultural production, but it has a deep rooted history.

In this week’s reading, Peters points to John Peters’ discussion of the novelty of new media. Here J. Peters discusses the reality that often, “new media” stem from the repurposing of old media within social conventions. Although not a media but an institution, the creative industries have become trivial through the new discourse that has surrounded them. The culture that once fuelled the creative ideology has become muddied and lost, replaced with false promises of undefined “success” fuelled by capitalism.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Parallel to what we saw in the Kreiss, Finn & Turner reading, perhaps the strengths that underpin the creative industries can be used in conjunction with capitalist/bureaucratic systems, rather than seen as separate from them. I do agree that capitalistic notions of success have been heavily integrated within the creative industries, and have maybe even altered the ‘end goal’ of some creatives. This said, the infrastructure and networks that have been established by capitalistic forms can be accessed and used by the creative industry to increase their capacity for influence. Although through the usage of these capitalistic networks, the creativity may be muddied, they may not necessarily be lost. Although likely a tad idealistic, these established networks can be used against the capitalistic goals they are grounded upon, by the creative industries to perpetuate their alternative goals and ideas.

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    1. Of course there is a constant interplay between the “pros” and “cons” of capitalistic integration. It is a fair and necessary argument to consider the impact that capitalism has had in terms of strengthening the creative industries’ overall economy. Creative jobs are extremely coveted, and because of that, industries are thriving. That being said however, it is important to consider authenticity and experience. The shift that I have mention, from cultural to creative, marks the inherent negativity of capitalism, as it changes the purpose, from cultural work, to productive work. The creative industries represent the cultural interests of our country, yet capitalistic intervention has muddied those interests in a very important way. I don’t know if it is possible to talk about this issue in an unbiased way, but economic strength only represents a fraction of what is at stake. Do we really want our cultural production to be fuelled by profit as opposed to authenticity? At what point does culture as a commodity stop being culture all together? I see your argument but I think these are two important points to consider.

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  2. Contrary to Ran, I think it’s interesting to consider how capitalism has suppressed many forms of creative expression. Although technologies used to create music and digital art may appear to be increasingly accessible, they are accompanied by increased copyright laws and regulations which actually reduces accessibility and likely intimidates individuals who might otherwise be more interested in appropriating in order to create new art. I also think that, while interest in creative industries may have increased, the actual pursuing of creative goals is discouraged due to the lack of financial reward. Under capitalism, where money is required for survival, careers in creative industries are not often seen as sustainable, which we see with the trope of the “starving artist”.

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    1. I think your raise some important points here! accessibility comes in different forms, and often accessibility for some, means inaccessibility for others. I myself struggle with defining true art, and in an age of such widespread production, there is a very thin line between inclusion, and ordinary. It seems unfair to limit creative production to only those deemed “artists”, yet if everyone can produce, it becomes somehow mundane. I also struggle with my own opinions on copy right and intellectual property. In an age of such technological advancements, at what point are we really producing truly original thought? could we not make a case for remix culture and inclusion while at the same time combating capitalistic regulation?

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    2. I think it is interesting to consider the effects of capitalism on creative expression.. I was only mentioning that there are some positive integrations between capitalistic networks and creative networks. I believe that doesn’t counter any of the critiques we are making!

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