THE VALUE OF NOT MAKING A SALE
An unfortunate side effect of cities like New York and London being internationally important to culture, innovation and the arts is that they also have more world class twats per square mile than anywhere else on Earth. Google Glass users have already become proverbially obnoxious Glassholes (and people are already taking steps to jam their nonsense, albeit only so far in a conceptual, provocative way), but really the specific New York Glasshole in question is just a stepping off point for a splendid and articulate rant by Omer Shapira, titled Nobody Goes to Art School to Make Money, so Fuck Off. Obviously an
artist creative technologist person after my own heart.
Although, as it happens, I agree with Shapira on Google Glass and its ilk as well. When you’re interacting with a real human being to their face, your phone or camera or whatever should not be anywhere near your face. Turn that shit off for five minutes. It’s not Luddite or infringing upon your rights when someone finds it objectionable or creepy that you take their picture or record them without permission, especially if they didn’t initially know you’re doing it. Your manners and consideration for the rights of others are deficient, not theirs.
I recommend that you read the whole thing, but here’s a great quote so you have some idea of why you should, especially if you’re one of those people (or worse, one of those artists) who thinks that an artist being able to make a sale should always be the first or only measure of their importance or their right to practice:
“Like with any art school, people spend their NYU tuition, approximately equivalent to a small neighbourhood in Detroit, to be criticised and called out for bullshit for a few years. They spend time researching and prototyping for the sole purpose of presenting good artwork, not products with rounded edges. We put things in a gallery show precisely because those things might never belong in Best Buy. In some utopian (or extremely dystopian) cases, some of that stuff makes it to the wild, but that’s not the point in making design fictions. We try to communicate. We don’t try to idiot-proof, we don’t try to scale.”
(Note: the “fictions” he’s referring to are the projects developed by students on his course, so called because the pragmatic utility of these projects is not necessarily important, and in some cases never likely to be important. They’re expressing an idea, not answering a need.)
Shapira covers what I’m about to say, too, but it bears repeating: contrary to what some people on both sides like to imagine is a gulf between commerce and art, very often the biggest commercial or popular successes are the result of somebody– or a bunch of people– having lots of time, space and/or money to do stuff that everyone else thought was pointless and unpopular at the time. The same can be said for a good proportion of the best scientific research. Creativity can sometimes be monetised, but the best way to kill creativity is to cram it into a commercial workflow pipeline, head first. Creative people could and would carry on without capitalism, but capitalism couldn’t continue without creative people to feed on.
Nobody Goes to Art School to Make Money, so Fuck Off