The shape of things to come


Free culture incubator info board at Festival for Art, Music and Digital Culture in Berlin, Germany. February 2010. Photo by David Domingo and used under Creative Commons license.

As digital technologies change the way we interact with the world and with each other, what is the effect on our culture? In a world where everyone can be an artist, what makes art? A new documentary, Press Pause Play, promises to explore these questions.

“The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent of people in an unprecedented way, unleashing unlimited creative opportunites. But does democratized culture mean better art, film, music and literature or is true talent instead flooded and drowned in the vast digital ocean of mass culture? Is it cultural democracy or mediocrity?”
~ Press Pause Play

I’m certainly interested in seeing what this documentary has to say. These questions of how technology shapes a society are not easy to answer. Sometimes the answer seems to depend on who you ask. It can also turn in to the classic “chicken-and-the-egg” question: Does technology shape us or do we shape technology? I tend not to subscribe to “magic bullet” theories — the idea that media affect us whether we want them to or not. However, I do think media technologies can start to shape behaviors as they become part of a cultural fabric. For example, the rise of the printing press and the written word also resulted in the change from an aural/oral society to a visual society. It changed the way we stored, remembered and used information. So it’s not unreasonable to think Web 2.0 and other digital technologies could have a similar effect.

Here’s the trailer for the documentary. Enjoy!


One thought on “The shape of things to come

  1. we can assume the laws of supply and demand will still apply? With more “art” available from more sources, it should be cheaper to come by–yes? Still, some will be better than others, it just stands to reason, and perhaps those things will still command a greater price. No one is vying to buy a piece of “mediocre” art, right? Not when one can make it oneself. Perhaps talent and training will still pay off after all.

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