Thursday, April 8, 2010

You are not a Gadget - Jaron Lanier

The Internet and Creativity

Lanier comments that the internet is destroying creativity because it does not ackowledge individual creativity. He discussed the theory that all books, for example, will be mashed up into one uber-book. This uber-book will become, like the Bible, the only official book allowed (or at least on the web). At the same time, the individuals whose creativity is mashed up will be unable to support themselves by their creative endeavors.

I disagree with this statement bacause the internet has actually started the careers of some creative people. The woman whose blog became the book and movie Julie & Julia started as a blog writer before she was signed by a traditional book publisher. Without the blog, the author would have spent her life as a miserable woman in LIC with an inexplicable Julia Child obsession. The creators of the blogs Orangette and Chocolate & Zucchini both began as bloggers before they signed books deals. While Lanier doubts that people will be able to support themselves by blogging, historically very few artists were able to support themselves by their heart.

Will the internet destroy personal creativity?
Will mashups replace individual creativity?


Oscar W. said...

I don't think the internet will destroy personal creativity but creative people will have to adapt to it. I know that professional photographers, for example, are finding the Web to be a good way to expand the number of people that see their work and provides a mechanism for commenting on it. Amateurs can leverage sites like Flickr as a means to show off their own work as well. I think it will offer people in some fields greater opportunities to develop. The author may have a better argument when it comes to the consumption of printed material. People's reading habits are continuing to change. One wonders if the Kindle and the iPad will generate sufficient enthusiasm in reading books and periodicals again.

Tracey said...

This recent article proves that there is interest, at least in Queens in printed books:

Oddly enough, the author leaves out the fact that Queens does have a public library system. The Sunnyside librarian who travels 40 minutes to a Barnes and Nobles with her child could travel 15 minutes to the Flushing branch, which has a large, well-stocked children's room and is open late on weekends. It is heartening that people still want to pay money to read printed material.

Oscar W. said...

Good article. Queens has faced shortages of different kinds of stores for decades. One hopes that a bookstore will make it's way to one or another of the malls that have been built there.

Laura said...

I don't think that personal acknowledgement is a without-which-not for creativity. For example, we talked here on this blog about why some people like to post on the internet anonymously. In some cases, not being accountable could allow people to be more creative. Or, look at Medieval art. Lots of creativity, no acknowledgement. People can have lots of motives for being creative; fame is only one.

Oscar W. said...

I agree that many artists are comfortable with their work being put out for consumption anonymously. Medieval art is a great example. One sees examples of that today on the streets of New York, where craftspeople have made the world a better place by creating relief sculptures and murals for public consumption. They were compensated for their efforts, and I think that's the root of the dilemma for professional artists in the Internet age.