The other day I came across a couple of videos that made me think about the major differences in some industries which make them have two sides: one that makes you sick to the stomach, and one that seems too good to even be part in this industry.
The thing is, they are presented like the creative industries but their main income comes from their most uncreative products. I am talking about advertising, journalism, music, fashion and the art market.
① Regarding advertising, from when I used to work at an advertising agency I got the habit of watching the Cannes award-winning ads. It is not the first time that I have seen a creative commercial. It doesn’t need to be awarded by an institution in order to be perceived as creative. Most of them can be found on youtube under “banned” category.
Although I appreciate this kind of advertising materials very much, I also watch them not very often, Cannes once is a year is my only search. The reason for this is that I understood a long time ago that in developing countries creative ads will never make it on TV, and I didn’t want to make bad blood by comparing these two types and remember that the norm is the boring one.
Yesterday I saw the “Show it to only one person” add from Skittles, with David Schwimmer, which was a pleasure to see, even if it was only the presentation of the whole case, not the actual commercials (which you can find on youtube). I saw the “It’s another Tide add” series, which really made laugh. And also, the longest one and maybe the best one from an artistic point of view, the one for Ele face cream – it lasts 6 minutes but it’s better than some TV shows and even some movies.
What I thought about when watching these was that the whole lifestyle of the lower class working man – wake up at 7, ride the crowded subway, work for the whole day, ride the subway again, eat, have sex, sleep and repeat – may be worth it for the guys that woke up to go work on a project like that.
Meanwhile, there is the rest of the advertising industry which go to brainstorming sessions only to end up doing some uninteresting video with a guy talking about how great the product is, the one when you mute the TV or go make popcorn.
② The paradigm hovers over journalism as well. There is the scandal journalism which a consumer has gotten so used to, that he may think that is all there is to this work. Then there comes along someone like Vice or, for my country, Recorder, and shows us what it really means to be a journalist, an unraveler of the unknown sides of the society you live in.
Interviews, case studies, recording footage from key moments in any kind of scene. I wonder how can people that make the first kind of journalism even wake up and go to work when they know someone like Vice exists and what they show the world is truly amazing?
③ The next sector is fashion. This started from a clip I saw on facebook with a catwalk presenting very strange women costumes. The ones sharing it were booing what they saw in the video, claiming the clothes were awful. A girl I know reshared it and in the description, she wrote: “You hate because you have no idea what is the difference between prêt-a-porter and haute couture”.
These people are used to see clothes only as a way of enhancing your self-image, and by enhancing I mean integrating into the normal beauty standards. The same people that judge haute couture, as an aesthetic chaos, are the ones that judge all art as useless junk.
It’s common sense that some haute couture tryout may be a failure or that some overestimated art may be crap, but in order to point those out, you need to know what the whole domain is about and what it aims at.
Haute couture presentations are the peak of fashion melted into art. They are an expression of complex aesthetics that language can’t even comprehend, the same reason why art exists.
Most of us appreciate the sight of a very strange character depicted in a film or animation, it bears mystery and diversity. It is important to know when to do make the shift in perception regarding certain domains in order to access their true nature and appreciate what lies underneath. Haute couture is like the character form of the human need for beauty and complexity.
④ In regards to music, I think most of you have already applied their own frontier of trash and quality. Music is such an important part of a world which can rarely find any escape from the cage of emotions that is the city life.
Music is an instant doorway to another world and it keeps us sane, although most of it might be insane. The difference between day to day consumer’s music and the special, artistic kind has been made a long time ago. All this being said, trash music keeps on being produced and the majority of people keep on listening to it.
This thing that dazzles me I don’t think is a patronizing approach, but more of a curiosity of how is it possible to keep on sustaining trash when the most powerful and new has been presented to you and it promises that it will amaze every time. Isn’t that what all of this industries are about? entertainment of the spirit?
Aren’t they supposed to spark the curiosity and creativity in all of us, even though work may have raped our soul for the most of us? Music must promise and deliver amazement of the emotions. Even the music clips should aim to do that. It is the only domain through which uneducated people with no sensibility or emotional intelligence can reap the benefits of art.
Music is too direct to be processed mentally and be considered invalid if it makes you want to listen to it over and over. Why not enhance this instrument that we don’t yet understand and take it to newer and newer dimensions? Lazy music shouldn’t be permitted in a world where music is the main way of lighting up your spirit.
In close relation to the approach I had on music is the art market – the mainstream artists. When I used to study art in University, I asked the teacher why certain pieces she showed us are even considered art since they don’t spark shit in you. A whole debate started with the other students. I only made my point when she presented another piece of art which was truly amazing. I used that as my example in the argument that art should be a portal for discovering new dimensions of perception. It matters if it’s a shoe, because no matter what intellectual discourse you add to it, it doesn’t help me discover new emotional and aesthetic dimensions of myself.
This is why I think all the truly creative materials from all the industries presented above can be called art if they become instruments of discovering the human spirit. Trash is that which you can justify through intellectual arguments but only because it craves justifying. Art is that which you like, can’t explain, but people who wake up to make it love it and so do the people who stumble upon it. It sparks something in everyone it comes in contact with, and that I think is what every one of us should aim for through everything we produce with our brains and hands! If you love it, other people will too!
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