I have a gripe that started perhaps in the late 90s but certainly in the (frankly awfully named) noughties: creative thought has died a horrible death. We live in a stagnant nostalgia culture which praises the out-dated and defunct.
It sounds harsh, but I sincerely believe that it is true. I challenge you, dear reader, to name one item in the arts world of the last decade which was the fruit of a truly original and creative idea. I’ve tried, but I keep coming back to the point at which artistic ideas come from rehashed remembrances of another era’s creativity.
The art world has never really recovered from the post-modernism movement. Music hasn’t produced anything fresh since early 90′s hip-hop. All the films being made at the moment are sequels or 80′s remakes.
Technology is often pointed to as something which defines us in the 2010′s (no one seems to have come up with a snappy shortening for this decade yet), but our technical prowess is only just starting to catch up with the imaginations of authors from the 60s 70s and 80s. Our latest toy, the iPad, has a long legacy stretching back at least 23 years to Star Trek the Next Generation (if you will forgive the geeky reference), which provided almost every member of its crew with a PADD. It is not yet quite that ubiquitous in our society, although this kind of device will inevitably play a bigger part in people’s lives.
The last decade of fashion and clothing, following an almost identical pattern to music fashions, started in the 60′s and has shifted, decade to decade, to the 80′s now. Bad hairstyles and big white shoes are almost everywhere. 30 years of culture rehashed in 10. Next up will be the 90′s, which is bad enough (parachute pants and heat reactive t-shirts anyone?). Will “noughties-60′s retro” be the new fashion? Such meta-referencing plays well to post-modernism, but isn’t that a bit old hat now?
Do we now live in a pastiche culture? Where are our creative geniuses? Have they all been wasted regurgitating past glory days? Looking to the past is an important part of understanding who we are and where we came from, but that’s not where new ideas come from.
Working in the creative industries, the decline of creativity is something that concerns me greatly. We have to innovate to progress. We need people in the creative, artistic and technology industries to step-up to the mark and drive things forwards, we can’t sit around and wait for other people to do it for us. I’m willing to help drive change, but I can’t do it alone – are you willing to really change the future?