A Twitter rant/essay celebrating amateur instincts.
He concludes that “we might—just might—be on the verge of a glorious new age of the artist.”
You may remember Keen from Cult of the Amateur, a book that largely asks you to appreciate his taste in culture.
Clearly this continues to frame his reportage. Somehow, the internet didn’t make this “the age of the artist.”
Providing ubiquitous and cheap tools to make, share, and consume media wasn’t THE factor.
(Then everybody gets to participate. And why would we want that?)
No, what will give rise to the “glorious age” are outfits that can market and monetize artists.
People, like Keen, who can separate the wheat from the chaff. Tastemakers who can explain the virtues of “good” to us.
Note to Keen: In art (and all endeavors, including the technology you use), the “glorious age” is when anyone can participate.
It IS the amateur ethic—the lack of experience, the awkward groping to create—that produces something fresh.
Any painting, song, or film you’ve appreciated started with an “amateur.” Pollock was an amateur. So was Yorke. Soderbergh too.
The very culture you disdain is the very culture that created this glorious age.
That artists can get support from middlemen like Polyphonic is helpful. Artists shouldn’t starve.
But middlemen reframe things—eerily like reporters—and over time exert their own tastes on what they support.
This is what led us to the “inglorious age” that the internet thankfully disabled.
So, thanks for all the fish. But we’ve got our own boats now. We’ll take it from here.
We occasionally use Twitter for rants or essays: