A Cloudy Forecast For Performing Arts

June 27, 2017

 

 

I have recently come across this TED talk and while I agree with many points made in it, the questions on my mind are more about what implications this seismic shift has for professional arts education. With the destruction of traditional revenue streams such as recording sales and subscriptions, with rise of technology as the biggest competition to the live performing arts, with democratization of means of production in art through technology what incentive is there for someone to pursue performing arts degree? 

 

If the audience for the performing art will primarily be motivated by either personal relationship to artist, or by supporting a common environmental/political cause amplified by art, what business model can provide a revenue stream to someone interested in simply devoting their waking hours to pursuit of excellence in art for its own sake? 

 

Does this mean that only eloquent, business-savvy, extroverted activists among artists will have an audience and possibility of getting paid for their work?

 

I am afraid that these questions are more rhetorical, and we are indeed headed into a future where the incentives in performing arts will be to create constantly new, politically relevant work, amplifying causes rather than reflecting on our experience, capturing a moment of online notoriety as vast in its reach as it is brief in its life span. The magical intersection where decades of honing craft meet wisdom of honestly lived life to produce a moment of highly concentrated truth which illuminates and resonates deeply will become even more elusive. 

 

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