Monday, March 1, 2010

Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

I was supposed to be snuggled up on the couch with the kiddies watching Citizen Kane, an almost old fashioned entertainment, but I ended up instead at a workshop with Grisha Coleman, a dancer,(former Urban Bush Woman) vocalist who works at a thing called the Arts Media and Engineering Department at Arizona State University. And this is where someone like me, for whom there are usually categories for artwork,(I am going to the opera, I buy tickets for the ballet) finds her little mind sort of blown. Ms. Coleman is using technology and varieties of media, to create installation works that combine all sorts of disciplines into events. As I am sitting there, listening to her attempt to describe with simple English, her complex, multi-layered works of art, my mind is telescoping possibilities, and at the same time seeing pitfalls.

It concerns me in this wild west phase of new technology that we have yet to find vibrant functional support structures for the idea people. It has become difficult for artists to get sustained paid gigs. I know that truly creative folks always find a way, but we need as much creativity as we can get to solve some of our intractable human issues, and we aren't putting our money where our mouth is on that one. Every day I get emails from creative organizations who are laying off more staff. New technology is not cheap. And it takes time to develop, and sometimes it takes a very long time, a big investment, before there are returns. As we spiral out to the new frontiers of media, we need to support the visionaries who are creating it.

And hey, the Oscars are almost here!

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