We the Consumers

May 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

I seem to keep stumbling across articles on our attitude as consumers and creators of art and thought I’d share a few.

1. I like Alyssa Rosenburg’s tongue-in-cheek comment about our incomprehension that Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) hasn’t written anything else or even tried to. It challenges our perception of artists, whom we see as toiling away until their ‘breakthrough’ to fame or discovery and then continuing to pump out their creative wares. But artists, like any other person, have their ups and downs, their cycles of productivity, their limits to what they want (and have) to say. The artist who knows when he or she has finished and steps back should be applauded, not lamented.

2. Sufjan Stevens’ latest album The Age of Adz has gotten quite a bit of flak for the electronic deviation from his folk sound, but every time I hear about the life experience and creative process that led to it, I like the album more. It’s the story of a burned out musician relearning the basics of sound, meaning, and self, and I appreciate the honesty of that journey. (Thanks for sharing this, Laura! It’s a lovely piece of nonfiction as well.)

3. Our relationship to art–new or old–changes as we change. Martin Anderson writes how viewing the same movie twice isn’t a static experience. Our response to movies we revisit is different coming from a different time in life. On another note, Steven Hyden and Noel Murray tackle why aging music consumers tend to be resistant to the latest music scene–the sense of what’s good, innovative, and how we consume music versus other media all up for debate.

The White Stripes disbanded early this year.

4. Matt Satterfield lists the The White Stripes as one of the 10 most important artists of the last decade for pursuing and then becoming a part of timeless Americana (another two artists who, like Harper Lee, had their say, played their music, and quietly moved on).

5. This Japanese cafe completely messes with our expectations of restaurants and the way we engage with food. I’d love to see this tried in the U.S., though I wonder if, after the novelty wears off, we’re generous enough to enjoy it longterm.

6. And finally, graphic artist James Sturm experimented cutting off his internet access for several weeks while he worked offline and undistracted, forcing readers who wished to comment to join him in his experience by sending handwritten letters. Here he illustrates some of those letters and their own responses to productivity and the internet.

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§ 2 Responses to We the Consumers

  • Thanks for the nice write-up. I checked out the rest of your blog – very cool stuff. I look forward to reading more. I’m glad you gave The Age of Adz some love…its different than “Michigan” and “Illinois”, but it’s the sound of an artist taking a chance and pushing himself.

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