Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 7, Art.

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You’ll find the introduction to this series here.

This post looks at ‘Art’.

What art is can’t be defined adequately in a post of this type, and that isn’t the purpose of this piece anyway. Let’s, for the sake of this small post, decide that art is anything anyone has created for the purpose of self-expression, and leave it at that so we can get on with how the subject may, or may not, be of significance in a story set at some time in the future.

The trend in art at present is generally toward liberalisation, inclusivity, freedom of expression, and rejection of imposed rules. Is that trend likely to continue, increase, become just another movement in the long history of the topic, or might it be overtaken by a sudden reversion to the ideas behind classicism, romanticism, cubism, or any of the other many fashions that have existed through time?

How do we value art? That is, how do we place a value on any given piece, regardless of origin and method of production? We are all aware of huge sums of money exchanged for certain artworks, often in the £millions, and rarely paid to the creator. Investment is a significant aspect of art ownership today. The value of a work having little to do with its appeal as something to look at and admire but more concerned with its quality of uniqueness, which is seen to increase its value as a commodity. But will such considerations remain in a world where reproduction techniques will inevitably render the ‘provenance’ of any given piece increasingly difficult to ascertain? Think in terms of the development not only of print quality but also of the now growing use of 3D printers. Will such devices one day be capable of producing exact copies of Michelangelo’s David, the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, in such exquisite detail they become indistinguishable from the original? And what effect might such ‘progress’ have on the current insanity and exclusivity of the art market? Will changes in the financial system itself remove the ability of billionaires to capture perceived gems for entirely personal gain?

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Will subject matter become a matter not so much of taste, as one of the ability to shock, stir, surprise? Will computer use and the application of AI render current craft and skills of little value?

These are all considerations for an author writing fiction set in the future should you dare delve into the topic in your story. What other questions come to your mind in pursuing this aspect of our future? Feel free to place them in the comments below.

Part 1, Introduction and Accommodation. Part 2, Activism. Part 3, Advertising. Part 4, Agriculture. Part 5, Artificial Intelligence. Part 6, Animals, as Pets.

Research examples:

Art UK
Thought Co
Figurative Artist

10 thoughts on “Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 7, Art.

  1. As the saying goes, “A picture speaks a thousand words,” I’ve always tried to set the mood in my storytelling by having an original artwork at the beginning of each chapter of my books.

    But, you are right. It’s very easy to copy it now without proper accreditation (let alone financial benefits to the artist.)

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    1. Yes, Asit. The problem is that many people, especially those who don’t actually create anything, seem to believe all of us who make things are automatically well off in financial terms, so they feel no guilt at stealing what we produce. A totally false impression, of course, but one I’ve come across a lot since the internet was first created.


      1. I’ve found that many folks have an idea of what they want to convey, but they are not artists. And they don’t have the budget. Hence, they ‘borrow’ artwork.

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        1. Yes, in a sense it’s a sort of compliment, Asit. They find your work expresses an idea for them. But the least they can do in those circumstances is credit the artist who created it.

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  2. I don’t think that artists will stop utilising traditional methods, but there may be many additional methodologies in the future. I’m reminded of Banksy’s Girl with the Balloon stunt, though. Art as deconstructionism. Maybe the future is about how art (and its buyers) are symbolised, rather than the actual art pieces themselves. I like what he did – blowing a huge raspberry at the art buyers. As you pointed out, artists often don’t profit much.

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    1. I agree, Lynette. Tradition methods of self-expression have survived the many modern methods that have tried to oust them. Even the older styles of presentation have proved themselves able to stand up to the competition. As you say, many new methods will come into being and some will undoubtedly allow the creation of startling pieces, while others will merely add to the detritus that sometimes claims the status of ‘art’.
      Banksy’s stunt was fascinating but eventually self-defeating as an act of protest against the greed of collectors as investors, since it increased the value of the piece. So often in the art world, it seems idiots with more money than taste create an utterly false sense of what is valuable when they reduce everything of worth to the measure of the sacred dollar! That’s something I’d love to see change, but I won’t be holding my breath.

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      1. Yes, it was self-defeating. I think that the partially shredded drawing sold anyway under a different name. The dollar – yes. It all comes down to the insatiable hunger for money, stuff, and status.

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        1. I’ve long wondered, Lynette, if money is addictive to certain personality types, like heroin and other drugs. It would explain why the very wealthy cling to their cash but rarely actually do anything with it.

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          1. They always feel that they’re GOING to need it … My first husband was from a wealthy family, and I saw his and his friends’ families cling, as you say (a very apt description), to their money. They are obsessed with keeping it, not losing it, and overall, being just … weird about it, like it’s a living thing.

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