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?
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.