Inspiration - don't worry, it's about climate change eventually

So I'm reading a book by the economist-blogger Tyler Cowen about government involvement in the arts (it's more than you think!) and he made a really, really good point that has wide implications.

His essential point is that, in the context of art, for-profit (Hollywood, Broadway, best-sellers) and non-profit (experimental theatre and films) companies/movements/institutions aren't worlds apart by any means - there's a lot of flow back and forth. His example: Hollywood often adapts plays generated for non-profit theatre for large movies. It's a good idea that's started changing the way I'm thinking about the theatrical world.

But it goes farther, I think. One of the best transmitters of information in the artistic world is inspiration - partially, I think, because art is often a combination of perspective and the personal. If that sounds stupid-art-critic, then you're forgiven (plebe).

Seriously, though, it's not hard to imagine. Anyone can get inspired by pretty much anything. Or rather, by random things, anyway. It seems straightforward to make the leap from that idea to one where works resulting from non-profits inspire a screenwriter - or vice versa. (After all, the 90's are over - Hollywood makes good movies now. Again.)

So what?

Well, consider my friend Barack's words, paraphrased by yours truly: it's going to be American innovation that will see us through these trying times. And I guess that's sort of true, but the B-man is pretty chill in general, so I'll let it slide.

I think Cowen's point about movement between the different worlds of the arts is important to an understanding of technical innovation. At its core, invention and science are creative - they rely on looking at something in a different way to find something worthwhile.

So is there anything we can do to create a better atmosphere for American innovation? After all, if there's any group of people who is way too inspired, its artists. Can we learn something from the indirectly subsidized nature of arts economics (essentially, tax breaks for donations and charitable foundations are hugely beneficial to the arts) and apply that to how we can start moving from an industrial to a post-industrial society and dealing with climate change?

As is usual, I don't claim to have an answer. Thoughts?

No comments:

Post a Comment