Aug 032003

A cultural hell is a place that has been designed by “creative” people for other “creative” people. where we will hear whiffs of “post modern” and “neo freudian” and “hegelian dialectic” and the adamsian paradox – but not much else.

yesterday i saw a guy on tv. ndtv 24*7 no less. he was one of those “artistic” types. he said something that blew my mind. “creative people should spend more time with other creative people”

and when i heard that piece of wisdom the last part of the jigsaw fell into place. the puzzle was – why is such a thriving society so fossilized in its art forms. why have we produced no great piece of literature in the last 50 years – manto and premdas were the last of the greats. why have we produced no great films in the last 30 years. why has our musical innovation died in the last n years. why are we so pretencious in our cultural output

that is because creative people, like academics and like marketeers, spend time with only their own kind. As a result they are in a complete contextual cloud cuckooland. the context of their art has no real basis in mass society.

culture is derived from society. without interaction with society at large you cannot hope to be creative – because at the end of the day it is society that has to consume your art form.

If you say art for the sake of art – great. then don’t crib if no one buys your art form or admires it. However, you want people to appreciate your work then provide them with something that they can associate with.

You want to write, create and deliver pieces of “art” that no one will understand spend time with your kind – you want to create something that endures talk to the milkman, the dhobi, the bai, the rickshawalla, the farmer, the bus conductor. You have so much to learn from them that it would truly open your eyes to “art”. Picasso’s greatest work happened when he was fighting the spanish civil war. Van Gogh spend his life with people you won’t invite into your home. Premchand was involved with the community as was Manto. Sahani spent his time with ordinary people as did Ray.

My fav this year has been byatt having a go at jk rowling. byatt is art because no one except an elite crowd reads her books. rowling is crap because everyone reads her books.

Intellectual and creative snobbery at its best!

Having said all this i still think the bulk of tv is crap 🙂