Ah, the potential of the artist to reach the masses…
With their weapon of choice – the camera, the canvas, the pen or the voice… add a simple internet connection and… BANG! their work reaches to the far corners of the Earth.
I just came across OurMedia and their mission (via this news source):
Ourmedia is a global community and learning center where you can gain visibility for your works of personal media. We’ll host your media forever â€” for free.
So, a grassroots host for legal music, film and everything else. When they get BitTorrent file-sharing happening on the site, it could really take off. No one likes a strained server.
And so the whole thing works… Because I found out about Ourmedia on a blog, I visited Ourmedia and saw a film by Chuck Olsen and then found out about his projects and connections to other filmmakers and so on…
The WWW scores again! And so, connection begets connection, begets connection…
I learned a new term today: vlogger = video blogger. The word looks a little ugly to me – a little like Vogon. But at least the concept is beautiful: where video makers publish their works to the world – available to all.
Chuck is making an open source documentary film about blogging and the global community of bloggers. All his footage is available online for anyone to cut their own version of the film.
The Future Of Commercial Media & The Arts
I was recently thinking about the future of commercial music and film/TV. Illegal music downloads are rife. And with the constant increase in internet access speeds, the illegal downloading of TV programmes and films is catching up fast.
It is now becoming more difficult for TV companies to justify spending huge amounts of money for the rights to a particular TV series when half of their target audience has already seen the series by downloading it for free.
Right or wrong, this technology will not simply go away. It will only increase in efficiency, ease and availability. The current reaction from commercial distributors is to sue the downloaders and try to use fear to prevent this global, unpaid distribution. But it seems to me that this tactic will never give satisfactory results. It will never stop the file sharing and it will only further alienate the public from the traditional distributors of music, film and art.
So, how can the musicians, the filmmakers, the artists and the media companies of the future continue in their motivation to make great art and also receive their deserved income, when their works are increasingly distributed for free? Is there an alternative to fear tactics?
The Media Cooperative & The World Government
In the misty, idealistic recesses of my mind, I can imagine the existence of many artist and media cooperatives across the globe… Each musician, actor, filmmaker and artist is paid for their work by their cooperative. And the cooperative is funded by local and global government. As it becomes more and more recognised how important the role of artists is in society, the arts will be funded and supported to greater degrees.
In the short-term, funding for media cooperatives could be from private and commercial donors or from funding bodies at a local, regional, national, continental or global level.
At some point comes the question – “Is art a luxury commodity, or is it an essential requirement of society?” I would say that true art is a necessity and a powerful guide to society. As such, it should be supported as a non-profit, key industry of any and every society.
Of course, the distinction between what is “true” or “worthwhile” art and what is not can be hotly debated. Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar writes about such distinctions in his essay, The Practice of Art & Literature. The essay is a real manifesto for ethical and spiritual artists – their potential, their inspiration and their responsibility in society.
…And a 14-year old painter from Taiwan makes a statement about “What Is Art?” in a little series of paintings.
Where next to unleash the potential of the artists and to support them in their craft?