Why collaborate in an age of complete autonomy & self-sufficiency?
Just because you can do something yourself, does that mean you should?
In an age of rapid innovation and advancement in technology, we have been graced with an abundance of not only tools to better our lives but also with an abundance of information to learn how to use these tools. These technological advancements in all aspects of life were created to provide us with an easier way to do things that would have consumed all of our time previously, leaving us with time left in the day to relax and do the things that we enjoy.
Be they technological advancements in science, business or art. In science these advancements have provided us with more precise and efficient ways to navigate through the world, saving lives and reducing human error. In business, these advancements have created more productivity and greater economic development to increase the standard of living.
So what happens when technological advancements are made in an area of life that isn’t solely about making us more comfortable and saving time? But also about bringing humanity joy, entertainment and connection. We’re now more connected than ever through the technology of social media. And yet, we also now have less reason to ever collaborate on art. Why waste time finding a videographer, graphic designer or producer when you can learn the basics of all those skills online?
Now don’t get me wrong, this is a much needed, unparalleled freedom that has removed the barrier to entry across so many different areas of every artistic industry. Giving anyone the ability to find success and self-sufficiency off of their art. A privilege that very few artists had in the past. But when an artist no longer needs to share the development process of their creative vision, in a field that is all about sharing and communicating your creative vision, a conflict of purpose and intention arises.
Having the means to communicate and execute your exact creative vision through the new tools technology has provided us with is nothing less than an enormous blessing. And I completely relate with the pride that can come out of learning a new skill and realising “I don’t need to blindly put my trust in someone else to help me out, I can do this too!” That sense of pride is exactly the reason we should set out to learn new skills. But this can quickly become addictive. As artists, we can become intoxicated by the taste of self-reliance that we forget the reason we started making art in the first place, to connect with other people. Then ego can start to supersede artistic purpose.
The best-case scenario is that an artist is able to learn all of the skills they need to succeed in the industry, they do them well and get to a place of success in their field. But in the process, they sacrificed experiencing the communal collaboration of art on their way there. One of the most gratifying experiences an artist can have. The worst-case scenario is that an artist continues to grow in their main artistic discipline but neglects to develop his new learned skills in other areas beyond the beginner level. Never getting help from more experienced artists in those areas, stunting their overall artistic growth and hindering future success.
The last thing we need is everyone returning to being individual specialists that have to rely on hiring others to help them with their creative vision. But when an artist becomes a generalist out of necessity for survival, instead of wanting to create the best art they can with other creatives, the original purpose of art is lost. If the past few months have taught us anything it’s that as a society we have been vastly undervaluing the importance of artistic entertainment as well as social interaction. As artists, we now have the means to do everything ourselves. But we’ve forgotten the original motive for why we create art in the first place.
Hopefully one day the creative community will not only be able to make a comfortable living off of their art in New Zealand, but also be able to enjoy the full process of creating art as a community as well.