I feel fortunate to be functioning in an era when I can see films and other documented material made over the last one hundred years. Who knows what would be available to everyone if the cine camera and other similar gadgets had been discovered in earlier times? On You Tube I can listen to revered creative and interpretative artists from decades ago to learn from the challenges they faced in making their work. Artists from earlier eras could only base their assessments of what their predecessors went through on a combination of things that were written down and the hearsay evidence of tutors and experts who were brought up in particular traditions.
Audio visual technology has also empowered folks from a vastly diverse range of cultures to simply tell things as they are and document them for posterity. This development offers opportunities for the enrichment of heritages on a global scale, which should be a good thing.
There are bound to be areas of tension between the needs and desires of those who create the work and of the folks who are in the business of selling cultural products. The business people are mainly concerned with the shifting of units. For them, it is risky to take a punt on selling products that are either unfamiliar or esoteric from a consumer’s point of view.
Yesterday, I saw a production of Ariadne auf Naxos – an opera by Richard Strauss that grapples with those tensions. This was the second production of the work that I have seen and I realised that there was so much that I only understood on a superficial level about the layers of symbolism therein, when I saw it on the first occasion.
I came away from the experience, feeling it is of utmost importance that creative practitioners should aim to speak their truths as much as possible. Happily, we live in times when nobody needs a spokesman or woman to express what we think or feel. Hopefully we will see and hear more wholehearted expression in the years to come