At a memorial service in honour of a fellow artist that happened recently, I looked at my fellow artists and gatekeepers in the business, thinking about the passing of time and the changing of values. When I think of the event now, the first image that comes to mind is that of an hourglass, with sand dwindling in one bulb and filling in another. The times, they are a changing, as one bard aptly stated.
We can all choose to adapt to changing values, if we want to. I’m not sure that the sort of flexibility required to make changes in our lives is connected to our ages or the times we were born in. It is simply a matter of being open to the stimuli we encounter in the world and acting accordingly.
Nowadays, one only needs to flick through images on Instagram, for example, to keep in touch with the way that some values evolve. There are times when I’m glad that I’m connected to the thought processes of so many people, but others when I want to disconnect, because I don’t identify with ideas and notions that are expressed on social media platforms.
There is no doubt that things have changed fundamentally for those of us working in the arts. Many of my colleagues want to stubbornly hold on to the values that were prevalent when we were young. They make me think of the musicians who were stuck in the ethos of the 1970s, when the MTV way of seeing and hearing things came into being in the 1980s. Only the hugely successful artists remained relevant in later years.
Is it really that much of a challenge to aspire towards timelessness in one’s outlook and approach to work, whilst remaining flexible enough to incorporate useful new developments into one’s vocabulary? Each of us can only deal with this issue in his or her unique and personal way.