Our Creative Economy, Science & Technology Post Covid-19
Updated: Jul 1
The inevitable relationship of science and technology in the creative world has significantly contributed to the promotion of culture and knowledge as technology slowly becomes a common tool for creative expression within the creative industry.
In the abstract, art is often practiced either to make sense of our reality or to create a manifestation of the consciousness of the artist itself. Science, on the other hand, is an exploration of the world around us in an effort to find universal indisputable truths. Technology then applies as a resource, as a means of distribution and as an element of discourse.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science,” -Albert Einstein.
While the cultural and creative sectors that shed light on the importance of culture and creativity to society more than ever have been mostly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the crisis is forcing brands to engage with technology by expanding their digital real estate or stay locked-up in physical and mental lockdown.
Due to the complex nature of their work, artists and cultural professionals are particularly affected and lockdown measures around the world directly impact the entire creative value chain – creation, production, distribution and access. In response to this pandemic which has affected our economic, physical and mental well-being globally, it is time to prepare ourselves to adapt quickly and get to work based on our current positioning; setting up our businesses and brands in the most agile and technologically savvy way with room for flexibility.
“Change is inevitable, but progress is not”
In reference to Kasia Borowska's article around change as a matter of mindset today, the result of Covid-19’s pandemic is a grand yet an inadvertent experiment on a global scale designed to test and evaluate our preparedness, competence and responsiveness to the demands of a crisis placing great stress on the fundamental pillars of our society and human spirit.”
So, as I sit still and stare at my garden, with the birds chirping under the blue skies, I tackle through my creative business plan in this time of uncertainty and find myself spending less time creating and more time brainstorming around ways to re-invent my business; ways to cross-over into the digital real-estate on a more sophisticated and higher level approach. It’s one thing to already have a strong digital presence, however it is the next step to focus on how to create a brand experience that gives your brand superiority amongst your competitors for business to make sense in the neu world. This may not yet be the time to create extra but the time to re-package your stock before you pick up where you left.
There was a time where moving at your own pace was as easy and mindless like Sunday mornings. Many brands and businesses said they will do it next month or even next year because they had other avenues through which to present and position their brands, but given the neu world circumstances which touches everyone of us today despite race, colour, status and nationality, we are all caught up without a choice. “Business is not as usual and technology is not a choice.”
Now that we understand that there is no more grace period when it comes to technology, particularly artificial intelligence which has evolved our creative expression by offering the creative economy accessibility while drastically changing the nature of creative processes in many ways, what are you going to do about it?
It is evident that Artificial intelligence is significant for technical progress, cultural change and human evolution as we advance into our future. Within less time used and less money spent, artificially intelligent systems are slowly taking over our creative tasks and then fully automating them in pursuit to co-create better advanced products and services.
In her article around, the rise of AI art and what it means for human creativity, Raya Bidshahri directs this question back to us to ask ourselves what our role will be in an era where machines are able to perform what we consider complex, abstract, creative tasks. The implications on the future of work, education, and human societies are profound.
Through this piece of art, South African 3D-generalist, and winner of AI art challenge, Samuel Burnett expounds on the areas of opportunity he sees through AI in Africa over the next few years highlighting the medical diagnosis system through his art. "AI could have an immense impact on crowded clinics in the continent by speeding up the process of going through each patient so that more people could be treated." He explains in his interview with Zindo.
“We have always used our technological scaffolding to push ourselves beyond our biological limitations. We use the telescope to extend our line of sight, planes to fly, and smartphones to connect with others. Our machines are not always working against us, but rather working as an extension of our minds. Similarly, we could use our machines to expand on our creativity and push the boundaries of art.” Raya Bidshahri
As I lay horizontal on one of my lockdown evening-mornings due to loss of keeping up with time in a time where time does not really answer the billions of questions racing through my mind, I embarked on my search for an interesting series that could sweep me off my mind temporarily. Flipping through trailer after trailer on Netflix, I come across a Russian science fiction TV series, "Better Than Us" created by Andrey Junkovsky. The story takes place in 2029 where bots serve humans in various positions and even replace them in many menial jobs.
Unexpectedly, I found this series quite therapeutic enough to submerge myself in too deep, 6-feet under with nothing else to matter all through to the end. Sci-fi has suddenly become the antidote to my lockdown blue days as every day presents a new day with new emotions that fluctuate throughout the day exposing 5 and sometimes 50 shades of emotions on a day-2-day basis.
Lately, I have observed an interesting shift on my entertainment indulgence heightened to a different level, not because I have nothing to do but because I am looking for a temporary escape to give my lockdown a healthier balance like many of you may. As a result, I am not able to engage in the type of movies I enjoyed pre Covid-19; why watch my favourite romance holiday drama series captured in the Bahamas when I do not have permission to physically get out of my house? So more often than seldom, I hang out on the sci-fi zone which gives me comfort of where the world could be in a few minutes and when I really want to experience travel, I get-away mentally.
Yesterday, I was in Negril Jamaica and today, I am off to Diani Beach to enjoy fresh octopus from the Indian Ocean while I watch the breathtaking sunset. As for tommorrow, , I still don't know where I want to go but will certainly figure it out depending on what side of the bed I arise. The good news is that you are welcome to join me on any of my trips without spending a dime. Lastly, please remember that lockdown only restricts physical movements. Welcome to the mental voyage travel cruise brought to you by "Dream Voyagers."
“We will be forced to confront who we really are, for better or for worse. Do we let our selfishness get the better of us and save ourselves, or do we face the coming odds with unity and solidarity? Chances are the answer will be a bit of both.” - Science Journalist, Ritoban Mukherjee
In February 2020, on a ‘quarenta e dois graus’ mid morning, as I strolled into the Museu Afro-Brasileiro in Salvador, Brazil exhibiting wood carvings, baskets, pottery and other artwork and crafts linking Brazilian and African artistic traditions, there was a projector and seat allowing me to experience the art further beyond the canvas. What an experience as the iconic art stories transported my body, mind and soul into different spaces emotionally, spiritually and mentally and most of all, creatively. The highlight of the museum is a room lined with 27 huge, breathtaking carved wooden panels depicting orishas by Argentine-born Carybé; named as Brazil's most important painter.
As many art lovers including myself may still prefer to experience art in person, technology's role in art today with AI's influence in conjunction with ‘social distancing,' will certainly influence your art experience.
Anticipating what’s next in fashion instead of giving up hope as we sit still in lockdown today, the fashion industry is envisioning new ways to communicate in a time of crisis. While the upcoming South African Fashion Week shall be presented via digital platforms before a small select live audience of press, media and selected influencers, under strictly safe and supervised conditions, the British Fashion Council recently announced a new version of an entirely digital London Fashion Week featuring digital and gender neutral collections in June that will roll out on londonfashionweek.co.uk. This is an opportunity to focus on building that much-needed yet long-awaited sustainable & progressive future for the fashion industry.
“It is essential to look at the future and the opportunity to change, collaborate and innovate.” - British Fashion Council Chief Executive, Caroline Rush.
There was a time when being physically present meant something special, and then there came a time where joining the live stream as it happened was special. Now none of that even matters like it used to because you can still access it today, tomorrow or next year.
One morning, I woke up to a trending topic on IG and I thought to myself, "what happened while I was asleep?" Digging in a bit deeper, I found out very quickly that the hype was around the Babyface vs Teddy Riley’s Instagram battle which was rescheduled after a turn-out of over half a million people tuned in. Despite the fact that I was late and a little curious, I still got access courtesy of technology. Social media certainly plays an important role in the development of creative industries as AI moves faster than anyone imagined.
In the last few years, creatives now have a wide range of media to explore as we see the emergence of AI creative expression weaving through fashion, music, art, film, graphic design and many more industries. In exchange, the audience has gained access to a wide spectrum of options to choose from.
As we take a glance at AI' s influence in music so far, many artists now use artificial intelligence in their tune-making process. From composition apps and mastering platforms to song identifying tools and highly personalised playlists, AI is already changing the way music is created and consumed and sooner than we know it, these algorithms will be generating your unique product or service uniquely tailored and created for you and on your behalf as the core artist. This leaves my mind pondering about the future of the creative industry and the role of the human creative moving forward.
There was a time in the ‘before world’ where your experience or skill as a creative got you more hits than ever, but today is a new day. On a bad week or month of doing nothing, you can still dictate how many viewers and followers you can get high on your own supply, even when you can’t in reality because “The bots don’t sleep!”
In addition, with the global attention span narrowing and trends not lasting as long, a recent study found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8.25 seconds today. So here we are engaging an audience with zero concentration span where it is almost impossible to celebrate the heroes and identify the zeros because the zeros many times could have a more genuine and bigger audience. However, despite the sweeter juice dripping off of their juice bar, who is going to pay attention to them with their small following backed up by 200 likes?
There is no doubt that technology has opened new pathways to the creative economy’s existence, showcase and criticism by increasing access to the consumer with a power to broaden and deepen the audience connection & experience.
The Covid-19 pandemic did not give you or me a choice to fall into its spell, however, It is time to shift our focus from it's doom and gloom and revive by identifying opportunities; in every crisis, there is an opportunity. Are we able to sit still in the stillness of the lockdown, take some time off of information overload and create opportunities?
Just as business will never be the same again, we all have the opportunity to reset in response to the this current-state-of the world. I therefore pray that you will be blessed with the maturity to accept what’s happening, strength to keep you advancing yourself, grounding to keep you connected with the earth, peace for calm in the midst of the storm, focus to re-invent and resilience to recover sooner and make progress mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Until you accept, adapt, re-invent and rise above, only then will you conquer! It's the beginning for all of us to turn on the lights and get moving,
Multidisplinary Creative Entrepreneur & Consultant,