The spectacle of technology

The_Scream

I was recently in New York, and while there I ended up at an art opening, where I fell into a conversation with an art historian. Obviously, the conversation turned to the state of the “art world.” She was pretty candid when she said that these days it is less about art and more about “the spectacle of art.”

The sale of The Scream by Edvard Munch for $120 million is yet another sign that in the art world there is a lot more focus on the business, the ever rising prices, the booming demand. This person said that the world is indeed focused on big sales and big art gatherings such as Biennale or Art Basel.

I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between art and our world of technology. With the fetishization of funding announcements, or the incessant coverage of the sale of Instagram, or mingling at countless events, Silicon Valley (in a proverbial sense) is becoming more about the spectacle of technology. (I hinted as much last year in my post, Is the Internet the “Paris” of the new millennium.)

This is not a judgement — more an observation, for that is where we might be in a cycle, both economic and creative. But as this art historian pointed out, away from the sparkling lights, she has seen new collectives and movements form, which gives her hope. I am betting it is the same in tech-land.

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