Democratization of Technology

It has been said that technology has revolutionized the creative process by democratizing the playing field. Indeed, the personal computer has liberated many creators in the competitive and creative process. However, the same technology has resulted in a proliferation of ugliness which abounds from instant push-button digital effects to other thoughtless processes. Sure, we gave power to the people. But the people, we forget, include our Uncle Bob who despite his loving kindness, couldn’t draw a straight line to save his life, nor does he care to.

The Edisons of our digital era such as Thomas Knoll and Kai Krause have contributed significantly in changing the way we create visual imagery. It is doubtful however, that they could have foreseen the effects their tools would have decades later. Just as important political figures are elected by both the educated and the uneducated, the rich and the poor, the logical and the irrational, so too have the artistic landscape been subject to the masses by the availability of technology.

With due respect to Francis Ford Coppola who said that, “…one day some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father’s camcorder…” it would appear that there would be another thousand or so little fat girls in Nebraska who would use the camera to shoot a series of unwatchable home videos—nothing against Nebraska, of course. Regardless of technology, if the probability of that little girl in Ohio becoming the next Mozart is high, it’s not because she has a camcorder. Likely, it’s because she has some semblance of talent and a one degree of separation from some movie mogul. Having the right tool always helps. But the tools don’t always come in the form of a hammer, camcorder, or computer. Oftentimes, it comes in the way of social validation and perhaps, just perhaps residing in Ohio.

There is in the Western World a belief that though poetic justice, the meek and the hungry are entitled to the means that will save them from external or self-imposed tyrannies. This is naive. In the hands of the masses, we see that beautiful art runs alongside pornography, garage sale signs, and junk mail.

Technology is simply a reflection of our societal consciousness.