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Grayson Perry's Excitement

http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/arts/grayson-perry-trump-and-brexit-are-fantastic-for-the-arts-a3404636.html

In trying to understand what to write next, I find it difficult to move away from the time around me. Of course, it can be argued that fantasy, be it LARP or writing or whatever, is mere escapism and no real help in the world at times like these. But escapism is always needed. Does Art need to have a moral purpose, does it need to be anything other than a fine expression of itself?

Grayson Perry is tootling joyfully about Brexit and Trump being good for the arts. He sneers at what he calls the 'cosy Islington consensus', and remarks that, " If you have a gallery, who are the people who never come in? Blue collar working class conservatives." The point he doesn't make is while he may be excited to talk of  Art reaching the poor right,  at prices ranging between £3,000 and £30,000, he has no illusions about selling to them. They can have a  £10 poster and like it, I guess.  The truly complacent artist will always bite the hand that feeds them.

In a time when people feel powerless,it might be useful and easy to reach them with outbursts of power. In the 30s it was superheroes, in the 70s it was punk. I have been told that in times of uncertainty, horror - always a good market - takes an upturn. Science Fiction is quintessentially extrovert; it assumes a quest and a tomorrow. One of the things I always loved about Alien was the beautiful combination of references, images and pictures. The doomed ship Nostromo named for the  dauntless keeper of a fated treasure in Joseph Conrad's eponymous novel, the Saturn movement from Holst's planets, the darkness and bleak mechanism, the waiting betrayal, the universe that is both barren and horribly fertile... perfect. The sequels were just films. Conversely, all this gifted  horror only had its chance because of the success of Star Wars, which in itself was wildly optimistic and hopeful - and of course, had a new vision of how to fill a massive screen.

What none of these have as a main aim is comfort. To that extent I can understand Perry. This is why I worry a little about fantasy with nothing more to it than escape. Is that just comfort? And if it is,what's the harm? Nothing more  annoying than worthy fingerwagging, and often the moral tone conceals a lack of technique, of finesse, of anything.

In the end, I think you just have to get it down and done. It's fortunate if the timing is right,but you can't guarantee a thing.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
benicek
Nov. 26th, 2016 10:29 am (UTC)
Most sci-fi these days is dystopian though, isn't it? I suppose it has optimistic elements but in the main it's not cheery about humanity or aliens. Iain M Banks was a notable exception.
smokingboot
Nov. 26th, 2016 10:53 am (UTC)
Certainly a lot of it is, but I would argue that the most successful and enduring franchises (Star Trek, Star Wars) are optimistic, cute even. And of course, the Supes are back in force, with excellent sound tracks. One thing I notice is that the further away from Earth the stories are based, the happier they seem to be. There's a perceptible End of Days feeling about a lot of Earth based stuff. I suspect that's anxiety bleed.

Edited at 2016-11-26 10:53 am (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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