Earlier this week Grayson Perry asserted that “rich people on the whole don’t create culture”. He was speaking, in an interview, on the subject of London’s housing crisis. But I’m inclined to believe that demographics and location increasingly have little impact on people’s ability to be creative and to nurture vibrant cultures.
In an evening
slumped on the sofa elegantly perched in my home office, two videos from a YouTube binge considered research highlighted this perfectly. Together they demonstrate that being “rich” neither limits nor enables you. More and more, we’re in it together and it’s reflected in a blurring of aesthetics and approach that I find very interesting.
To explain. At one end of the spectrum, Beyonce’s new music video “7/11” looks home-spun and low-fi. Take away the backdrop of a luxury hotel suite, and Beyonce could well be just another YouTuber showing off her moves. Beyonce as a wannabe Beyonce. Meta.
At the other end of the spectrum lies the latest “look book” from fashion vlogger Sunbeamsjess. Even as one of many successful vloggers, Jess is transcending her peers with a photographic style that wouldn’t be out of place at Vogue. A little digging into the director revealed Zak Harper, a 20 year old photography student from Leeds.
This is surely positive progress in action. What these films show is that the future we’ve been predicting for years - one where technology fosters a more democratic society - is starting to unfold. Culturally we’re moving away from the “have’s and the have nots”, towards a more open playing field where those that want to can. Whether you’ve got billions and Beyonce, or a YouTube account and a good eye, you’re able to make your mark.
If - according to Obama - the past 200 years of innovation has been shaped by a melding of cultures in the physical world (so hindered by borders, regulations, race, gender and money), then surely the next will be shaped by a melting pot of cultures online - hindered only by imagination. Simple software and tools allows anyone, anywhere to express themselves - “shaping our character as a people with limitless possibilities”.