There's a lot being said at the moment about the benefits of making deeper connections in your life and with the work you do. There's a raft of people from all over the world who are disenchanted and disassociated with modern day living.
I've recently been reading books from Seth Godin (The Icarus Deception) and Alain de Botton (Art as Therapy) in order to unravel why we need art and what purpose it has, and how this is linked to the connection movement. And on a deeper level, how we can help society and humanity find deeper meaning and purpose through the creation of art and creativity.
Industrialism has had its day
Both of these authors mention the movement that is currently happening, moving away from the industrialist mindset to the connection mindset. And how this connection mindset is something you will need to embrace to make the most of your future possibilities.
The industrialist mindset was useful when the industrial revolution started. It made sure that factories had compliant workers and that the people who worked there were cogs in a well-oiled machine. Schools were adapted to produce students and workers who could play well within the system and follow the rules from above. Better workers meant better production. The worker would get rewarded for their obedience in the form of pay rises and the chance to rise up through the ranks. The aim was efficiency. To produce things faster, for less money, and with the end goal in sight. Seth Godin calls this 'the race to the bottom'.
The rise of the connection mindset
However, things have changed. With the introduction of the internet, social media and increasing feelings of isolation of workers who have had to move away from their communities to find employment, we're now seeing the rise of the connection economy. It doesn't seem to pay anymore to be the cog in the machine, to do what you're told, to wait to be picked. Job security has all but disappeared, people are feeling isolated and lonely, and there's the realisation that you may never get picked. And there's always someone else willing to work harder, for less.
So, what is becoming more obvious is that making proper connections with smaller numbers of people can provide the fulfilment and sense of purpose lacking in the industrialist movement. People are no longer waiting to be picked - they're picking themselves. Picking themselves to make the most of their strengths and abilities. To be valued. And the way they are doing this is to form meaningful connections with other people in society and their communities. To think of things that haven't been done before, and to do them in a way that provides meaningful value.
Humanising the future
So why isn't everyone doing it? Because it's not easy. The system is set up to make cogs for the machine. To not follow the system, or the rules that have come before, needs a shift in mindset. It's possible, but not easy. And this doesn't mean to reject the system outright. It just needs a little nudge away from being about mass produced, throw away stuff that leaves the planet robbed and people feeling empty and lonely. To make the most of the work that has gone before in the industrial revolution, and humanising it. By creating meaningful connections, and producing items of value and taste, we can collectively direct the way we want society to function and represent.
There are many clues as to this change that is coming. Businesses are starting to search out people with more creative mindsets - these are the ones that will be able to differentiate themselves from the machines that do a lot of the work. Creativity and the ability to join segmented ideas or disparate information will be what sets workers apart from software, machines, technology. Businesses need new ideas, and sticking to the rule book isn't going to cut it.
How does this relate to art?
The industrialist mindset can also be seen in how we currently view art and artists. Art can sometimes feel like a luxury or frivolity. Fine art, in particular, seems to be only really suitable if you have spare income or a need to fill a wall in your home. However, art can evoke emotion, and with the connection mindset, emotion is key. Artists (no longer just people who paint or sculpt) are going to be the creators who can adapt businesses and products to benefit people and society. To improve the quality of life and to provide value back to society.
Art will be about:
Shaping environments to influence how people feel in a space and how they interact with each other.
Providing objects for the home that help people understand who they are and how they feel.
Providing points of communication and conversation to bring people together.
To reconnect people with their environments and nature.
There are many other ideas about what art will become and what is should be in the two books I mentioned above. They are inspirational and well worth a read if you would like to find out more.
And if they float your boat, make sure you check out the Creative Pep Talk podcast from Andy J Pizza on the iTunes store. It's along the same lines as the books, and provides concrete actionable steps if you are looking to develop your creative career.