Creative cultural destruction: First person narrative, atonal music, and Second Life

Tech shifts cultural boundaries
BY Bill Thompson
10:17 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009, BBC NEWS

[...]Anyone who has heard me talk about the impact of technology will know that I am a great admirer of Joseph Schumpeter, the twentieth century economist whose described the way that new production methods often destroy successful companies when they leave it too late to adopt innovations because they are wedded to currently profitable practices.

He named the process 'creative destruction', and his work still provides a useful framework for understanding how Microsoft challenged IBM, Amazon challenged the booksellers and Google destroyed Yahoo!

It can also be applied to cultural production, but whereas in the past it has largely been driven by artistic innovations such as the invention of the first person narrative or atonal music, with technology secondary, the rapid rate of technological change may mean that those artists, artforms and venues that make the best use of the capabilities of the new technologies will sweep away those who fail to innovate.

The network could be about to unleash a wave of creative cultural destruction as great in its impact on all cultural activism as the rise of modernism was in the last century.

In the new digital world I suspect that artforms, artists and cultural organisations will succeed by occupying the liminal space between offline and online, building a compelling presence in both that allows something unexpected to emerge where they meet and blur together.

Rather like dancing in Second Life while drinking a beer in the the first one.