A Friday thought – the shape of art to come

Here are some musings I had over the course of the last week, somewhat related to the outcome of the general election (but less firm than I was on Monday).

It’s about how the new political landscape may affect the shape of art over the next few years. I am not here talking about funding cuts (though I know some in the arts are fearful of their livelihoods being threatened), but rather what forms of creativity that do emerge might take.

Will there be a rise in escapism? Or are we, in the post 9/11 world, at the peak of escapism, as may be seen with the literary and televisual popularity of Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire) and the apparent takeover of the real world by the Marvel Universe. Yet they are predominantly American features that have infiltrated British culture.

What about the home-grown aspects of the arts? Will we see a return of satire, which has largely been nullified by the preposterous goings-on of politicians in the last few years. Under Thatcher, we had Spitting Image; under Blair, we had The Thick of It. But nothing else has had quite the bite. The Revolution Will Be Televised got close, but didn’t gain the popularity of the others and Charlie Brooker’s various Wipe programmes are too sporadically placed in the schedule to establish traction. A traction which, I might add, should have been the place of Have I Got News For You, but which has, for the most part, become as sharp as a Fisher Price saw.

One of the things that struck me about the media coverage (and conversations both taken part in and eavesdropped on) was about the impression that the leaders wanted to project. For example, there was the pre-planned (and I thought, transparently co-ordinated) tweets that declared David Cameron to be ‘strong and commanding‘. Then there was the negative campaigning, portraying Ed Miliband as a “north London geek” – a point pushed by Jeremy “I’m a one nation Tory” Paxman, amongst others. So I wondered if some parts of the arts may return to an impressionistic sense, as a reflection of the current mindset.

Then there are the allegorical art forms. Might we see a rise in horror writing? I can imagine that the planned erosion of human rights could well translate into stories whereby someone, a family member perhaps, slowly becomes less and less human. The rest of the family may be fearful, may try to restore their humanity, but when they finally go past a point of no return they have to be got rid of.

Possibly one of the reasons I can imagine that plotline is because it summarises quite a lot of Shaun of the Dead. Ho hum! I never said I was original.

Maybe you can think of other ways the creative world might choose to express itself in themes or forms shaped by the political climate.

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