Chatting recently to a founder of a kind of collective (more of an agent/rep really, but it seems the new fussword for salespeople is ‘collective’ so ok cool yeah whatevs) and they go like ‘yeah right we offer the best solutions in the market tailored for any given project by casting the right specialists at the right time for the right opportunity mmmmmkay?’ Wiping away the streaks of hot tears, burning for all that humanity has lost, I took to wondering . . . just what constitutes a useful approach to making work given the commodification of the beautiful and true?
It does seem there’s a preponderance of mix and match agencies that rely on a loose ‘network’ of freelancers and small groups that focus on specific approaches, media, techniques and production things. These agencies in themselves don’t have much-some kind of client service ability, maybe a way of handling finance, and a marketing/sales figurehead claiming guruship and artistic credibility, usually by accident or default. They’ve got a bunch of mates varying wildly in ability and availability, and depend on their contacts to make stuff for their clients. Mostly, the stuff tends towards average. It does this because it is secondary by the very nature of the enterprise: there is literally no art at the heart of these places because it isn’t there every day, but is bought to order by the hour dependent on assumed ‘scope’, which is code for ‘guessing’. The thing about these places is that they homogenise: predictable and pedestrian, they have no intrinsic voice, no personality of their own, and neither does their work.
There’s also the way where a bunch of people come together, each better in certain areas than others, probably with their own (sometimes conflicting-all the better) philosophies and approaches, their own particular experiences, strengths and weaknesses, but all focussed on the thing, the stuff, the beauty-finding ways between them to create what is necessary no matter what. Dependent on each other, driven by a desire to discover, a need to explore, taking whatever time and means necessary to bring a thing to life, a spark in the first moment or a slow burn meditation of months, an ability to know when to be together and when to be apart, sharing experiences and seeking alone, and above all trusting instinct beyond reason into that magical state where art intertwines with science and creates an alchemy of culture that has an effect, is unexpected and illuminating and sometimes unrecogniseable, that causes change from the base to the beautiful in order to elicit emotion and thought that is a catalyst for the flight of the imagination.