Amateur Creation and Entrepreneurialism: A Critical Study of Artistic Production in Post-Fordist Structures
AbstractBased on an interview with a hip-hop artist from Eastern Poland, this article critically assesses amateur art pro-duction proliferating throughout the globe today through individuals’ creative usages of new ICTs and new media affordances. The post-Fordist material and ideological context of contemporary social life is the main focus point of the article’s critique. Scarcity, dispossession, and entrepreneurship are the main analytical concepts used to develop a critical analysis and explanation of mainstream realities of amateur artistic production today. Within a context defined by precarious work conditions and prospects, material scarcity, and consumerist aspirations, media and technological potentialities are strategically used by the amateur artist-entrepreneur a) as resources where creativity is put to work for potential socio-economic elevation and inclusion in the global industrial artistic scene (in the case of private ICT), b) as “free” resources, appropriated for entrepreneurial aspirations (in the case of “free“ digital material circulating online, particularly through peer to peer networks), c) as channels for self promotion and networking (in the case of web 2.0 structures). What is often less apparent to the amateur artists, though, concerns the exploitative capacities of corporate Internet to dispossess amateur work and online social relations for the purposes of capital accumulation and reproduction. Unless critiqued, “free culture” -generated by new ICTs and new media- is assimilated by the material and ideological power of late capitalism and is “put to work” for the (re)production of late capitalism. The article concludes by suggesting the critical challenging of the mainstream artistic identity and the critical use and appropriation of new media/ICT’s potentialities.
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