We live in turbulent times, and corporate art cannot save us.
Everywhere we look, we see the devastating effects of late capitalism. Massive displacement of people due to armed warfare (and economic warfare, a.k.a. gentrification) is underway. Climate change is roaring its ugly head, drowning the poor but the rich are not sweating it – yet. As advanced capitalist societies are beginning to lose faith in their elites, economic unrest and political turmoil are brewing. Racist slaughter in broad daylight may be trending online and making headlines everywhere, but the world’s eyes and ears have gone into hiding. Women are occasionally sitting in management now, but nobody has time to bring the kids to bed anymore, and rape is still a daily routine and it is still funny on TV, especially when it happens in jail. The steady call for “innovative solutions” for the world’s problems keeps on ringing in the air, persisting even though everyone has started running already.
Corporate art cannot save us. Brooklyn is an open-air concert, not a bunker. Beyoncé is a brand, not a person. TED is just another back-stabbing salesman with a friendly face.
We have a choice: buy a second-hand shirt with a crappy slogan to strengthen your personal faux-Bohemian brand; or give it some real oomph. Shoot some photos, write some philosophy. Spit some poetry hellfire (but ignore the hellfire poets).
Be a Phohemian. It is not too late.