Ancient societies took it for granted that skills would be handed down from generation to generation. Developing one’s talent as an artist or a craftsman depended on understanding and following the principles of earlier masters. Art and craftsmanship may suggest a way of life that waned with the birth of industrial society, but this is misleading. The future of work may resemble the history of work, and this is because of our newest, most advanced technologies.
The corporate system is transforming into a maze of fragmented tasks and short-term gigs. Although the modern era is often described as a skills economy, most companies have a short-term focus, which means for a worker that when her experience accumulates, it often loses institutional value.
Moy Eng has a market-based answer worth understanding
Moy Eng, Executive Director of the Community Arts Stabilization Trust, gives one of five Shift Ignite talks earlier this year at the Shift Forum. Our cities are losing their artists as the flight back to urban centers has driven rents beyond their reach. What can be done? This five minute Ignite talk has some answers.
Moy Eng: Hi. They say that you are who you really will be, at the age of seven. Here I am at the age of seven, bright, eager to please, and wanting to make parents and my teachers proud at my first Holy Communion.
There’s a very romantic American story that I love, that lots of artists who are young and starting out love, too, and it goes like this: Move to the Big City with nothing, make friends, make art, struggle, but make it. That’s the kind of story told in Patti Smith’s wonderful memoir, Just Kids.
It certainly isn’t the place I knew when I was young — we had no money, the city was bankrupt, it was filled with cockroaches, a lot of rats, it was a bit gritty, and it was cheap to live here, really cheap. You could have a bookstore job and a little apartment in the East Village. There were so many of us, so many like minds. You can’t do that now.