15 JUL - 2023
Science says yes, but it's all in how you look at it.
The human capacity for creativity has been a topic of endless debates and reflections throughout history. Artists, thinkers, and visionaries have constantly pushed the boundaries of what is possible, leaving us in awe of their innovative creations. However, amidst this wealth of creative output, one question lingers: Has creativity reached its peak? Are we witnessing the decline of fresh ideas and originality? Are we stuck in a loop of recycled ideas?
The Current Landscape
In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of content bombarding us. With the advent of social media, we find ourselves scrolling through an infinite sea of images, videos, and stories, each vying for our attention. Our favourite TV shows are serving more and more seasons, and musicians are releasing new music every month, all in hopes of staying relevant. It's no wonder that amidst this content overload, the huge volume can make creativity feel diminished.
I feel like the music industry suffers the most from this. Musicians feel so much pressure as individuals to constantly produce new music because their fans are begging for it, instead of fans begging a TV company or a fashion brand. After all, it's directed at one person or one group and far easier for fans to bombard. So when musicians are getting all this pressure from fans and then their management has to set deadlines, NOTHING ruins creativity more than a deadline. This rush to keep producing just lowers the quality and depth of music in so many ways. And those artists who take a year or two off between albums often lose relevance in that time, so it's just a never-ending pit.
To also include a wee moan about TikTok, music has become increasingly formulaic, driven by market trends and algorithms. We’re hearing the same pop-y TikTok viral beat over and over again, artists like Meghan Trainer or Lizzo are key culprits in this. Originality is often sacrificed in favour of producing hits that fit established moulds, leading to a similar world of sound and a loss of music that truly reflects them as creatives.
In the movie/TV industry, the pressure to churn out scripts and concepts quickly can result in a decline in narrative depth and original storytelling. With studios prioritising profit over artistic merit, risk-taking becomes rare, limiting the development of groundbreaking ideas. We keep hearing stories about how people are so disappointed with TV and movies. And I think this is because a lot of big movie and film corps are focused on creating quantity over quality, similar to what we're seeing in the fashion and music industries. Our attention spans are so short, and we're so bored with everything. How do they deal with that? We need to be overstimulated to feel stimulated if that makes sense. So left and right, TV shows try to satisfy our hunger for something new to watch. But the problem there is that all creative endeavours take time; it takes TIME to write a complex and genius piece. It took JK Rowling 17 years to write Harry Potter. Implementing a quick turnaround is detrimental to these industries.
Fashion is so broad: There are brands doing cool things, while some brands try to do it all. I could talk for hours about all these parts of the wheel, but I want to focus on viral fashion. I'm sure we've all noticed with fashion that there's sort of an obsession with viral clothing pieces, like the House of Sunny green dresses, the one-piece swimsuits that blast every inch of your feed, or right now, the denim maxi skirts that everyone wants to get their hands on. So we're seeing this influx of fast fashion for people to keep up with trends. As the trend cycles move so fast, our attention spans also play into all of this too. Why can't we stay excited about a clothing trend for longer than a month?
And because the fashion industry knows us and knows how we consume, brands are constantly driven by rapidly changing trends and often favour commercial viability over innovative design. The new focus on producing collections at breakneck speed can limit designers' ability to experiment and create truly creative pieces.
In a world inundated with content and driven by financial demands, creativity faces numerous challenges. The pressure to constantly produce, conform to established norms, and cater to short attention spans can stifle innovation and originality across various creative industries. However, it is important to recognise that creativity, at its core, remains a powerful force that has the potential to overcome these hurdles. By fostering an environment that values quality over quantity and encourages risk-taking, we can preserve the edge of creativity and pave the way for new and groundbreaking ideas to flourish.