Is the credit crisis accidentily a great piece of (subversive) art?

Being fed up with the boring pieces of art in musea, opera and classic music (and the righteousness explanations why it is “better” than pop cult) and grown up with wonderful expressions of color and animation on MTV, comic books, pop and underground music, computer games and in street art I started wondering what “type of art” was relevant for me. So I made a list of what I personally consider to be “art”.

  1. It can be any creative outing from music, to (digital) imagery to (computer) code to plastering
  2. It display an above-avarage to brilliant skill or insight in a specific field
  3. It moves me emotionally and/or intellectually
  4. It shifts and broadens my perception on people and / or things

More personally:

  1. It is appealing to me

Regarding relevance:

  1. It marks or created a clear turning point in perception / thinking / experience in a certain time frame

Some pieces of art I like. Others I do not, some I loathe but still consider to be art as they show high skill and/or relevance.

Wikipedia on Controversial and Subversive Art:

5. Art for social inquiry, subversion and/or anarchy. While similar to art for political change, subversive or deconstructivist art may seek to question aspects of society without any specific political goal. In this case, the function of art may be simply to criticize some aspect of society.

The collapse of banks has led to a credit crisis. It’s tipping point was reached by massively loaning money to American people who had low income and — in most cases — would only get further in debt. The unsafe mortgages were sold to other parties and were theoretically covered by statistics showing that “a crash would only happen once every 10.000 year“. It has unveiled a long trail of financial trickery and power games that lead back to the early 1900’s. (“Als de dollar valt” puts it all neatly together. The page I link to has referrals to sources used in the book) It is built on a framework of stupidity and greed.

Currently people state that we should rethink our economic models. “They do not work”. Well, they have certainly been bent to the breaking point by people who have become very rich and gained a lot of power, or tried to and got burned. Apparently some people who have made this crisis possible have been appointed to solve this crisis as well.

I personally believe it is one of the biggest scams in history.

And I believe it is a great piece of art. It is not pleasant art, but High Art need not to be pleasant to be art. Here are the parameters:

  1. It is a genius scam going on for decades, building new empty promises above old empty promises and displayed an above avarage skill and insight into (the greed and fear part of) human nature
  2. It required a lot of creativity (and manipulation)
  3. Nobody dared to unveil the scam although it was clear and present (except for some eccentrics who apparently did not give enough about their own  career to play the game and instead stated what anyone with a right mind would have seen for a long while: “LOOK! The emperor has no clothes“)
  4. It has shifted the awareness of people on a global scale regarding the scale empty promises can take
  5. It has caused
  6. It certainly is controversial and might be even subversive
  7. It is very relevant and might very well mark – or be the cause of – a turning point in our mutual history

To blame the con artists is also to deny our own collective stupidity. You only get away with a scam like this when you get us to deny the obvious that lies right in front of us, like the tailor almost did in “The emperor’s new clothes”. Killing the tailor still does not wash away our own naivity/stupidity.


One comment

  1. I am so happy that you have said this! I had a job for a London American investment bank during the 80’s [when this crazy scam really started on a global scale… Big Bang] Although a little fish [I worked in settlements] it was clear to me then that I was peddling monopoly money with people’s savings… that was a life lesson I will always remember, and a life changing experience, and today I see it as a welcome transition to a better way of working with people.

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