I’ve made a resolution to start learning how to code. I’m only a few hours into it and must say it is enjoyable. There is something magical about making things work on the screen based on your code. Learning how to code is definately a skill that will take time to develop. I’d never say that I have a natural talent to code though I find some of the concepts fascinating which creates enthusiasm and drive to learn more.
This got me thinking about where talent is different from skill and where skill relates to art and engineering. With me being the kind of person who loves working with conceptual models, I’ve create a speculative Talent-to-Culture model to illustrate how skills, talent, art, and culture all are related:
- Talent derives from natural ability or drive, and
- Talent may lead to skill, and
- Skill requires tool usage, and
- Tool usage comes from engineering, and
- Engineering comes from knowledge or science, and
- Knowledge comes from concepts, and
- Concepts comes from culture, and
- Culture comes from society
This model can be inverted, but because I’m focusing on skill development for myself, I started at the skill (top) end of the model. At the top of my model, I identify Talent being the unique fingerprint of drive and ability that each person possesses. Some people are inclined towards conceptual thinking, others are inclined towards physical usage of their bodies as an instrument, and others do not tap their talent at all. There is no talent creation without natural ability and drive which makes sense.
At the Culture (bottom) end of the model, we find more validity as I test it. Coding & game development comes from society only when computer and software engineering became so prevalent with computers running almost everything. There was no coding or game development back in the early 1900s because the engineering and technology did not even exist.
Now we have engineering tools like Unity and Unreal that makes game development so easy that new skills and inner talents/drives are revealed in a way which never existed before! The amount of new video games (and other media) is more than ever before because of these engineering and tool innovations.
Now there is a persistent attempt by some to equate these video games and other innovations with society’s highest achievement: Art
Coding and game development may be a full part of culture, but very little of it is recognized as being Art and some a very distraught by that. Art is the subjective objectification of the cultural milieu and it is impossible for every creation of society to be considered Art because of supply and demand. The supply of creativity far outstrips the demand and the ability for critics to keep up about what is Art.
Critics are the only reason why something is considered to be Art. There is nothing inherently objective about it, but a good critic would know their cultural milieu and then decide where the newly discovered talent fits in that context. A good critic will help pilot culture’s feedback system and helps society look at itself by saying ‘this is getting stale’ or ‘this is not as attractive as we once thought’.
Art is the epitome of culture for many and this is why some are so desperate to link Video Games to be Art or to be Literature. I disagree with both of those efforts because I’m more interested in meaningfulness than a specific label. Massive efforts like we see in architecture, game development, and certain business practices are so central to modern culture and society they do not need to be Art be meaningful. In fact, they are meaningful in spite of not being Art.
That’s a position I can be enthusiastic about. My goal in learning how to code is so that I can create software that helps culture renew itself. I’ve attempted to do this with Fandomnaut and aim to do this with Heropath. Cultural renewal is to tap into the zeitgeist and critically deconstruct/reconstruct and aspect of society. This happens in art movements, in pop culture, in business, and is simply the dynamism of society. It was always beyond Art, even though the Artists/Critics would like you to believe otherwise.
So I say: Forget about pursuing a label like ‘Art’ or ‘Literature’, instead find meaning by helping Society through your Talent in the best way you can. If what you create is meaningful to allot of people then wealth and fame is there for you if you want it.