Consume versus Create

monkeyEcho Logo remixIt used to be pretty simple to draw that line:

  • You went to a shop and paid was consuming.
  • You did something from scratch using raw material was creating.

Now, you buy your shoes online and you’re not only able to choose from 300+ different models but you can customize the chosen one as well including loading up your custom design. The possibility that someone else chose the exact same combination is low, so it may be save to say that it’s unique. But did you create something or is this only a very sophisticated form of consuming?

In my opinion it’s the later. choosing from presets combining prefab stuff – even from a loooot of it – is still consuming. Creating comes in when you combine different things in a unique way and add your own ego/taste/history/experience/random action/ … to the mix.

So, where is the threshold? How complex must I consume, how much of me must I give before creating is achieved?

I asked this myself after creating(?) nice pictures on my ipad using the awesome pixlromatic app which lets you chose from a long list of presets of lightning fxs, borders and film effects. I already posted some of these pictures done with this app (see above). I don’t see myself as a design artist which make it fun to use with no high expectations. Therefore I would classify this as consuming, or what?

You see that I don’t have a sharp line between this areas and it is your own personal view you should depend on in this matter. Or you just don’t care? Why do I care? Well, slicing beats (= changing their tempo without changing their timbre) used to be hard because there were no tools to do it for you. After spending hours to get it right, the resulting music felt like created. Now, we have Recycle and Ableton Reason and doing it is only one click away:

“Wrong tempo? Now problem, just a second. Which of these five fine algorithms should I use to stretch it for you?”
A monkey with a laptop could do this! It does not feel like creating anymore.  Had a little crisis over this. Then a friend of mine pointed out, that painting had a similiar crisis when photography came up, which gave me hope that there’s still creation in creating music.

Let me know what you think about it (comments, please!).
I’m especially curious about the artist people out there but all the music listeners, too.



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