Thursday, February 13, 2014

Malcolm McLaren: The Quest for Authentic Creativity


Posted this week on the superbly expansive site OPEN CULTURE is a 50 minute speech, The Quest for Authentic Creativity, delivered in 2009 by British musician, impresario, visual artist, performer, clothes designer and boutique owner Malcolm McLaren.

In early October of 2009, Malcolm McLaren was nearing death but didn’t know it yet. He showed up at the 2009 Handheld Learning conference feeling fatigued, but managed to deliver a provocative and heartfelt speech titled, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Txt Pistols,” in which he reflects on his life growing up in post-World War II England and expresses dismay over the rise of what he called “karaoke culture.”
“All popular culture today,” said McLaren, “goes to great lengths to promote the idea that it’s cool to be stupid.” He championed instead the “messy process of creativity” in which struggle, failure and the acquisition of skill and knowledge are valued above instant fame. You can watch the complete speech above. A few days after it was given, McLaren went into the hospital and learned that he had cancer. He died six months later, on April 8, 2010.

McLaren takes no prisoners in his address. He talks of the horror of the commodified world where artist's foolishly seek fame over self discovery. Where colleges promote career paths over educating the whole person. He exalts the importance of failure, he calls it magnificent failure. McLaren advocated the need to be fearless, experience the unknown, and the artistic value of banality. He closed his address stating that so many artist's careers had about as much authenticity as you'd find when fucking an inflatable doll.

You can see the McLaren's speech HERE. And you can go to OPEN CULTURE, HERE.

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