When the roaring twenties finally do arrive, as predicted after the rerun of the Spanish flu era comes to an end, we need to be ready to embrace the changes that will have taken place during our absence from society and make way for new scenarios. It could be positive, and it could bring great renewal, also to the art world.
I look forward to cancelling the following words from my vocabulary: lockdown, quarantine, virus, mask, vaccine, bubble, social distancing. These words represent some of the misery we have endured during the lockdowns, also the non-lockdown lockdowns, as our writer Katie Zazenski calls the less restrictive moments. I also look forward to going out and meeting people and seeing how our world will have changed. Most of us have suffered at times from some sort of depression during these long months, though few of us have openly declared their sense of sadness or misery. Apparently, misery and unhappiness are connected to creativity. Karol J Borowiecki, professor of economic history of the arts at the University of Southern Denmark, analysed Beethoven’s letters and found “that creativity does spring forth from misery.” Professor Borowiecki used a negative emotions index of “anxiety, anger and sadness” and “found that sadness is particularly conducive to creativity. Since depression is strongly related to sadness, this result comes very close to previous claims made by psychologists that depression may lead to increased creativity. This constitutes an important insight into how negative emotions can provide fertile material upon which the creative person could draw – an association that has fascinated many since antiquity.”
Going back in time, Aristotle found that “all men who have attained excellence in philosophy, in poetry, in art and in politics, even Socrates and Plato, had a melancholic habitus; indeed some suffered even from melancholic disease.” With this premise, thanks to our lockdowns, endless restrictions, deaths of so many people, and so much despair and sadness, once it’s all over, we should be seeing an incredible revival.
Back in March 2020, Mike Booth from MJ Hudson, investment fund and trade management solutions, suggested the UK might have a Roaring Twenties return after Brexit. Unwittingly, this has been picked up again by others; Spiros Malandrakis, “head of research – alcoholic drinks, Euromonitor International” said he expects the trade to recover sooner than 2024, and forecasts a party era as revellers celebrate freedom following months of lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19.” Bob Fisch from Forbes with his article “Are You Ready To Rock The New Roaring ‘20s?”, says that “Much of the “roar” of the 20th Century’s ‘20s came from the younger generations of the time. Their hormones fueled the nation’s pent-up energy, and their modern outlook encouraged freedom of expression and creativity.” Using the same paradigm of the recovery from the pandemic in the twenties, and considering that Dada, Surrealism, Expressionism, and Art Deco had their origins then, I think we’re in for a wave of creativity and expression. I expect to see and read about new visions.
We would like to know what has become of our artists around the world and how they have been living these months. We invite artists and writers alike to share their thoughts with our readers and let us know if these lockdowns have changed their expression in any way and how they envision the future, possibly with one image of what they see coming. Please send maximum 500 words to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume 35 no 3 January – February 2021