I think the layering you touch upon a couple of times - specifically with regards to how Europe functions as a layered culture with shared elements and unique elements - is perhaps the key to all of this. That onion skinning of culture, whereby you're able to drill down into increasingly small and specific niches, while also zooming out to a pan-continental shared culture, is the ideal situation.

It feels like we're in the middle of a significantly disruptive era for arts and culture. Society is in upheaval and *at the same time* methods of creation and distribution are ALSO being upended. We're already seeing reactions to that, as the broader society becomes cognisant of the bits they like and the bits they don't like. After a decade of unbridled social networking expansion, it feels like we're on the cusp of something slightly different. The subtle (slow, slow, FAST) shift towards small networks, such as on Substack, on Discord and the leaning towards group-based conversations, indicates to me that we're starting to see that layering of global culture. After the explosion of the last twenty years, perhaps we're moving into a more manageable situation where the cultural layering you describe can start to re-assert itself?

In some ways that's the ideal: zoom out and you can have broad cultural agreement, those major touchstones you refer to, while still being able to zoom in to find your own tribe. That's an optimistic reading of how the internet could evolve over the next two decades, at least.

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Aug 12, 2022Liked by G. M. Baker

I love this and it's beautiful. I really resonate with so much of this, especially the education piece and trying to drill art down to subgenres. It's slowly like society is beginning to mimic algorithms in this weird coproductive cycle. I have hope that Simon is highlighting a trend that will continue to have an impact on culture. For sure, it's one I've sought to bring into my own cultural influences.

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