Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ignoring our nose to spite our face

What information are we not seeking?
R-O-B/Structural Oscillations
NYC Dept of Transportation
Creative Commons license
What feedback delays are we not paying attention to?
What incentives are we ignoring?

As well and artistically fantastic as subsidization is (through direct patronage or tax relief), it harms our organization and system because it severely weakens or removes several feedback flows necessary to a stable structure.

-the oscillations of ticket sales do not provide a reinforcing loop to performance decisions (when, where, what, marketing)
-the constant stock of free labor serves to reinforce the dangerous growth of itself, of unpaid labor
-the reasons companies collapse are ignored because of ease of new company creation

Yes, artistic growth can be hampered by the vagaries of market forces inclining artists to make comfortable choices.

But it is also stymied by an inefficient support structure that is incapable of properly responding to market forces.

Too little of a good thing is as problematic as too much.


  1. Like you, I distrust the system of subsidy, mainly because it is reliant on the wealthy and powerful. However, I must also admit that I find the market objectionable as well, because it sees art as a commodity to be sold rather, which also seems problematic. After all, he for-profit theater isn't doing any better than non-profit, and the garbage it produces is proof that the market corrupts. The alternative? I'm not certain, although I do find glimmers of possibility when I look at churches.

    1. I'll have to give thought to churches, Scott. I was looking purely at a "how do theaters get and respond to information" angle for this one. I think we see the two extremes playing out: because we rely on "donations" nonprofit theater produces dreck that no audiences care about, no matter how powerful the writing/acting/piece. Whereas in the commercial theater, shows are little better than most television today, pandering to the widest possible audience [that can afford tickets]. But here we get back looking at events, NOT the system itself.