We live in a cyberpunk dystopia. Some people might quibble because there aren’t enough lazertacular synth pop jams and airbrush art, but they just haven’t looked at the right spots on Bandcamp and Soundcloud and such. It is the time for cyberpunk. Cyberpunk comes out of rebellion against oppression – corporate fascist oppression trying to turn us all into burnt out zombie consumers, laboring on treadmills until our bones grind to a halt, heads plugged into virtual reality to avoid the sad sight of the lives they have left to us.
Disney has always been at the vanguard of oppression in the creative sphere, and have finally cemented their monopoly status. Epcot Center is The Death Star for vital and socially relevant art. Pew pew. Kablooey. Nobody will be able to compete at their level. But what about making art below that level? What about tha streetz?
There was a time when Star Wars and comic book movies and such could be at least kinda liberal. The first Star Wars in particular was very much antifascist, even while it cribbed some imagery from Triumph des Willens. Now that the noose has tightened, we’ll see more playing it safe, more bland bullshit riding the creepy side of the political center – and never doing anything to offend the censors in Beijing while they’re at it.
What interests me is the potential for independent art to take the inspiration of those stories and use it to create something else. Nobody’s really tried to capitalize on the success of Star Wars with an equivalent spirit of fun and adventure since the various B movies around the first one. Shit like Ice Pirates and Starcrash. Nowadays all it would take to make a good funtimes antifa scifi adventure is for some theater kids from the fine art school to join forces with computer graphics fuckos from the commercial art school. Get on it, people.
Superhero stuff would be even easier because you could set it on modern-day earth and not have to create all your sets in CG. Chronicle had a budget of $12 million (peanuts to the studios these days), which was probably pretty heavily invested in the actors and Hollyweird apparatus. Not much of that budget made it to the screen – something like it could have been made for a lot less.
That’s just talking about the genres we’ve come to expect from the big boys. Horror and arthouse and all kinds of movies can get made if people get the gumption. Maybe all it will take is for Monopoly Mouse to keep disappointing our asses just a little longer. They’ve already inspired a massive wave of piracy. Classic cyberpunk. Now let’s see if they inspire some real art too.