Brian Eno had some interesting comments on genius vs “scenius” at the Sydney Luminous Festival: there was sometimes very fertile scenes involving lots and lots of people – some of them artists, some of them collectors, some of them curators, thinkers, theorists, people who were fashionable and knew what the hip things (bandwagon?) were – all sorts of people who created a kind of ecology of talent. And out of that ecology arose some wonderful work... The period that I was particularly interested in, ’round about the Russian revolution, shows this extremely well.
Rich frontier idea. Contrast with Kelly’s idea 2008-06-28-KellyScenius (and Eno’s) that it’s mostly social. Summarize our view: it’s both social and frontier-based. More important than talent. Scenius and the adjacent possible. Is the internet still a rich frontier?
I think most people don’t move around enough. I like the Witten-Eno model. We make these enormous decisions about what to work on, when we don’t know anything about how to choose. And then we stay in the same area. We quickly hit the point of diminishing returns, and don’t refresh ourselves or our netowkrs. Our networks age and (creatively) atrophy. This becomes something more like: “How should scenius factor into creative decisions?”
But the moral of the Florence Renaissance is that it’s better to be moderately talented and in the right place at the right time than to be supremely talented and in the wrong place at the wrong time.