Inception, released July 16, 2010, from Warner Bros. and directed by Christopher Nolan
If a shift in cultural thinking can be judged by the current art of our times then the new movie, Inception, starring Leonardo diCaprio, is a good barometer for the current shift in modern consciousness. Just as the cold war, LSD and cable TV made an impact on our culture, currently we have a society of virtual and corporal reality.
It seems that the 'gamer' mentality has finally been interpreted into a mass media event after MANY false starts. What is interesting about Inception is the generational divide it has caused among viewers. This has been covered liberally in the media recently but it was apparent to me before I read a word of it in the press. People over forty would tell me they could barely stay awake during the film anyone under thirty would say it was the most brilliant work they have seen on a movie screen.
The difference in opinion seems to stem from the fact that kids are comfortable with multiple levels of visual reality and a constantly changing landscape due to their orientation to playing video games. People that have never had that experience can feel lost and unnerved by the constantly shifting point of view in Inception.
I think we have reached another crossroads in the development of art in our culture. It will be awhile before this is fully interpreted and assimilated but there is the possibility that art and science are going to overlap more than they have in the recent past.
The United States as a culture has not valued the contribution of the arts in recent years and while the economy has plummeted that has become more the rule than the exception. Perhaps art will find its way back into cultural importance through the back door of science and computer programming. For now I am content to watch Inception and speculate on where this is all headed.