The fence between fans and artists are becoming ever easier to jump. From Taylor Swift sending her fans cheques and homemade paintings to TLC powering up a kickstarter full of personal pledges, I swear soon we’ll actually be able to look popstars directly in the eyes. But why exactly do the mysterious luminaries of music culture suddenly care so much more about each and every one of us?
Over in Somerset House in London right now, PJ Harvey has created Recording in Progress: an art piece which captures the conception of an album by constructing a studio to record in, with one way glass, located in the basement of the venue. Critics have described it as being a portrait of the artist “in real time”. “Real time” in this case, equals 45-minute arranged viewing periods for which fans pay £15 a pop.
The hope is that anyone, normal people, can glimpse the evidential magic that is art being made: the repetition of a chorus maybe, someone saying “what?” over the sound of a guitar being tuned, a person holding a large wire, PJ Harvey pontificating over drum tracks she will later decide to re-record. That’s a best case scenario. At worse, it’ll just be Harvey peeling an orange as she waits for a mixdown to export. But for all the lack of spectacle, you can imagine the profits are quite considerable, as crowd after crowd of ticket buyers are ushered in for their moment of voyeuristic fandom.