May 6, 2012 § 1 Comment
Scratchy is now staticy. CD is now MP3. Analog evolved to composite and is, as I write this, HDMI. It will certainly not be that for long. Without a doubt in four weeks or six months, maybe even by tomorrow, things will change again. It is cliché knowledge that change is the only constant. The slant is whether evolution or change or adaptation or advancement really changes anything but perceived uniqueness. How much of an improvement are all these changes in format, technology, or acronyms really? All these things are on my mind, drifting around for a few days now, not coming together ’til the WI-FI glitches at one of my franchise hangouts and I am gently not allowed online.
Driving through skyscrapers, electric interference out my car speakers from the converter linked to my pocket computer, more commonly known as a Smartphone, my brood began. According to Ray Kurzweil we will not be encumbered to hold or carry smallish devices for too much longer because by 2029 it will be common to have the current updated version of yet, not too distant, inconceivable device implanted somewhere in our bodies. Science faction [sic]?
The first thing I thought about when changing lanes through Downtown, the shadows from the aforementioned architectural marvels hitting my face, hands, then left shoulder, was how similar the interference was to the hiss of the stylus as it amplified the recorded sounds from the grooves of what we called a record and LP (now, as most know, commonly known as vinyl or a 7 inch). The electric whir was in my ears identical as I drove by the MTA bus onto work. The cracks and pops brought me right back to my bedroom, my thumb and index finger gently resting the “needle” onto the spinning black plastic, my mother making Mexican style chorizo sausage with scrambled eggs in the adjacent kitchen.
The 1970s all over again, yet in the 21st century. Things have changed, yet they haven’t really. My Blu-Ray movie experience is sharper than what I remember VHS being, yet it’s really the same. The Smartphone app that mimics the 80s, Lo-Fi quality or the “resurgence” of vinyl is more than nostalgia. It’s a search for authentic, visceral expression, not polished, “eye-candy-esque” slickness. Over-produced, flawless performances of all kinds, literal and figurative, many times leave the human factor missing and highlight the mechanized, dystopian perception of the future present we live in. Who wants to be a machine.
Aside from the temporary “newness” of it all that undoubtedly is exciting for a little while or the geeky “that would be cool” factor, the overall experience is really not that different than it was with 8 track music or 8mm film. I would go further an say that those first experiences with media were the only real advances. Everything after has been an attempt to recapture that childhood fascination with technology. I am not sure if that näive, inexplainable and mysterious first time can ever be duplicated with the same intensity.
Maybe the next generation, upgrade or life changing gadget can bring back our lost childhood and fill the missing piece that we as 21st century beings didn’t know we had lost.
We are different people in our relationship with new media, no question. Can a reclaiming of that media innocence I blogged about ever be reanimated? I’d pay for that. Are you listening x.0 Start-Up?