What my digital cupboard and why I can’t see any other future

How has my relationship to media changed with constant access online and can I now throw out all my stuff?

The toy cupboard Project 365(2) Day 80

photo By Keith Williamson

This relationship to media has changed in a manner which I could never have predicted happening so soon. There were so much utopian talk when the Internet first hit home in 1998 (I know, some other people may have got there a little later). I really wanted the Internet to be that place where all my crap would go but it was just so slow and difficult back then.  14 years on and I feel I can see the future and it’s whatever I want whenever I want it, the Longtail in action.

Back then I went

  • Loads of galleries
  • Watched lots of films at cinemas
  • Plays at the National Theatre
  • Made a list of DVDs I wanted and found a great shop called Star video (with its encyclopedic geeky staff)
  • Burnt CDs from mates mixes or the library
  • Collected personal photos and cuttings from newspapers (back when they actually had Photojournalism and not lifestyle shots)
  • Stayed in when the TV was good or tried to work the VHS badly
  • Bought magazines which included DVDs of interesting videos
  • Read books and wrote out quotes

This was how the analogue world worked. The digital world was a slow Internet and a browser war that killed off any innovation.
Back then digital was

  • Postage sized video with blocks all over it that you waited 3 hours to see
  • E-mails which people didn’t understand how to abbreviate and thought where a place to send unfunny jokes on some sort sick version of chain mail
  • E-commerce that crashed your browser at the first opportunity

The only experience which really outdid the analogue world was computer games. I suppose it’s interesting that now I don’t play them any more

I suppose proof that the Internet really was an initial let down was my experience of trying to take Airmagazine online
This was a Scottish Arts Council funded project I put together with Colin Campbell and in a sense was digital, in that it was desktop published from the first issue. What wasn’t digital was the distribution and this I think is the gist of what I am getting at.

2011 is the year digital distribution has finally come of age and I truly believe it is going to change how we define spaces in our homes like front rooms and book shelves.

In the next part I will discuss what’s lost or gained in the digital cupboard and what I see working and not working in 2011 (HINT: I am not impressed with the iPad)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *