Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I'm glad somebody thinks about this stuff......

     This has set up the current culture clash between the People of the Book and the People of the Screen.  The People of the Book today are the good hard-working people who make newspapers, magazines, the doctrines of law, the offices of regulations, and the rules of finance.  They live by the book, by the authority derived from authors.  The foundation of this culture is ultimately housed in texts.  They are all on the same page, so to speak.
     The immense cultural power of books emanated from the machinery of reproduction.  Printing presses duplicated books quickly, cheaply and faithfully.  Even a butcher might own a copy of Euclid's Elements, or the Bible, and so printed copies illuminated the minds of citizens beyond the gentry.  This same transformative machinery of reproduction was applied to art and music, with equivalent excitation.  Printed copies of etchings and woodcuts brought the genius of visual art to the masses.  Cheaply copied diagrams and graphs accelerated science.  Eventually, inexpensive copies of photography and recorded music spread the reproductive imperative of the book even wider.  We could churn out cheap art and music as fast as books.
     This reproductive culture has, in the last century or so, produced the greatest flowering of human achievement the world has ever seen, a magnificent golden age of creative works.  Cheap physical copies have enabled millions of people to earn a living directly from the sale of their art to the audience, without the weird dynamic of having to rely on patronage. ...

     But today most of us have become People of the Screen.  People of the Screen tend to ignore the classic logic of books or the reverence for copies;  they prefer the dynamic flux of pixels.  They gravitate toward movie screens, TV screens, computer screens, iPhone screens, VR goggle screens, tablet screens, and in the near future massive Day-Glo megapixel screens plastered on every surface.  Screen culture is a wold of constant flux, of endless sound bites, quick cuts, and half-baked ideas.  It is a flow of tweets, headlines, instagrams, causal texts, and floating first impressions.  Notions don't stand alone but are massively interlinked to everything else; truth is not delivered by authors and authorities but is assembled in real time piece by piece by the audience themselves.  People of the Screen make their own content and construct their own truth.

-Kevin Kelly,  The Inevitable

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