Design Drama

documenting the delicate dance of design

Is today’s ease of communication and creation a blessing or curse to the next generation? April 11, 2008

I’ve been thinking lately about the digital age and our methods of communication — the whole thought process stemmed from this post regarding the fact that we have so many forms to instantly connect with the people that surround our friendships and professional lives, yet even as we are so readily available, and always connected, these “convenient” methods of communication cut us off as we now communicate via words, rather than the sounds of voices.

In emails with a cousin of mine to exchange photos of family and learn about the genealogy, I recently acquired some of my paternal grandparent’s letters — they sit here on my desktop, scanned in – I never knew them, but reading the letters and viewing the handwriting tells me that my dad’s handwriting evolved from his dad’s and that my grandmother was a very strong woman as she was already out in the field tending to the corn crop less than one month after giving birth to my father. I’m incredibly lucky to have these letters, but it’s due to the time they were written, (May, 1936) the lack of technology — in that age, snail mail was the main exchange medium of the day. Those letters and their survival started me thinking about how our current forms of communication could be lost — how many emails that will be crucial to the next generation – my grandchildren, should i have them? Will they be able to view these one day? Will they be in a database for my grandchildren, and their grandchildren to download?

Will my grandchildren and their offspring be able to one day access this blog and have some understanding, some semblance of the person I was, even if they never met me? Will the external hard drive that I back stuff up to one day be passed down from one offspring to another, to sort through all the stuff sitting on there? Will it be a wealth of information as to the person I was and the life I led?

What about all the electronic versions of art? Just think for a second how much art today is being produced that is disposable? How many artists, in a fit of “this sucks!!!!!” will hit the delete button only to dispose of some great masterpiece that would otherwise be meaningful to the world at large? And those pieces might have been the one element of artwork that would inspire the next great artist to create the next electronic version of Guernica or Mona Lisa? I find that really sad… in that the digital palate not only enhances our ability to create art, but it also limits our ability to edit ourselves in a manner which cheats the next person from viewing, or the next great artist from being influenced. I’m a big believer in “there are no mistakes” in the creation of art. That is, a really crappy design can somehow give birth to something really incredible, as ideas are constantly evolving.

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