Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The ubiquitous 'skip' and 'like' buttons...

I sometimes wish we could turn off all the 'skip' and 'like' buttons in our lives. To access something in a simple linear fashion as conceptualised by it's creator is a laborious exercise that, for most, involves genuine 'monk-like' discipline.

A classic example of the fight against the concept of random access is that of Pink Floyd's dispute with EMI/iTunes.

Pink Floyd, together with other bands, has issue with the idea that 'concept' albums could be divided up and sold as individual songs. This compromised the artistic integrity of the creative 'object' and, in Pink Floyd's case at least, contravened several contractual clauses.

Once you factor in the idea of 'shuffling' as well it becomes even more muddied.

So how does this affect creative 'consumption'? How do artists account for the idea that their work can often be consumed in widely diverse environments, often in association with other works that the artist might find problematic?

I'm not advocating that the viewing experience be regulated (as in this concept from June last year) but considering the amount of effort many of us put into the 'reading' of work, it's not hard to be frustrated by the 'skimmers'.

And - as it's a personal itch - the collective 'we' are no longer 'writers' or 'thinkers' but rather half-blind 'referrers' or 'forward on-ers'... eventually everyone will just refer everything on - or 'like' it - and the world with collapse in an existential lump.

This is especially problematic as many don't check their 'sources' and often forward on stuff from 'dodgy' sources. Classic examples of this are to be found in scholarly articles where people have not authenticated that which they quote only to be caught out by politically motivated texts.

This twitching, writhing mass will simply continuously mumble 'like me, like me, why don't you like me?' under it's breath.

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