Monday, May 31, 2010

In a Big Rush To Go...where?

iPhones. iPads. iMovies. iMmediacy.

Looking at the iPad (which looks great...I want one), I thought of ALL the features that are to supposedly "free up" and maximize our time....ebooks, infinite and instant music access, email, downloadable movies....just what are we doing with all this extra time we're supposed to be getting?

When was the last time you actually wrote a letter to someone? With pen and paper...? I saw an exhibition of the works of Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his sons Pierre and Jean here in Tokyo. The last piece was a handwritten letter written by one of his sons. The letter was nothing more than, "Hello papa, I'm taking a walk with my son today and I'm thinking of you." Simple, poignant, and most of all tangible because it was written with his own hand. A precious moment (now historical because of these two great artists) that we had the the privilege to share.

Imagine what would have been lost if that was sent as a text message.

Filmmaker Ken Burns noted the things that we appreciate most....accrue in duration. "The things we have given our best attention to.....the human eye can receive an image in a fraction of a second, MTV tells us that all the time. But what does that mean? Does it have meaning at all? I'm suggesting it doesn't."

People are not being allowed to really to digest. To fully taste.

That magic you feel when you give your FULL attention to a film you're watching has been lost to stopping it anytime you want, uploading it to your iPhone or iPad and watching the rest on the way to work. Think of your favorite movie going experience. (Do people have these anymore??) During that time you were a "captive" for those two hours. No pause. No fast forward.

If you had stories read to you as a child. It was somewhat magical in a way. Because you couldn't stop the story or fast forward it. You had to take it in and listen. And we did so very willingly.

I predict at some point people and the way they decide to receive media HAS to slow down.

I wonder if this is contributing to the fact that movies are so superficial these days. Are filmmakers developing their films with the mindset that ultimately their works will be reduced to iTunes content? Bad movie or not, even I don't think J.J. Abrams wanted people's first experience with "Star Trek" to be on an iPod, much less an iPad.

That was one brilliant thing about Disney (can't seem to make a blog post without mentioning Disney) re-releasing films only once every seven years created a sense of "magic". The fact you had to wait until the next time came to theaters made people's anticipations higher and their memory of the film even greater. Reducing it to a 700MB. file gives people kind of "disposable ownership". And it's easily disregarded.

Anyway, next time you come away hyped from the last movie trailer you just saw, or fast cut movie --- try asking, "What did all that mean?"

"No, no, don't cut (away)....look. Hold...hold. The meaning accrues in duration."
- Ken Burns

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