Monday, March 3, 2008

Digital surplus creates analog demand?

Two cool videos making the rounds lately with an interesting thing in common.

The first is an awesome music video for Shitdisco’s song “OK.”

The second is a short film from Job & Roel Wouters out of Amsterdam called “abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz” (which I either don’t get or think is just OK).

The technology to create either video was available decades ago. Further, the performances themselves would have been possible centuries ago. And yet the Internet is the only reason we’re seeing them and may be the only reason we care.

There’s obviously some cool stuff in the world that, because of the limitations of technology, media or audience haven’t been distributed in the past. There simply was no feasible distribution model. Web 2.0 (and the Long Tail) changes that, obviously, but it seems like it’s taking us a while to realize it and take advantage of it.

As we’re exposed more and more to high-resolution imagery, 3D modeling and virtual worlds, these things become more familiar, more expected, but also more boring. At the same time, handcrafted objects seem to be becoming more and more eye-catching.

But I would argue they only hold this power while on the Internet. I’m no more interested in crafts today than I was two years ago. No more likely to stop at the farmer’s market to browse handmade items. But there’s often something magical about the collision of craft-y stuff and the Internet.

This reminded me of something my friend Brandon Geary said in his presentation at last year's Avenue A | Razorfish Client Summit, concerning his observations of flipbook activity on Conde Nast’s “The flipbooks that seem to be getting the most views are the ones that look the most analog. Sketches, simple designs, simple photos...”

Perhaps this gets back to authenticity. By which I mean original-ness. One-of-a-kind-ness. With the increased power of digital animation, and the increased ability to create things that look amazing with less effort, comes an understanding that there’s less special-ness to these things.

People want special, and they always will.

ShitDisco via obsessivecompulsive
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz via the Denver Egotist

1 comment:

Ben said...

The Shitdisco video is awesome. Your point reminds me of why I always like Michel Gondry's music videos.

His work utilized a lot of simple in-camera effects and scaling devices to create complex plays on time and space without any digital animation.

They felt homemade and, in your word, special.

Two great examples: