Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Virilio, "Open Sky," Part 3

Virilio opens by questioning what makes a real tree. This reminds me of an earlier post reviewing an article by Sturken and Cartwright questioning the meaning of images. Virilio argues the importance of his question, since it will determine how we view photographs moving forward. He also refers to the "overexposure of the visible of the age of image animation" in light of the underexposure of the written word, which is reminiscent of Carr's article about Google. This again reminds me of an earlier post about the decline of academic reading in response to Carr's article.

Back to the Future

The way that we see the world has changed considerably, even since the invention of the light. Before that, humans could only see the world from ground level, in the light of the day, for the time they were looking. Today, with satellite images and airplanes, with night vision and cities that light up, with still pictures and videos, images have been forever and irrecoverably changed, as has our ability to view them. Animated GIFs, or moving pictures (eerily similar to the way photographs are depicted in Harry Potter), are a fairly recent innovation that have changed the Internet yet again. Like Carr argues, I believe that they have been detrimental to the written word by making online lists even more appealing. 

However, despite their detriment to literacy, GIFs are an interesting step towards the future of imagery. They can be entertaining (as they often are on Buzzfeed's lists) or can be utilized as a helpful tool for learning. For example, this is an animated GIF of a model of DNA; it is better than a still picture because it shows how bases are added and in what pattern, and some would argue that it is better than a video because it shows the same motion over and over so students can more clearly see and remember how it works.

Of course, as many inventions perfect for educational use, they can also be turned into entertainment. It is this that has the potential to cause a problem for the future of images. I am starting to find animated GIFs more interesting to look at than regular pictures. Do you believe that these moving pictures will eventually lead to the extinction of still pictures or will they always have a place in our world? If GIFs were to overrun still photographs, do you think that would be detrimental to society?

No comments:

Post a Comment