Sunday, January 15, 2006

Media transition

Recently I attended a panel at the MLA ( modern language association) conference. I want to let you know that the new buzz word in the academic world ( which I am obviously not a part of) is: TRANS. I recall a few years ago hearing people say META this and META that now it is trans this and trans that.. Here are some of the phrases I heard that involved the word trans, transpoltical, transnational,transgender,transpersonal, transethnic, transculture, transhistorical , ( I was writing this down), of course of my personal favorite TRANSHUMAN. I really do not have a lot to say about the trans issue other then I thought it was funny to hear trans thrown around like a gilded roll of toilet paper. I am hooked on a new word now that has as it's root TRANS, the word is transition. What a word indeed. So what I am interested in currently is the TRANSition between someone using the 8 track cassette to the tape cassette to the CD to the MP3 player, isn't that something to think about ? I think a person of my generation is one who can actually say that they have used all of the previously mention mediums .I am leaving the LP out of the loop as it is a reference item, something that people always refer, nothing compares to listening to wax, says the cyrptster. A cyrptster is an aging hipster, can be spotted wearing a sonic youth shirt ( with baby puke on the shoulder), wears horned rimmed glasses, dock martin shoes or sometimes chuck taylors, likes to say that they are tired of irony. If this is you please do not be offended. Back to the media issue, so we can remember when CD's first came out and the record labels package the CD's in long boxes so they record stores could place the CD's in the bins that were designed to hold LP's right, and the big stink about how the record companies shouldn't be packaging the CD's this was because it was harmful to the environment, and the record companies saying that they were only packaging to meet the demands of the record stores, and the record stores fought back and said they couldn't afford to change all of the bin's to fit CD's without losing everything. STING of all people was the first artist with bestselling album THE SOULCAGES, who stood up to the record companies and SAID NO MORE, my album will not be released in the cardboard packaging to be fit into record bin's remember this because I was living in Las Vegas the year that the album came out. I used to walk to this record store on the strip, a few blocks down from the old frontier. I was so excited about all of the hype about the album, after reading the review of it in rollingstone magazine ( I did not have much of a life in Vegas) anyhow I raced down to the record store the day the album was released and couldn't find it on the shelf, I was surprised to learn that his album was not packaged in the little cardboard box like the others WOW, sting wanted to help the rainforest and he meant it. This is media in transition, that moment when we switched from records to CD's and did not have a clue about what the fuck to do about how to even sell them. This is something I think needs more study. If we remember back to our good friend Marshall McLuhan who said " We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into
the future."

It is usually after the fact the we realize what we should do have done in the present, so if you want to predict the future learn about the past. So I think by looking at the history of media one can learn about what the next trend in media will be. I think right now that the current casing of the digital camera is something like the faux leather on your car. Why does the maker of the car insist on making the leather look as if it was actually sewn ? It is molded in plastic to look as if there is sewn leather in your car, just plain and simple bizarre right ? Not really if you think about how people would have freaked out if the came into a record store tomorrow and the said "we now only have music downloading stations that you can plug your audio prosthesis(mp3 player) into" I do think that people would have a cow, first one of my big gripes about downloading music (paying to download music) is that if my machine crashes I have no way to back of those files, I could spend hundred of dollars downloading songs from ITUNES (make sure to follow the itunes link)and then crash goes my prosthetic brain ( laptop computer). I think I will concentrate for a bit on the history of music composing software, its GUI and how people interact with the changes in GUI. I also wanted to not that, the same year that Stings soul cages album came out I also purchased among many other albums Sonic Youths GOO, and oddly enough one of the memebers of that band has recently put together a book about the history of the mixtape culture, check it out on the sonicyouth website you can listen to mixtapes that the band put together or tapes that were given to them.