|You Now or "You Now"?|
What's happened to the present tense? Hardly a new question, I acknowledge. Since behemoth cameras a hundred years ago began freezing older generations in grimly-smiling poses and more recently the portable moving camera began documenting the family trip to Disney World, some have wondered about the growing disconnect between the moment as lived and the moment as recorded. What's remarkable now (if increasingly unremarkable to note) is the array of choices that we have in recording the present, the ease and immediacy with which we can document our now and play back our past into our present. OK, I'll bite: what was that woman experiencing? The ride, or the compulsion to record? Both! But I insist that multi-tasking is a myth concocted by the telecommunications industry. Read, talk, drive, text, listen: something has to give. No different with the woman flying through the intersection: she lives; she records; something gives.
Fearing hopeless and tiresome Luddite-ity, I'll acknowledge that this is the New Present. A redefined present, one that has lost a share of its personal value if not rewound, stored, shared, uploaded. Be present, press record. Play back. And that's fine: we all want a record of what we've seen, of where we've been, to cherish later, to divide or multiply with the algorithm of nostalgia. But that woman looked pretty ludicrous bouncing in the seat of that creaky, bicycle-drawn carriage holding her iPad out in front of her like a kind of transparent shield, yielding but deflecting. At least, I wanted to say, press record and look up.
At a show I'll hold up my iPhone, snap a pic (I don't want to miss this), look down, scroll, nod, frown at the poor flash, compare. What'd I miss?
iPad image via Alexia.