Friday, February 15, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen, Polaroid...instant art moves on

Polaraude..., originally uploaded by Cookiemouse.

We must say goodbye to the Polaroid picture as the company announces that it will be ceasing production of the film for its cameras. The technology that produced this picture is what brought it to an end. Digital is instant so the demand for instant film has disappeared. Nowadays we upload via our mobile phones. The image has become ubiquitous. Yet it was Polaroid that first got rid of the middle man and allowed us to see our pictures just after we took them. Speed mattered more than quality. When I was small I had my picture taken at the beach with my mother(left) and my aunt. The photographer sent us the picture later, through the post. Polaroid changed all that, and now, like the cassette tape Walkman and the VCR, has become part of the history of technology.

The ability to produce instant content and publish it from just about anywhere is one of the forces that is driving the information revolution. Words and images become memes that spread virally, self organizing and building new connections. Sonia is back blogging and has posted a book meme, which is also a form of instant art that depends upon the speed of the spread of ideas. Most of my philosopher friends are not post-modernists, but somehow the news of the demise of the Polaroid after such a short period (around forty years) does leave me in a mood to deconstrust my world view and to realize how transient it is.
My Polaroid Blog

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