The Elephant in the Room
"There will be no records or CDs on the shelves of the future, few if any books," writes Sven Birkerts. "Everything will live in bits, in files — and how can this not modify the general atmosphere? We are removing the physical markers of culture from our collective midst. For a record store was not just a place to get records, as a bookstore was not only for finding the needed read. These were sites where the love of music and literature announced themselves across a spectrum of tastes. And though they were commercial entities, these emporia also symbolized the presence, the value, of their product to the community." Read more.
Does the dematerialization of the arts—of books, music, movies and the stores and spaces they once occupied—signify something darker? The end of a deeper and more primal tie to material things in general? Did these everyday objects (soon-to-be artifacts) of our existence tie us into nature and does our newfound existence in the cloud presage an even greater age of alienation?