Over the past few years we’ve seen a reemergence of vinyl records and a growing popularity of filters on Instagram. Members of other generations (i.e. my father) have reacted to this trend with a large amount of eye rolling. We’ve made all this progress in the hopes of getting a perfect and clear sound and image. Why would we want to not use it? I have an app that’s purpose is to add dust marks to a photo. Is it nostalgia for a part of the past we only got a small taste of? Is it a need to grab on to the physical world that we rarely get to experience at this time?
Imperfections hold our attention.
What a great question. We could talk for hours or simply say—yes/no, both. Steampunk, DIY in archaic tech and craft, slow culture, etc. etc. Perfection, ideals, Modernist abstractions vs. the organic and human/humane. More. Inline with your question but not intended, today I’ve posted images of print ephemera from the 1800s+ and an interview with a Dutch map maker who strives for clarity and a perfection. Let’s add this archived interview to the mix/Matrix: http://web.archive.org/web/20070318004521/http://www.empyree.org/divers/Matrix-Baudrillard_english.html
Everything looks nicer when marinated in time. I get chills and teary eyed nostalgia from nearly any 60s-80s chart topper, and I didn’t even exist until 1993. My favourite movies are Jim Henson’s The Labyrinth, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and A Clockwork Orange. I know that there are movies that are better filmed, better written, better directed, but I love the kitsch vignette of yesterdecade.
It’s that human sentiment that anything other than what you have feels more exciting.
It’s also a matter of comfort.
Things that are too crisp and pointy threaten us on a primal level.
Those crackles coming from the turntable speakers remind us that this album has already been recorded, judged, established, rated, bought, sold, and listened to. None of those responsibilities belong to you now, you can just experience it.
You don’t have to break in your jeans if you get them from Goodwill.
There’s also the matter of tangibility.
You can’t touch the .m4as and .mp3s on your iPod, but you can shake that Surfin’ USA cassette and hear the tape and reels rattle around. You can stick the tip of your finger through the holes and scrape it up on the teeth as you try to wind it to the perfect tension.
Sure, you’re kind of careful with your iPhone, but you’re going to hold that Yellow Submarine vinyl like it is the infant body of the messiah because you know that if you drop it, you won’t be able to play it anymore, thus massively elevating its prestige beyond something you download for $1.29 a track.
Then there is the matter of expanding your concept of your life, and living vicariously. We as humans have this incredible ability to record, relay, and relive. I don’t have to settle for just experiencing my life, because I can pick up a book, or go to 4chan, watch a movie, or log into facebook and be somebody else for a moment and a half. It’s not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with my life as it is, but I, like most people (I think, I hope,) have this insatiable need to constantly intake and learn to feel progression in life.
There’s an approximately 15-year window during which a trend is solely “dated” and dead and cannot yet have a comeback. After that, anything is entirely fair game. American Apparel and Urban Outfitters sell mom jeans.
Or at least, that’s how I’ve managed to rationalize it. I’m open to debate, nothing is concrete here.