Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Friday, April 20, 2012

Brand new you're retro: On Retromania

So I've just finished Retromania, by Simon Reynolds. You should read it. Not just because it's really good. Because, assuming I don't have a miner amongst my followers, you're involved in some sort of cultural production. And it is a very important book about the state of cultural production right now. The summary of Reynolds' argument is:
In the analogue era, everyday life moved slowly... but the culture as a whole felt like it was surging forward. In the digital present, everyday life consists of hyper-acceleration and near-instantaneity.... but on the macro-cultural level things feel static and stalled. We have this paradoxical combination of speed and standstill.
I don't pretend to have any answers to this. I'm not sure it's even a *problem*, as such. But I'm sure some of you will chime with his observation about 'the slow but steady fading of the artistic imperative to be original.' Maybe those of us doing things for a commercial impact now have to accept that 'newness' and 'originality' are now effectively busted flushes, broken tools. And all we can do is get better at combining and re-combining stuff, chopping and splicing things together in unexpected ways. For example, I'd love to see a 'remix' of Nike ads that slices together, say, all the end frames to create something like this, the legendary 'Intro Inspection': Or we retreat into a glitchy nostalgia, as evidenced by a track and video like this:

PRIZES - "Canada" from Jamie Harley on Vimeo.

Perhaps the future - salvation? - lies in something like The New Aesthetic. But which brand might be brave enough, apart from Google, to start acknowledging our trans-humanist future?

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