Archive for July 2012

Dearest Readers,

Broken Silences has received its first bit of press. Please read and enjoy!

Yours in Art,

Jason

http://woonsocket.patch.com/articles/steamy-exhibit-opens-tonight-at-stage-right-studio

It has been far too long since I have written in this blog. My apologies.

Dearest Readers,

I must say that the trials and tribulations of day to day life and the reliance I have on technology set me to thinking. Thinking about when I was in high school twenty odd years ago. Was life truly simpler in a day and age of no immediate connectivity? The reasoning behind this train of thought was simple. I am a steampunk. We go through life in this genre thinking of the Victorian age as a golden era of craftsmanship and technological wonderment. Reflecting upon this, I took into account my own life as a teen in the 80’s and a young man in the 90’s.

In the short time I have lived, technology has boomed beyond the dreams of humankind. I know we’re all wondering “where’s my flying car and ray gun?” But let’s look seriously at what we’ve achieved since 1992 – a mere 20 years ago:

The internet – with its ever evolving organic nature has supplanted nearly all other forms of communication – this blog case in point. It has given us the ability to cross oceans and speak with people face to face, share information and art, ideas and concepts that before its inception would have never seen the outside of ones own personal circle of friends. Now are circles are widened in scope and although the term “friend” is looser now thanks to facebook, those acquaintances we’ve made through social media have changed all of our lives. so piece two segue…

Social Media – it can be argued that this is a plague on society and interpersonal relations. Let’s be honest, for some it is. But utilized properly it is an amazing tool for new live interpersonal contact. I have made more actual people face to face through conversations initiated in social media during the last two years than I have in years. Let’s not forget the power of reconnection. I have now been able to chat with folks and friends from my youth that I missed but would never have been able to find otherwise using analog means. The benefits of talking through type or skype instantaneously with people for business and friendship is enormous. That brings us to the object we all take very for granted – cellular phones.

Cell Phones – I can remember breaking down on a highway in 1992 meant walking to the nearest town or exit and praying there would be a pay phone then praying again that a collect call would be accepted on the other end of the line so you’d get some help. Now, I sit in my car and have conversations over my bluetooth to family, clients, students, friends and I don’t even think twice that I may break down and not be able to get help. The worst case scenario is you have no battery life or signal in the middle of nowhere. Then we’re back to where we were 20 years ago. But honestly, there are few places signals are not available. Where they are you can use devices that incorporate all three of the recently mentioned pieces of technology.

Smart Phones/Devices – if you had told me in 1992 that I’d be able to hold a computer in my hand more powerful than a room full of desktops at my university, I would have thought you watched a little too much Star Trek. Now here I am knee deep in the “i” technology with my iPhone, iPod, iTunes, iBooks, etc. My colleagues work with iPads in their arms and there isn’t a single person I know that can function in business or school without a laptop. The smart devices are the utter culmination of our technology. The ability to use portable computers is very much a Star Trek thing. I am as big a geek as they come and Star Trek was a religious experience for my friends and I in high school. The tablets, communicators, touch screen computers that 20 years ago were the science fiction I dreamed about are all now science fact. The big question is what are we doing with it?

Well, for those of you that think technology and internet devices are the realm of satan himself, let me assure you that you are wrong. Like all tools, in the wrong hands they are deadly, take for instance a pen. You can start a war with a well written word using nothing but a simple pen. In the Victorian era, that was all it took. However, that pen was relatively single function. It could only record physically what you thought. Emergency personnel not be able to use a pen to analyze the components of an accident in an instant and form a conclusive course of action with individuals involved in said accident based on the data your pen could access concerning their medical needs. Police officers could not attain instant photographic information to aid in the capture of a criminal while on the beat from a pen.

So in the wrong hands, credit thieves, perverts and creeps, and criminals of all kinds now have a new tool to create havoc. In the Victorian age crime and horrors did still exist, but were far harder to solve. I propose that with current technology, Jack the Ripper would have easily been routed out before so many kills had taken place.

Perhaps this is why I do so love the steampunk genre. Taking the technology from the now, which I find wonderful and miraculous, combined with the high level of craftsmanship of an age gone by is a concept I am very enamored with. I’ve spoken to the punk side of the disposable nature of our current state, but I am still confident that with proper use the wonders we have developed over the last 20 years will continue to enrich our lives. If we let them. Remember that the Victorian era gave us freedom of thought and technology we would be lost without such as electricity. Let’s not let the technology we have today be considered anything less than a tool for positive change and a mind-opening possibility.

Yours in Art,

Jason