Is there any longer a reason to designate media as “digital?” That our news and entertainment come to us online now is a given. Marshall McLuhan would say we’re blinded by the omnipresence of the internet — to us, it’s synonymous with information.
Here’s proof: doing things offline –in other words, reality– is now a movement: D.I.Y., Maker, crafting. “Because we are benumbed by any new technology,” McLuhan said, “we tend to make the old environment more visible; we do so by turning it into an art form.” An art form that we then, ironically, share online.
The Analog-ist is a new Flip the Media column shared by Betsy Hauenstein and I that seeks to explore the implications of the offline world as a movement, defined against our screen time. Is “offline” a physical place or a state of mind? If you always carry a smart phone or think in status update syntax, can you even get there? We’ll seek to answer the question of whether the internet has rewired our brains through a closer look at the crafts, machines, people, and places that exist beyond the screen.
One of my favorite examples of offline culture is Portland’s Independent Publishing Resource Center, about which I made a short film in the MCDM’s Digital Media Storytelling class in 2010. It tells the story of how cartoonist Jesse Reklaw connected to Portland’s creative community by collaborating with others in person at this nonprofit: