For the last several decades, most of my ideas have come from markings on wood pulp, specifically newspapers. And even though it’s now becoming almost unconscionable to sacrifice trees for the purpose of disseminating information, we’re missing out on something in the loss of the traditional newspaper format.
We’re missing an element of randomness and surprise that comes from scanning the sheets of a good newspaper full of a wide range of engaging opinion and well-researched, original subject matter. When we're used to flipping through the pages numerically, we come across whole areas of information that we're not looking for.
For most of my adult life this has involved a routine of morning coffee, three or four daily newspapers, the sharing of sections, and a lot of bitching over what’s missing from stories or the paper. It ends with tearing out a few items to share with others or add to my over-stuffed sketchbook, then bringing the stack of papers downstairs to drop on a neighbour’s doormat.
It all sounds so quaint now, and we’re fighting the losing battle to get our content without plunking screens down at the kitchen table. In fact, anecdotal evidence tells me that the rise of new media over tactile media has all but eclipsed the whole breakfast-table routine.
Newspapers were my entry point into an early understanding of public art, the global art market and art history. I would never have any awareness of the issues under those categories if I had solely relied on new media and its format of reading by topic. That method will instantly get me to what I’m looking for, but I won’t get what I’m not looking for.
I’m already mourning the stimulating visual experience of opening up the paper to a clutter of photos and fonts, opinions and statistics. I’m still clutching on to the clipping habit, still passing around pieces of paper, but I’m also getting sucked into art aggregators like Colossal and Collacubed.
We used to wait for it
Now we're screaming ‘Sing the chorus again!’
(Click the arrow below to hear the song that says it all)