When I was a just a boy I ran wild, held back only when I might hurt myself or others. Much like a feral cat or dog I’d explore, get into trouble, things & situations I was never meant to discover. There is this same sense of wonder & fascination I still possess from all those years ago.
It was early in life I imagined a life far more advanced than the world I was actually living. So what, I pretended.Why did I ask for & receive a typewriter for Christmas when I was 8 years old? To start a newspaper and I did. The Irwin House Happenings had a very limited circulation. Nevertheless, it did have… one. Thanks to the keys of a machine.
Fast forward a few years… An 8-track player and turntable came built into the bedroom set in my bedroom. They were crazy devices that didn’t call out like sirens. I fell deeply in love with self-expression through older music technology. Since I was essentially forced to study & play piano as young boy my interest in ‘composition’ was not reserved for just the sonic art that filled my sheet music & my mind. It extended into the otherwise mundane little details of the ivory colored busts lining my bedroom window sill… each one a different composer: Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc.
I was learning to speak with my hands through the keys of another machine. This time it sounded much different than the first. Little did I know it would happen again and the third time it would change my world.
It was music I again that I have to thank for pulling me in… otherwise I might not ever have started working and loving work with computers. The devices of music wooed me: 8-Tracks, turntables, walkman, discman, minidisc players, & mp3 supported devices… and finally, came the iPod. I resisted. When I finally couldn’t take it anymore, and I could finally afford one… I splurged and purchased an iPod. It was the first iPod touch.
While purchasing my first Apple device… I recalled a memory from many years prior, when I was say seven or eight (during the years of playful pretending, piano practice & being a ‘reporter’). I mentioned to my parents how much fun it would be to have a screen built into the palm of my hand. “I’d be able to show anyone my favorite tv show or watch a movie anywhere, and I could do it anytime… like I Love Lucy! and The Wizard of Oz. I dreamt of a future I thought I’d never see… of a hand I’d never have. Like so many fantastic & wonderful things about being a child & being alive… this vision of the faded away. Truth be told it was almost lost, forgotten forever.
It wasn’t until I fell asleep that first night clutching my iPod, my dream… Dazzled and amazed… Like a child passed out, exhausted mid-afternoon amidst wrapping paper & bows on Christmas day… I need not sleep to dream, because my dream had already come true. It was in my hand. Sure, so… I did wake up with it stuck to my face, but everyday since, I’ve something equally as fascinating about the transition our species is experiencing thanks to technology. Each revelation, each discovery, each advancement more amazing than the last… really sticks with me.
Through use of computers we have the chance to set ourselves free. I believe they are the key. Because of this, computers are very personal.
For most people, technology (like the arts) is all about utility, ‘functional’ rather than being an end in itself, like meditation, dancing or music. For me, it’s the ‘people’ that are the end; technology is just a ‘tool’ to reach them, a means to an end.
And yet, I still feel it’s not enough to simply stand there & marvel at a tool’s beauty… I must realize everyday, technology is like fire. How we define this tool, the outcome of our endeavors… much like fire, depends on how it is used… To light the way… or to destroy.