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How specific is a medium?: Digital era

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  • How specific is a medium?: Digital era

    As technology has become increasingly more applicable to everyday life, we've somewhat lost our understanding of the meaning in its technological platform. With devices that help us with time, organisation alongside a whole world of niche programs that continue to better our lives, the technological supplements/versions have adopted real world terms and are passing it off as real.

    For example, internet radio is not radio at all, no radio-waves are emitted from the computer what-so-ever. So why is it called internet radio? With the implications of how successful the internet was going to be, it had adopted many 'real world' terms to be used to explain and identify digital versions. Although harmless, as time has gone on, I feel its important not to blur the terms between digital and physical because of not wanting anything to be replaced. I recently studied how the 2012 wave of vinyl sales returned and how much impact the visual aspects of the vinyl sleeves had in the sales success. Though no stats were available on such a interpretation based study, it was more than apparent that a lot of people returned to buy vinyls like 'Abbey Road' and 'Stone Roses' because of the visual qualities. Comparing this wave of sales to download sales, none of the older generation albums that originally came out on vinyl had been in digital sales. I spoke to a few friends and one of them said something that has stayed in my head whilst continuing with this study: "Because the vinyl originals surfaced as vinyls in the first place, having the said album digitally and not physically makes you feel like you've missed the album in its truest form." From what was a large print of the artwork, as the internet and technology has provided us with music platforms, the artwork itself is becoming less significant, less important, less specific.

    I don't mean to keep this topic so formal, I'd love to hear how you think technology and the internet are adopting terms but using the name outside of its definition? Or maybe it isn't happening? What do you think?

    Joshua Clapham
    BA Hons Illustration Student
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