The Internet is drastically changing the way me remember things. A fact is no longer a singular nugget of truth we cull from our memory. Instead we now rediscover facts by remembering the elaborate web of processes which lead us to a specific fact.
Rather than a fact, we remember a discovery map. Multiple paths lead to other paths and to another path and eventually to the one thing you are trying to recall. For example, I don’t remember the population of the USA, but I remember what phrase to use when Googling in order to find the fact quickly.
However, now I have started forgetting things.
In a recent conversation with my dear friend and excellent painter, Grant Hottle, I was picking on him because he said he considers David Hockney one of his absolute favorite painters. The reason I was picking on him was because I have always despised Hockney’s old California paintings, and well, I suppose I’m a jerk who thinks all his friends should feel the exact same way.
After me picking on him for probably too long, Grant retorted, “Fine, who are some of your favorite painters?!”
My mind went blank.
Then a pathetically small list of painters I could think of began forming in my mind. Blinky Palermo. Tatiana Berg. Clyfford Still. But I couldn’t think of one specific painter who was at the top of the heap. And wi the exclusion of Still, most of those would barely qualify as true just-paint-on-canvas-hanging-on-a-wall “painters”. I’m sure that one favorite painter is somewhere in my head, but at that moment with Grant, it was lost. Forgotten.
This was because my brain started connecting artists the same way you discover new cat memes on the Internet. This artist I enjoy made me think of this artist I enjoy who made me think of this artist I enjoy, so on and so on. But there wasn’t a defined “fact” at the end of this discovery map.
The problem is that I have seen a seemingly endless supply of artwork on the Internet, which I have found by looking at other reproductions of artwork on the Internet. Rather than a discovery map leading somewhere, my head just has a cloud with droplets of information occasionally bumping into each other.
So my reply to Grant was, “I don’t know who I really like, but I have this huge online collection of artwork I have been looking at recently.” So I pulled out my iPhone, and showed him the collection of images.
This is probably a better way to get an idea of the influences an artist is consuming, but it’s a way of thinking which didn’t let me form a defensible opinion about who is my favorite, and why I feel that person is better than David Hockney.
I would find it ironic (in an Alanis Morrisette kind of way) if all the education we are gaining from the Internet is capable of turning us into less opinionated, more educated individuals. Perhaps the feeling of knowing so much, yet having the vast expanse of the Internet before me with its infinite unknown wisdom, is beginning to make us (me) a little more humble.All that being said, I am now reminded how much better I think Clyfford Still is than David Hockney.
After nearly three years of the funnest job I’ve ever had, next week will be my last with my friends on the Waggener Edstrom design team. I decided the time has come for a new adventure! So on February 4, I will be uniting with the creative force that is Epipheo as an experience designer.
The Experience Design team I worked with at Waggener was a whirlwind of talent, hilarity, and genuine friendship. It is because of them challenging me (and just being better than me) that has allowed me to become the designer I am today.
So thank you to:
There are a million other people I’ve worked with at Waggener who have been amazing, so thank you to all of you. I’ll be at Epipheo’s office the Pearl district. So let’s do lunch, coffee, and/or beers sometime.
It’s certainly a little bittersweet to say au revoir to Waggener, but I can barely contain my excitement for my first day at Epipheo, which must mean it is the right place for me. Thanks for all the laughs, learnings, and long walks (I had to keep that whole alliteration thing going with words that start with “L”).
Now as Jay-Z says, I’m on to the next one.