Forever is composed of nows. – Emily Dickinson
Let’s face it; we’re all struggling to control the use of this addictive substance called technology. I was most aware of it recently during a news program about modern musicians who’ve started to ban cell phones and videos from their performances. The young guitarist being interviewed for the show moaned that he was sick of watching a sea of cell phones waving at him from the audience when he starts to sing. Can’t they just enjoy the moment? he muttered. After all, they’re seeing something live that their friends watching the videos can’t experience. Isn’t that unique involvement enough to make them put the cell phones away?
I’ve been thinking a lot about live performance, believing it will become one of the most rare, treasured and sought-after pleasures in our future world of digitized thrill-seeking. There is nothing like the jolt to your neurons delivered by a live performance. And yet…it was one of my favorite Cloud computing sites, Dropbox, that brought home the unexpected thrill of a recorded, catalogued and well preserved personal connection, making me understand how human beings can touch us through time ‘live and in person’ with the aid of technology.
My son had scanned boxes of photographs from albums stored and long forgotten in our basement of a big house I sold after my husband died a few years ago. Wishing to spark the interest of others of his own generation and future ones as well, my son uploaded them to Dropbox and made the files accessible to the rest of the family all over the world. We could then jump in with labels and comments, as the older generation clearly had the knowledge to identify the most arcane entries. In this process, he recently discovered the baby book of his father’s first five years on earth, dutifully catalogued by his mother.