The vanishing tangible

November 29th, 2011  |  Tags: , ,

[D]elivery devices are more tangible “things” than the books they hold. No wonder we obsess about them, since the things we used to call things are suddenly files, endlessly electronically vanishing.

I enjoyed this thoughtful piece by pianist Jeremy Denk on how attachment to “content delivery devices” is replacing attachment to “content,” and I wonder: is this phenomenon also related to the reality that we simply have fewer “things” to hold dear if all of our records, books, photographs, and letters are streams of bits? Does the ever-increasing probability that some future device won’t be able to read our movies or digital negatives, or that we could lose an entire library if Amazon goes out of business, encourage us to embrace the impermanence of all things?