The Future is the Past… eulogized.

March 19, 2010


Most futurologists generally will consult paleontologists. To know where we might go it would be worthy to note where we came from. Photography as we know it is the one of the newest kids on the block, Fox Talbot and Daguerre might have thrown a googly to Van Gogh who responded to the ‘threat’ in his own inimitable style. Painters like Caravaggio were secretly using optical (photo) devices in their ateliers to give them their own USP. That cycle is constantly remixing in a post postmodern feedback loop. Photorealism in painting and Abstractism in photography are modern currency.

The lines between painting and photography are no longer sharp.

What will the photographic digital democracy look like 100 years from now? To say that everyone will have access to image making via good, inexpensive camera phones is to state the obvious, everyone has and will have access to a voice, yet how many Bhimsens or Parveena Sultanas are there. That the besur might be able to produce a track that is melodious will be possible via intelligent digital software, will it sell? Will it endure? will it be art ? Is contingent upon all the existing, subjective parameters. There will still be the divide between the good, the better and the best till morality, ethics and aesthetics are not digitized.

But glimpses of the real future live with us in the virtual world. 20 years ago holography was already out there but expensive and temperamental, with processing power and the ability to collect more information on smaller capturing devices it is not too far away that 3D holography will be de rigueur. Printing on paper will be there for as long as people are tactile and like the sensation, but from a small source on your desktop, laser will spray out the RGB scene as you saw it in 3D, you will be able to project this into your living room and it would look real enough except that you will be able to walk right through your granny and the meter thick walls of Shaniwarwada. While Space-Time in a very Einsteinian way will come together, there will be no Mass.

Plasma screens and anything 2D will be quite obsolete as a result, but obsolescence will lead to exoticism, just as today dye transfer imaging is considered an art in itself. Movie halls of the future and home theatre will not have a screen at the far end and the seats or couch at the other, but will have a floating plasma that can move anywhere in space in a 3D cuboid way like the Aurora Borealis.

Canon are working on something called OCIS (Optical Cerebral Interface Systems) where in effect you wont have to carry and check in your camera and heavy lenses, it will all be in the form of a bionic implant into your ‘seeing’ eye, you will be able to blink and make an image with an intraocular zoom lens, press a button if you are cheap, or say ‘send’ if you some loose change, or think, ‘send’ if you are fully loaded and slam bam thank you maam your high res 3D holographic shot gets transmitted to the 62,000  de-constructed news gathering organizations. But when to blink will remain, as has been in the past, a Cartier Bresson decisive moment which no amount of digitizing will dictate.

All that is left is human imagination, which is really not futuristic at all, but a creative way of fantasizing the past.

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