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Intelligence and Happiness?

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Indoors / Outdoors (Defuse)

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Law & Morality

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Foy – The Bodiless Head

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False Flags 2

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Synecdoche is a powerful, expressive linguistic device

The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Contents Page
The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Semper Quarens - Always Looking

iPad Democracy

France's Most Wanted, Komar and Melamid, 1995

First of all let’s be clear on this – The Inquisition is no luddite, and has all of the credentials to prove it; a TV that projects moving images in colour (using up-to-the-minute cathode-ray technology – wow sci-fi!), a mobile phone that can both display text messages and take calls and a digital watch with a calculator face. Pretty swish inventory, I know.

More questions than answers (for now)

To be honest, you’d have to imagine the future of reading and publishing is somewhere between Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad. But in the short term the iPad will probably win out, for its looks alone. But would you really read a whole book on it? That’s where Kindle’s digital ink comes in, of course. But how terrible would a coffee-table art book look?

But when all is said and done, being able to carry an extensive (and scrupulously backed-up) library, which you own, is hugely enticing. However anyone who is often to be found in Public libraries and second-hand book shops must wonder; where does that leave us? Publishing rights are closely guarded and this new frontier will be no exception.

More worryingly

In today’s Sunday Times Bryan Appleyard raises a deeply disquieting point; publishers can browse how readers interact with their texts on the iPad. It is not a huge leap of logic to realise that this will lead to greater control over what is published and what is commissioned by marketing departments. After all, publishing is an industry.

Design by committee or democratic voting rarely results in the most worthy entrant winning. The winner in a popularity contest is, in essence, the most intrinsically average. This is not progress.

Komar and Melamid’s Art

The point made in the previous paragraph is hardly the most eye-opening statement to every make it to the hallowed pages of The Inquisition, but it describes a troubling truth. And it is one that was very skillfully explored in the early days of the web by two progressive Rusian emigre artists- Komar and Melamid.

The duo setup online surveys to test respondents’ tastes in visual art and digitally composed images from the answers received. The results are the most insipid pieces you could set your eyes upon. The response from the art world was incensed. But the artists managed to explore more than art; they showed how loathe the general public is to exercise individuality and the very cornerstones of democratic freedom. They showed that when given the choice the most popular choice is mediocrity – just look at the popularity of those god-awful democratic, viewer-votes, phone in shows that are always on the Inquisition’s gloriously expansive 16-inch colour screen.

New gizmos such as the iPad Hope to Turn our Reading Habits on their Head – And Even Save the Written Word. But Can They?, Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times Culture Magazine, Sunday 25th April 2010
Painting by Numbers, Margaret Wertheim, World Art, Issue #2 1996
Komar and Melamid

This article was posted by on Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 03:37.
It is archived in Art, Culture, Internet and tagged , , , .

One Response to iPad Democracy

  1. Ciara says:

    The NY Times has a piece on the restrictive nature of information published on the iPad:

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