My greatest fascination is participating in the ever-blurring line between online and offline realities. From simple channels like QR codes and Augmented Reality—to the supermechanical objects by visionary John Kestner,—our perception of what is online and what is offline is changing. Our children may never believe that there ever was a line.
Infotropism is the term I have been using to describe this blurring between online data and offline objects. Infotropism is the movement of data to other locations, in the manner I am using it, these locations are on/in/within/ offline objects.
Years ago, I got in a heated argument with a painter. I was an illustrator and had recently begun drawing using new software called Adobe Illustrator ’88. The Mac had only been out four years and laser printers had just been invented. The idea of drawing using a computer irritated lots of artists and illustrators. For me, it was the future of art. Anyway, a painter friend of mine was looking at an illustration I had done for a client. He indicated that it was, “A good rendering. Too bad it’s not real art.”
“Yes it is,” I replied. “It’s every bit as real as your oil paintings.”
“Are you high? That’s not real at all! That’s just a bunch of electrons floating around in space!”
“So is an oil painting,” I calmly replied. “So are we and everything we perceive as “solid” or real. It’s all just electrons floating in space.”
It’s hard for many people to conceptualize that what we call reality, is in fact, a highly-biased perception consisting of weak sensory input, memories, cultural indoctrination, (possibly) religion, education, personal experiences and our willingness to accept.
We alter our own reality every day.
Don’t believe me? Your eyes lie to you every day, in fact, every minute. Ever notice that infants cross their eyes? This is because they are quite near-sighted and the closest visual attraction is their nose. You can still see your nose, but your eyes have learned to ignore it as non-essential data.
Your nose lies to you as well. When you purchase a new cologne or perfume, you love the smell of it. Over time, it fades and you find yourself adding more and more—unless you know that it hasn’t in fact faded at all. It’s as strong as the first day you bought it, but your nose has learned to ignore it. But everyone else has noticed that you keep adding more perfume!