The Dutch researcher Christyntje Van Gallagher from the Wageningen University became worldwide shared by social media users because she stated that excessive production of selfies could be a symptom of sexual dissatisfaction. According to the researcher, the permanent self portraying is an attempt to relieve the sensation of loneliness, overcome the lack of affection and ultimately the lack of sexual activity.
It is a fact that on planet earth no other species, but the homo sapiens, has painted walls inside caves or represented reality in so many ways as painting, writing, photographing and filming. Symbolism has a fundamental role in the human pursuit of pleasure, self-definition and social interaction. On top of that the typical social isolation, easily found in large urban centers, is a social behavior determiner and a stimulant for the wish to constantly share digital pictures with the help of smartphone apps.
Billions of photos per minute take over vast areas of digital environments and torment the creativity of Microsoft’s engineers, who are already testing data processing centers operating in cold deep ocean waters, where it is less expensive to cool the circuits that support the applications on millions of smartphones.
All this amazing technology apparatus cannot yet prevent a huge amount of digital photos from running the risk of disappearing in a blackout of image’s memory. It is common sense that snapshots do not stand out for their longevity. In the late 90s many parents started to keep their babies’ pictures in gadgets and now can no longer find or open these image files that are simply lost in an old PC. In the opinion of Vincent Cerf, Google’s vice president, considered to be the “father of the Internet”, people should start printing pictures or facing seriously the risk that the first decades of this millennium turn out to be a digital “darkness age”. Snapshots can not withstand many years for constant operational system’s updates make it impossible to visualize these pics. Most hard discs remain functional for about 5 years and data recorded on a CD does not last much longer than a decade, not to mention the vanished pictures once uploaded to Orkut.
Arnolfini Portrait of 1434, made by the Dutch painter Jan Van Eick is considered by art specialists one of the most complex and detailed paintings in history, it is part of the National Gallery collection in London. Appreciating portraits hand made in oil paint by masters from the 16th and 17th centuries richly describing models’ body details, their clothes and the environment around them maybe a silent alert to our contemporary lack of attention to quality prints.
Three hundred years from now the images from the first decades of the so-called digital revolution left as a legacy may be far less accessible and enduring than the one from the renaissance. In a chaotic scenario of devastating cataclysms involving typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis, cave paintings may prove to be the records with the greatest chance of remaining as evidences about the human craze for symbolizing life.
By Luciano Medina Martins