Like many people, I watched Russell Davies’ keynote at Media Festival Arts on Friday. As usual, he offered up several golden eggs.

Central is the concept of post-digital. Of taking information that we put into the internet back out of it and using it to make Real Things. To try to avoid experience being completely mediated by screens. Newspaper Club is the most successful expression of that so far.
Things Our Friends Have Written On The Internet 2008
[Things Our Friends Have Written On The Internet 2008, Ben Terrett]

I don’t want to bastardise Russell’s points to justify my own, but I will.

To me, this comes back to reintroducing friction. Not just online, but in daily interactions. A renaissance of pre-digital platforms.

People like things to hold, to touch, to put on walls, and to tinker with. There’s a reason vinyl sales are rising hand-in-hand with digital downloads. People want to interact physically with things and be aware of them. There’s value (mostly time) in ambient interactions, such as contactless payments, but the physical exchange still feels more real.

The London Cycle Hire Scheme probably owes a good chunk of its success to this. People are engaging with a tactile means of travelling; a physical exertion and mental engagement with paths, obstacles and hazards. This beats the binary, in/out, tube journey. People are welcoming tactility and friction back into their lives.

Other ways in which this can be done in your daily life:

1. Play Board Games.

Carcassonne. / Mah Jongg.

2. Grind Your Own Coffee.

3. Make Postcards.

Manchester Literature Festival. / Interesting North.

4. Fiddle With Knobs.

The Job Box, by Rattle.

5. Bake.

Banana Bread.

6. Listen To Records.

There’s plenty more, but embracing one or two regularly is important.


3 thoughts on “Tactility.

  1. I really liked this, from my own point of view, I buy more cds/records now than I used to for the point of being able to handle the product and the artwork – it’s not the same as looking at something online. I don’t think I’d ever get on board with an e-reader as I like having the book and there’s something about laborious cooking that I really enjoy. Life is meaningless without effort and interaction and thus happiness.

  2. Of course, an obvious one I missed out was “take pictures with an film camera”. Again, you take as many photos as you want using Hipstamatic or any other retro filter app, but it’s not the same as a point and click plastic camera.

  3. Sloe Process. « Mount Analogue

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