June 9, 2011

The Future of Moments

What does your future hold for you?

Rapturous doom, the end of the world? Fortune beyond prosperity? Complacency? Objective reality? Anarchy? Malarkey? These are things I cannot tell you.

What I can say is that based on current trends, the way in which we communicate is shifting rapidly toward a paradigm with an unimaginably high level of efficiency. "How so?" you ask. Here's my take on it, which goes way beyond acronymed chat-abbreviates such as LOL, ROTFL, and others that make this Gen-Xer ponder "Whisky Tango Foxtrot."

I'm thinking of a form so condensed as to kiss the alpha(and numeric)bet goodbye forever. I'm thinking about this:

QR barcode

Take a look at any package you've received in the mail lately, and you're likely to have seen one of these. This unobtrusive but certainly complex barcode can represent potentially thousands of alphanumeric characters in the space of a square inch. Can you read it? I can't. Can the robots read it? Probably. And this will be humankind's ultimate doom.

I'm kidding, of course.

Maybe.

The real point is, printed messages are being transmitted right before our eyes, and we are missing out on so much potential information that, through no fault of our own (we don't learn barcode-ese in grade school), we run the risk of being left behind.

Okay, you're right; I'm being ridiculous. Regardless, I believe the barcode to be an incredibly interesting constrained medium in which to work, and that is what we will do for this round of Moment art.

If you have a fancy future-phone, you can download an app to read these barcodes, and for generation online (for free) I found an excellent one here: ZXing QR Code Generator, just choose the text option.

Depending on the size of the barcode, you are limited in alphanumeric character count, but as far as imaginative and creative play are concerned, there are effectively no limits to what you can create with these barcode Moments. The QR barcode (pictured above) is often used for website or personal information marketing, but that certainly isn't fun at all. Instead, create a poem, a short story, a rant, applaud, a recipe, or a journal entry.

Given enough time, you could write a book like Trisha Barnes, or create incredible art like Scott Blake, but for now, we will stick to our short and simple Moment art practice since for most of us, a single moment in the day is all we can afford.

When you're done, print your barcode on sticky label paper, and stick these Moments randomly on desks, telephone poles, bus stops (please check with local posting laws; I am not condoning breaking the law!) so that those in the know, those with the fancy future-phones, can scan this barcode and experience your Moment as you have lived it. Then, of course, get back to your daily grind, because if you don't, then the robots will sure take over. Fortunately for us, we'll be able to read it coming.

Now to be fair, that barcode displayed above is my Moment.

-SRT

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