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It felt more real when I drew it photo

They say The Cloud is a bad metaphor for the internet because this makes it seem immaterial and like its presence doesn’t have a real physical impact on the planet. They say to remember the server buildings in rural farmland and globe-spanning deep-sea cables and unregulated precious metal mining operations in Africa and elsewhere. This, they say, is the real web, the accidental megastructure. It isn’t up in the clouds at all, it’s right here connected by cables and cords, wifi and routers.

Whenever I use Mid Journey I feel the dopamine hit as the dumb image comes into focus. This is directly followed by the opening of a cavernous emptiness as I sit on my couch on a sunny day laughing at the little screen on my new iPhone 14.

Two times last week I sat down to watch TV and forgot to turn off the podcast I was listening to so both were playing for several minutes before I registered it. I’ve become the kid in those viral videos where a parent decides to publically shame their unwitting child to millions of strangers online by posting a video of them using an iPad and iPhone at the same time with a caption like, “I don’t know about this generation y’all…”. After she posts the video and sees the first few likes roll in her weekly screen usage report pops up and says, Your usage was down 10% last week. You used your phone on average 10 hours per day. Good work.

I can’t figure out which I remember more, the podcast I was listening to while making dinner or the dinner I was preparing. Maybe making dinner is meant to be forgotten. It was a good episode though, I sent it to a few friends.

“A man walks across the—” “NO, I said from the beginning” “Oh.. uh the screen is black” “Yes, and?” “..and there is the sound of water?” “YES, good, continue.” A teacher of mine made us recount movies this way. She was adamant that by describing exactly what we had seen and heard even the most challenging films would reveal themselves. She was right. This simple translation, from screen to notebook, laid bare all those cryptic metaphors and obscured plotlines. The hardest realization though was that even at the movies life’s biggest challenge is remembering to stay present.

When the people in the discord group I pay to be part of meet up in real life they call it devirtualizing.

In the apple vision pro launch video, they say it will help us connect more with our co-workers, friends, and family. There’s a video of a father wearing the headset as he weirdly stares at his children playing. He’s apparently recording a 3D video, which they say is better than simply watching your kids play. Every time I move all my photos from my iPhone to the archaic Photos app I’m reminded that I’ve never once looked back at the years of old pictures and videos on there.

The couple walks up as I’m about to take a picture of the painting for my instagram story. My first few attempts were giving “earnest” when what I’m really going for is “interested yet disinterested”. The guy starts explaining that nobody really experiences art anymore and his college professor is right that the best way to truly understand a piece of art is to sketch it. When he finishes everyone in the gallery turns and claps, roses are thrown, his date has tears in her eyes. The curator walks up, shakes his hand, and then leans in and whispers in his ear, “Everyone in the room secretly acknowledges the truth of your statement while accepting the reality of the situation which is that the only thing worse than clout-posting art is being the pretentious sketchbook person”.

Drawing is probably the most historically persistent art form. They should call them hunter-drawer-gatherers. The subjects of those ancient cave scribbles are equally as enduring as the rocks that house them. Humans, animals, and tools - all things that forty thousand years later still exist in roughly the same form. Last week at work I found a box full of floppy disks. Pre-historic caves without a way in.

I still use a hard drive from 2015. It’s got a dent in it and all of my life’s work. Flash Player officially stopped working in 2020, ending with it the viewability of much of the early internet. I open up my drawer and dig around for a USB-A to USB-C adapter. If climate change melts down the server buildings and boils the internet cables or if a superintelligent AI makes the internet unusable at least the new MacBooks have HDMI ports again. Maybe the sun will come out after the cloud dissipates.

Today I will lay a piece of paper over my computer screen and draw the image that glows through while the blood of the pre-historic man who placed his hand against the cave wall and traced its contour courses through mine.