Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Paper and The Pixel 2

In my last post I spoke of the difference between reading, writing and and the consuming zombie food that is watching television. Today I’m going to speak about creativity on paper and on pixel.

When I was working overseas, I decided I was going to try my hand at calligraphy. I’d always appreciated and dabbled at Arabic calligraphy, one of the first logos I ever made was for a University Islamic society. A calligraphy of the organisation’s name in Arabic

msa logo by iraqiguy on DeviantArt

I attended a class that run by a world renowned calligrapher from Iraq whose knowledge and skill were extraordinary. He’d even written the whole of the Quran by hand!
He used to speak at length about how calligraphy was a noble art because it penned the word of God, and how Iraqis are so much better at calligraphy than Egyptians because the latter were more prone to dancing and singing than something as serious as calligraphy. Great guy..But I digress

I attended maybe 5 classes after work and was enjoying my baby steps into this fine art, when I noticed another class mate more senior than I writing out beautifully, when I shared how impressed I was with him, he smiled and reflected the road to any real skill was still quite far. HE’D BEEN DOING CALLIGRAPHY FOR 15 YEARS!
I dropped out soon after for a number of reasons. I got promoted and so had a larger work load, soon after that I returned to Sydney, and every now and then I would reminisce about that hour, every evening, in which I’d be spending all my efforts and focus putting pen to paper, and drawing out the letter Sceen over and over again till I got it right.
Now adays when I want to reproduce calligraphic work, all I have to do is find the right font. Nowhere is the conflict between paper and pixel more pronounced than this. An ancient and noble art for practiced for centuries is now a 700 kilobit file anyone can download and use.
Calligraphy (of all languages) and other similar art forms are being lost to the trappings of post modernity. The value,  sacrifice and identity that comes with those forms is being stripped, and what remains is the prettiness of things, the squiggly lines, reproduced in china for a dollar ninety nine and worn proudly by the multitudes of peoples who think their new toy defines their uniqueness.

I’m noticing there is a real desperation to my writing, so I’m going to take a step back.

The reality is that change is the only constant, nothing changes and therefore we need to take this into consideration are walk into the future. The Muslims in the past rejected the printing press and gun powder out of a sentimental holding on to the past, and it cost them dearly, and we, today should be aware of this as make sense of the speeding rate of change.

  Moral of the post? Don’t be a Luddite, it’s not a good look 

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