jeudi, mars 09, 2006

The Family Hearth

For the first time in recorded surveys, Internet use has outstripped TV viewing. This historic result was recorded in a survey of UK consumers that was commissioned by Google. The mediatic earthquake continues and it would seem that the latest displacement since "video killed the radio star" is happening before our very eyes. This is the first snowball that is destined to create an avalanche that will revolutionise the life for the next few generations.

TV had invaded family homes by the early 50s and by the 60s had replaced the radio as the family hearth. The family would centre its activity around the TV and be formed by it. The consumer society would develop around the flashing images from the tiny set and by the nineties the way the human race waged wars would be affected by TV coverage. Terrorism also gradually caught up with this new medium and staged its horrificent theatrical dramas purposely for the little screen.

The new medium elbowing its way gradually since the early nineties is still uncovering its full potential. The net still has a long way to go before it establishes itself as the medium of a definite era as the TV has been for so long. It is already on its way though. Urban planning is being affected by the internet. Access to the medium is becoming of paramount importance - entire cities are planned to become Wi-Fi spots (see Toronto). Your local burger branch will soon not be worth its salt if it did not have a wi-fi zone (see Quick in Luxembourg). As though surfing the net was always the natural complement to biting into your favourite bacon burger and fries.

What are we doing on the net? For now we are exchanging funny files, reading the news (displacing tree media in the process), exchanging letters (displacing the purpose of the post in the process), downloading media (read music and films), expressing ourselves (read blogs), and apparently - the most time spent on the net has to do with shopping (read ebay). It is not all happening on the net yet. The Prodi vs Berlusconi battle will be fought out on RAIUNO in prime time and not on in some prolonged online debate which could easily include the citizens. The European Commission is a bit advanced on that matter... it has hooked onto the idea of using the net as the main medium of getting closer to the citizen and in my view it is making the best bet.

The battle lines have been drawn. The titanic battle of TV vs NET has begun. In Italy there was a recent case allowing two websites to continue to stream Chinese TV that allowed people to watch football matches for free. The TV lost the battle there. In other areas the NET is trying to invade and take over. Information, privacy, real time broadcasting. Even the Cinema and the age of Blockbusters seems to have found its end at the doorsteps of the ether. More and more distribution companies are toying with releasing films on the net at the same time as they are released in theatres in order to circumvent pirates.

And finally... pirates. The net has resurfaced this term that had been lost to the romance of swashbuckling one-legged seafarers. Pirates are normally a crucial element in the build up of Empires. From Ancient Phoenicia to the British Empire, the involvement and tacit acceptance of the existence of pirates has pushed the development of an Empire forward (if only to avoid losing ground to the mercenaries). The net seems to be headed in that direction.

Television is dead. Long live television.

Fuoco (Celentano)
Siamo sempre lì, intorno a lei
a farci riscaldar dai suoi guai
e dai suoi "consigli per gli acquisti" di illusioni

che ci rendono belli fuori
e ci fan marcire dentro,
mentre l'ignoranza arriva in casa vestita in frack,
e tu sei sempre lì

sempre di fronte a lei
e non ti accorgi che
non parliamo più

e speri che prima o poi ti dia
il consiglio giusto per farmi innamorar di te
davanti a noi non brucia più
quel fuoco antico che ci unì...
ti stendevi nuda e nel dolce crepitio della fiamma
che ardeva in quel camino
si confondevano i tuoi sussurri mentre io
bruciavo con te.

da quando ti sei spento
l'amore di tutto il mondo
si è spento insieme a te
e ora al tuo posto
troneggia una sputabugie
dove trionfa l'ignoranza colta
di questa gioventù

da quando ti sei spento
l'amore ch'era in noi
si è spento insieme a te.

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