From Netflix to TikTok: How we’ve all been obsessed with electronic screens

French poet and essayist Paul Valery wrote in 1928: “I don’t know whether a philosopher would ever dream of a company involved in delivering” genuine emotions “to his home. ” Because, he always said: “It is wonderful to be able to turn an empty hour, a wonderful evening, an endless Sunday, into an enchantment, a calming expression, or an adventure. save of spirit. ”

Delivering real-world emotions is now attracting companies, from Walt Disney to Netflix and ByteDance, the 15-second video platform TikTok. High resolution images will soon appear as holograms or images on virtual reality glasses. So far, most are displayed on large and small flat screens – like cinemas, TVs, tablets and phones.

From iPhone to Fortnite

There are two moments imprinted in my mind in a decade of witnessing the “intense love” of humans with flat screens.

First, the appearance of Steve Jobs in 2010 at an Apple event in California to launch the iPad, his next product – the most influential device since the advent of the TV and iPhone. The performance was nearly empty, except for a leather sofa that Jobs sat on while presenting and holding the device in his hand.

Jobs is not merely launching a new product; he portrayed a completely new lifestyle. The basic form of home entertainment will vary from having the whole family gather around a television, to each member holding a tablet. When they reach out and touch the blinking glass, the images on it will obey them.

However, the revolution of tablets did not happen: 10 years later, TV still holds its proud position in most of the living room, with the resolution and screen size getting bigger and bigger. .

For Generation Z, those who have forgotten the TV, the versatile laptop is considered a good choice. Passengers on board will sometimes put their iPad down and prioritize the movies that have been downloaded before their eyes. Instead of replacing the TV, the tablet had to add its own functionality.

The second moment was in August last year, when watching on my iPhone the livestream of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the champion of the role-playing game Fortnite, switched from the Twitch game streaming platform to Microsoft’s Mixer. Microsoft exploited the popularity of Blevins by letting him play the game, with quirky celebratory dances in front of fans on the Mixer.

A live crowd gathered at a studio to cheer him up as he smoothly navigated the challenge screen. On my phone, I watched these people watching him as he fought opponents on the computer screen, with passionate comments. A familiar state of celebrities – people to this day, we still can’t understand exactly what their jobs are.

From Princess Snow White to Tiktok

Walt Disney first captured the emotional power of the characters when displaying it on the screen at a rate of more than 12 frames per second. At the premiere of Snow White in Los Angeles in 1937, the audience cried miserably at the scene when the Seven Dwarfs discovered the poisoned princess. Interacting with Fortnite players can be wacky, but in reality Snow White doesn’t even exist in real life.

Reflecting on celebrity development in his 2016 Wonderland book, Steven Johnson writes the “reality-distortion” technology, making us “see things that don’t exist”. At a rate of 12 frames per second, with synchronized sound and close-up, people almost can’t help but form emotional connections with the characters on the screen.

Widescreen always has a special attraction. Marilyn Monroe’s portrait taken by photographer Eve Arnold on The Misfits film studio in 1960 showed her charm, but could not convey the full charisma of every step and how to speak gracefully on screen. Figure.

The exposure of screens in the classic cinemas of Hiroshi Sugimoto, showed how the audience was surprised and moved.

As the widescreen got closer to people, the popularity also increased. “Anybody today can claim that he or she is being filmed,” wrote German philosopher Walter Benjamin in his 1935 essay. “Artwork in an age of mechanical reproduction. “. “Therefore, the difference between the author and the public is about to lose its basic nature.”

And the smartphone camera has turned his predictions into reality.


What will Benjamin do with TikTok, the application that young people today use to lip-sync and dance to the same tune, often competing to make short films?

One study calls TikTok’s video forms “enhanced play videos compressed over 15 seconds, higher speed and more colorful” than videos created by other apps.

“Please don’t watch it on your phone,” is Martin Scorsese’s appeal to The Irishman’s audience, his recent film as a director, because streaming on Netflix is ​​a bet his on irresponsible audience.

But most teenagers are spending more time exploring portrait mode, Instagramming or sending emoticons than sitting in the theater.

Playing games on the phone can be addictive. A study of American teenagers shows that those who spend the least time on devices like phones are the happiest people, while those who use high intensity tend to be sadder, less comedic. content with their lives and inferiority. “Sometimes, I think I’m not good at all” is an acknowledgment received by many people.

That’s in contrast to Valery’s predicted fascination or Benjamin’s cinematic perspective, which “has exploded the virtual and real world, so that now when witnessing remnants and debris away, they I was able to venture into that vast world. With the close-up, the open space; with slow motion, every movement seemed to be expanded. ” He believes that the screen will free us.

So is something wrong? Perhaps everything is fine, just now that every aspect of life, good or bad, has been “digitized”. From the glamor of Monroe, and the intimate message taken by Jeff Mermelstein on the streets of New York, to the jokes on Twitter and the envy of watching others live happier lives on Instagram, all The experiences are all displayed on the screen.

[ Æsir Tales ]
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