Analog Sessions Feed Digital Dreams

by | Nov 11, 2009

I’m fascinated by Jonathan Harris and his sketchbooks.

When we use manual instruments to write and draw, I think there’s more feeling in the work, similar to how there’s more sound in a vinyl record than there is in a compact disc.

Harris is obviously a master with pen and paper, but he’s also a technologist. As he considers next steps in the evolution of storytelling, he imagines that it will play out online (which is more than a little likely).

Here’s a passage from the video above that’s worth studying closely:

Anything can be the hub. Anything can be the center. I really believe that’s the future of information presentation. The metaphor of the page as an organizing principal is dead. It’s archaic. It doesn’t work anymore. A better approach is to portray a world of connectivity. A world of connections. A huge connected graph where any node in the graph can be the first order node and everything else is expressed in relation to that node.

For sure, the page has always been a lonely place. Maybe that’s why I find comfort in it. The reality is both modalities are in play today—the lonely page (physical or digital) and the rushing river of real time “conversation.” Both have immense value. But the roar of the river can be deafening, especially in the rainy season. A notebook is a quiet place to think, a refuge from modernity. I need to spend more time in mine.