Despite the ability to take a photo of anything you want today. There are some things you just don’t take pictures to dilute the experience. One of the applications we have for augmanity is to layer additional emotional cues into places and spaces so that for example a museum piece, one could get a closer representation to actually being on the location.
The worst example I have of this is when Google took their cameras into the Grand Canyon. I felt there was a sort of blasphemy happening in that no image can capture what the human body experiences when one is physically on the location where words and images cannot express or capture the fullness of the experience.
As humans, we seem to be on a course of mass quantity and low quality versus lower quantity and exceptional quality.
It took all of my strength yesterday in the St Gallen Library NOT to pull out a camera and simply go nuts taking amazing images.
The library is indeed probably in the top ten in the world, and perhaps is the oldest working library in Europe? I just put on my reading glasses and bent down over the glass cases and enjoyed reading the history of hand written books, translations and a bit about the life of a scribe and how few really had access to knowledge and education pre Guttenberg press.
The illuminated letters were simply amazing works of art that were surrounded much like the Louvre museum, where a palaces is the external housing. Here a harmonious room that has almost perfect symmetry and the use of golden rectangles exists, that was enhanced with the use of organic curves throughout.
I sat staring at a book written in 800 ad, that was simply the library catalog of the time that had 400+books, and marveled and let my mind wander about how many generations of monks, nuns, scribes and others who had work in the lace over the ages.
On display was a globe from the 1500’s which if think was a replica, as the original was stolen years ago and I think it resides in Zurich. But it was so interesting to see what was the “known world” at the time” in a globe form.
What can on say, the place is something everyone should go see. The photos do not do it justice as the library, and perhaps books, always had a tactile element to me with the feel of the pages, and how it is the one media form that allows for one to let the mind vicariously create what the writer has used words upon the page to set up.
This ability is getting lost more and more as our modern media and culture simply spews 140 character messages or a gaggle of bad images out into cyberspace.
The ancient floors creaked, the little slippers you wore over your shoes made a subtle swoosh sound, to windows in the room were open to allow the noise from the basilica and city to come in, and the columns of books on the shelves screamed, “take my picture!”
As much as I wanted to, I knew I could not. Despite wanting to share an image to all, I thought back to the first time I saw the grand canyon and even with wide angle lenses, you took beautiful images, yet, upon seeing a print, each one was a pale dilution of the reality that exists if you simply go see it.
The same feeling kept me from sneaking any images. The library of st. gall is a place that you really have to go, take your reading glasses and look at the hand written words that someone put on parchment some ages ago. See the stitching of animal skins and the various explanations for the rational of why some books had almost microscopic writing upon them, and a few others had stunning calligraphy, images and illuminated letters.
I broke out laughing with the reason for which pages were allowed to use lots of space for few letters. I guess it was like a committee where you had to present why you needed to use two pieces of valuable paper for your idea. It appears, “it is for the glory of god” allowed you to use more valuable paper.
As I walked through the basilica and did take some images, I was struck at how our access to information has radically changed in just 20 years. Today there is a vote for net neutrality inside the United States, which I wager will fail, even though the majority of people want to keep this. The same thing will happen that has happened through the ages, in st. gall, a few had access to information and education. In America, the wealthy will pay to have a higher speedway to get to information (corporations have for years looked for any way to gain a millisecond edge in data and information to make money) and companies will provide this service for a profit.
The masses will simply get a diluted or bad edit of what is truth.
Thankfully, over time, what we thing is true, usually is not. We just don’t live long enough to actually see the realization of time and change.
It was like the globe in st. Gall. In the early 1500’s, Australia wasn’t even discovered yet. It wasn’t on the map of the world.