As 2009 drew to a close I came across an article in magazine asking lots of smart people the question 'What has been the icon of the first decade of the 21st century?' If my memory serves me well I think the consensus was the iPod.
I never get asked those questions, probably because I'm not one of those very smart people. If I had my answer would have been 'the pixel'. All the big moments of that decade I recall as heavily pixelated footage.
Before then the pixel went pretty much unnoticed. The only people that really paid attention were those whose job it was to make sure they remained invisible.
Then came the internet, then camers in phones. With them the border control dropped. Anyone could create and share media, flaws and all. The best camera was the one you had with you. Pixelated footage began to creep from the internet to the TV. On the news or as a new form of late night entertainment on Channel 4. The big pixels were there for everyone to see. Pixels or not, Charlies finger would have remained bitten and the planes still hit the tower. We watched. And not a single person complained.
Soon they became part of a visual language that told us something was authentic, not something faked by big media to look 'viral'. For a moment big media really did believe there was a viral look. The pixel became a part of something that was 'made', as opposed to high definition perfection that suggests something just appears by magic. Not a suggestion of process. No working out in the margins.
So I was delighted when I stumbled across James Bridle's talk about 'The New Aesthetic. It's a really interesting look at how pixels are spilling into our world. I don't want to say anything more other than 'just watch it'. It's wonderful.