Vivek Haldar

Mediated Concert

I was reading this immensely enjoyable piece about Kanye and JayZ when I noticed an echo.

Contrast this snippet…

Those same iPhones illuminate the Garden like the cigarette lighters of yesteryear. There is the real Kanye West on the stage, with a giant close-up of his sweaty face projected above, and there are thousands of tiny Kanyes dancing and rapping in the palms of the audience: it’s the Watch the Phone tour, I realize, a weird, technologically mediated experience that makes the concert at once more intimate and more distant.

… with this one, taken from Stephenson’s “In the beginning was the command line”, written in 1999:

I was in Disney World recently, specifically the part of it called the Magic Kingdom, walking up Main Street USA. This is a perfect gingerbready Victorian small town that culminates in a Disney castle. It was very crowded; we shuffled rather than walked. Directly in front of me was a man with a camcorder. It was one of the new breed of camcorders where instead of peering through a viewfinder you gaze at a flat-panel color screen about the size of a playing card, which televises live coverage of whatever the camcorder is seeing. He was holding the appliance close to his face, so that it obstructed his view. Rather than go see a real small town for free, he had paid money to see a pretend one, and rather than see it with the naked eye he was watching it on television.