Monday, February 23, 2015

OSCAR Reflection - Beware the Screens in Our Jeans - Times are Changing

It was difficult not to think of our "TV's and Screens" readings after that opening musical number at last night's Academy Awards. What started out as Neil Patrick Harris' broadway worthy ode to the "magic of moving pictures", was abruptly interrupted by Black's franticly paranoid interlude proclaiming "In a world where are brains are all becoming machines, the only screens we're watching are the screens in our jeans!" He screams that last line over and over after pulling out an Android phone to presumably take a selfie. Then, he's quickly brought to a stop by Harris and Anna Kendrick who immediately move on to extol the magnificence of moving pictures. Actors dressed up like iconic movie characters stormed the stage while images from classic films were projected in the background. It was all to remind us the myriad ways in which "moving pictures" have influenced culture.

I'm interested in the evolution of "moving pictures" through device based technology. iPhone and tablet apps like Vine, Snap Chat and Instagram or even the popular "gif" trends online are newer iterations of "moving pictures" that for decades we could only see projected on massive screens or transmitted from televisions. We now have more freedom than ever to produce and disseminate our own media. Times are changing.

On a less related note but a more personal reflection, last night's Oscars made several interesting references to the passage of time. Before Lady Gaga sang her tribute to The Sound of Music, she made remarks -- in a red carpet interview -- about how monumental the film was in affecting and changing both the film and music industries. After that tribute Julie Andrews spoke admitting she felt it was as if she blinked an all those years just flew by. Meryl Streep seemed to have a real moment of self-reflection while introducing the "In Memoriam" segment. It seemed as though the 'here today gone tomorrow' aspect of it all really struck her. In addition the Common/John Legend performance of "Glory" and accompanying references to the 50th year anniversary also evoked the passage of time.    

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