Real or virtual? The world is dividing and reintegrating

F.virtual uturo? In science fiction movies, houses stand empty. A button colors the walls as desired, the paintings are video projections. Walk-in closet is small: The very elegant avatars live in Metaverset. We thought we were heading for “that” future, though, as the film teaches Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madnessthere are many possible, but maybe it will not be ours. Nicholas Negroponte i To be digital (1995) predicted total dematerialization. The Americans were the first to turn records into audio files, textbooks into liquid pills on digital media with less waste of paper and space, but then they thought better of it. And the “physical” release has restarted very well.

Bookstores do not miss it

With us, last year, sales of paper books increased by 16 percentreports the president of the Italian Publishers’ Association (AIE) Ricardo Franco Levi: “We are number two in Europe, ahead of Germany and the United Kingdom”. In 2021, 115.6 million copies were purchased (18 million more than in 2020) and 85,551 news items were printed (+22.9 percent), while e-books fall to 49,313 (-5.6) and after all, the first purchasing channel remains physical stores. Perhaps Umberto Eco was right: “The book is like the spoon, the hammer, the wheel, the scissors: once you have invented them, you can not do better”. And neuroscience research shows that you learn more by studying pages that you can touch, curl, emphasize, flip through, and why not tear.

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It is not nostalgia, but a new need

An isolated case, that with books? For nothing. The CD has been returned to generate revenue (+10.6 percent). Vinyl, after surpassing CDs in early 2021, confirmed 79 percent utilization (data from Deloitte / International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, March 2022). Many digital natives who have never seen a 33 rpm in their home consider vinyl as a “necessary” object that testifies to closeness to the artist. A bit like autographs. The business of cassette tapes is also growing (+245 percent) is considered a nostalgic relic from the 60s and 70s. But nostalgia has nothing to do with it. Dirt tape, for example, it is a label that produces cassette tapes. Drummer Karim Qqru explains: “Today, everything is accessible with one click, but in a form that sometimes loses emotional coherence. Ours is not a battle against the digital: we listen to Spotify every day, but the idea that everything is contained there, in a file, something incorporeal, does not give us what we want. I think it’s a widespread feelingor “. Widespread. It requires physical! True.

Science proves it: handwriting is good

“Blacksmith”, or “Writing by hand in the digital age”, is an association, a movement, a wave that grows from year to year. Volcanic President Daniela Moretto and her husband Massimo Gonzato have chosen a mission: convert as many people as possible into handwriting because “when you discover it, it becomes a need, like walking and cycling. It gives you a level of concentration similar to yoga, it sets you in relation to yourself. I have been working digitally for 35 years and I can testify to the difference. People are starting to understand this. In Milan we went to “Do the right thing” for three days with a writing workshop. School groups, children, teachers, parents with children, were all excited.

There is also the support of scientists. Virginia Berninger (University of Washington) has shown that handwriting, that is, handwriting, stimulates the brain in several areas, improves concentration and promotes the ability to synthesize. In the study published in Psychological Science, the researchers monitored two groups of students: the first took notes in notebooks and notebooks, the second on the computer. And the authorship has won over. That may be why millennial Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction, uses notebooks for the sketches of his songs. A beautiful explanation was given by Joyce Carol Oates, the memorable author of Blonde: “Writing is the consequence of thinking, planning and dreaming. This is the process by which the font is translated, while the other (the keyboard) is just a way of recording it ». Maybe we should all have a notebook in our pocket all the time. Voice maws are not the same.

Fabriano has recently launched, with great success, EcoQuaan irresistible collection of colored notebooks and notebooks (ivory shades are relaxing, yellow is trendy) with a green soul, without PVC and plastic in the covers, recyclable. In their stores, the calligraphy courses start with the most diverse age groups again: on average between 35 and 50 years, but there are also very young people between 15 and 20. Female plurals, different motivations: learning italics, helping students restore legible handwriting or, more practically, writing elegant invitations by themselves. A large audience is expected in Milan next September Drawing festival (pre-covid, 15 thousand participated, from five to 70 years).

Photo album has been recovered

Another exploit? Albums that free up important images from the cluttered memory of mobile phones. Cheerz (and it’s not the only one) offers custom ring binders and prints “your best memories” because the site assures, “the few inches of paper are a goldmine of memories”. Once the account is created, you will be guided to complete the album: simple. With what we could define as a counter-digitization, Cheerz had a turnover of more than three million euros in 2021.

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And back to photography with cameras. It tells Leica, which celebrates a story of ingenious inventions with the new M11 model: “The non-professionals who previously only used the phone have reconnected. Now they are looking for more quality and a preventive selection of the images, “they say. The images piled up in digital memories (and you will never find the one you are looking for), the surreal conversations with virtual assistants (I recommend them from the banks!), the stupidity (sometimes) of the artificial intelligences that process the phone calls, have produced loving re-evaluations, like the urge for a human switching operator. Of course, there is no going back. Says Chris Anderson, essayist whom Time considers one of the 100 most influential people in the world: “We are moving towards hybrid forms: physical books ordered online, digital photos printed and collected in albums, turntables next to audio files, everyday objects drawn on the computer and then 3D printed. Everyone will be able to produce plates, glasses, cutlery and eventually even the steak. Dematerialization is fine, but not too much. The body gives more satisfaction ».

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