Home Tech With its new iPad Pro announcement, Apple offers us the fine tip of the wedge | Alex Clark

With its new iPad Pro announcement, Apple offers us the fine tip of the wedge | Alex Clark

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 With its new iPad Pro announcement, Apple offers us the fine tip of the wedge | Alex Clark

YoLast week was my birthday, and being these days a quiet country dweller with an obsession for sweet peas rather than the inner-city Dorothy Parker wannabe of yesteryear, I was grateful for my appropriately kind gifts: flowers, plants, an original exhibition catalog from decades ago. , a scent that promises to recreate walks on the beach. I counted among my blessings a recent eye test that showed no further deterioration, an unbroken streak of Duolingo (Irish), a roof repair that seems to be holding up, what you might call the joy that things aren’t getting worse, small triumphs that are often feel disproportionately. big and lucky.

On the same day, Apple CEO Tim Cook seemed to suggest that I don’t need all those fun little old-world analog things I appreciate. In an advertisement for the new iPadPro – whose main attribute, according to him, is that he is extremely thin, in fact, the thinnest he has ever been – spectators were treated to an infernal sight: a platform full of musical instruments, cameras, games, paintings, a record player , an artist’s mannequin, all reduced to chips and dust beneath a giant industrial shredder. Get rid of all that junk, it seemed to say, because here’s a gadget that makes it obsolete.

Also that same day, I found myself talking to someone on a podcast about artist Eileen Agar, whose most striking and memorable work is a wild and witty marine-themed headdress titled Ceremonial Hat for Eating Bouillabaisse. For someone to come up with an idea like that (so silly, so fun, so strangely surreal and suggestive) and then carry it out by gathering all the necessary fragments of coastal detritus and transforming them into a three-dimensional object is a small miracle. of imaginative persistence: the world doesn’t need a bouillabaisse hat, and neither do you, but someone made one anyway, and there it is, a beautiful artifact.

I am aware of the irony: to get a better idea of ​​Hagar’s artwork, I Googled it, looked at various images, and followed links to various sources to read more about its creation. I interviewed someone about it over Zoom, our conversation was captured and refined through editing tools, available to access through various platforms, including Apple. Technology helped me discover more about a work of art from a cultural moment and tradition that we might reasonably think would have repudiated it.

Apple’s great shredder has enraged many, who receive from it a message of destruction, a joyful and definitive flattening: not only of the objects themselves – the piano, the paint can, the reflective lens of the camera – but of the creators who use them. express themselves and their ideas. His anger and disappointment are, of course, part of a context in which the creative arts and those who practice them are deprived of funding, threatened by relentless copying and piracy, deprived of political support, unpaid and unrecognized.

Channeling Pollyanna, I don’t think it’s as bad as all that. To celebrate spring and another year, I took a trip from my home in the southeast corner of Ireland to the west this week, with my best friend in tow – a road trip fueled by Taytos apples and crisps instead of Hunter. S Thompson’s psychedelics or liberation feminism telma and Luisa, but quite unrestrained by our own lights. Every night, full of seafood, we would stagger into a pub and stumble upon a group of musicians enjoying a session, and although the hat was often passed around among tourists in exchange for tourist coins, the performances seemed too festive to be purely commercial. transaction.

One night, following the sound, we walked through what appeared to be a deserted hotel, all the residents lying neatly in their beds, to pass through a door into a back bar filled with noise and applause. In another, we sit in a small pub, listen to a soloist deliver a hauntingly beautiful rendition of On Raglan Road, and feel the mysterious beauty of Patrick Kavanagh’s “enchanted way.”

Is this incredibly romantic? Of course. We took a boat to Inishbofin and walked along the coast, marveling at the way the islanders decorate their gardens with found objects, string bombs and intricate insect hotels, but it was a beautiful day and perhaps we wouldn’t have thought so. lovely, as it is. It is not uncommon in this part of the world for the rain to have been horizontal and the wind to be strong enough to blow your ears off. However, in the warmth of the community center, an arts festival was held over the weekend that included a talk by the documentary photographer. Billy Mundowchronicler of Irish life, island resident and staunch opponent of smartphone cameras.

I guess this is a way of saying that the urge to create can thrive in the nooks and crannies, as well as the largest rooms and loudest stages, and that it’s not dependent on the thinness of your iPad Pro. This isn’t nothing new, but it’s the brazenness of Apple’s ad vision that is perhaps its most striking aspect. Destroying musical instruments and art materials is not presented as an act of vandalism but as the door to a minimalist freedom enhanced by technology, in which doing something requires not understanding and gradual mastery, but the cunning to manipulate images and sounds with speed and ease.

It can also be a way of saying that this is what it’s like to get older. Back home, with the aforementioned roof repairs still underway (no operating system is yet up to the task of stopping a leak), there’s some internal turmoil. We are surrounded by the fruits of our commitment to analog: teetering stacks of books, piles of newspapers and magazines, vinyl rarities transplanted with kid gloves into storage boxes. I suppose it would have been easier if our enthusiasm had been more easily contained by the M4 chip powering the latest tablet, but where would we be then? Sitting under the damp rafters, tapping our screens in an empty room, that’s where.

Alex Clark is a Observer columnist

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