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Scroll Culture

This is the beginning of Week 3 of 'Work from Home' and I do not have any more excuses to give myself on why I haven't blogged. So here I am, on a gloomy and rainy Saturday morning, trying to parse the fleeting thoughts currently in my mind.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been reading about Representations for a class and it obviously led to an internal questioning and answering of so many threads.. How do we represent and communicate our ideas ? In the age of social media, we consume so much information textually and graphically. How does the mind filter what is important ? What kinds of images is the mind drawn to ? And, of course, architects thrive on the visual, so what does ALL of this mean for the way we operate ?

One of my professors recalled a conversation he had with a colleague, on who students of architecture often 'follow' on Instagram. The reply was that students follow other students,mostly. Which is so true. I think we often end up following accounts we find relatable or aspirational. Student accounts are often floating with content of their current studio work and other students look towards these for ideas, aspirations and clues of techniques that have worked out well.

The students who DO maintain accounts mainly do so to build a digital presence. This is why we have LinkedIn profiles, Issue portoflios, etc. Our ouvre needs to be accessible, and an added advantage of Instagram, is that 'likes' and 'follows' can start to build credibility. If other students, peers from the field begin to follow you, then your work has something important that they can take away.

The loophole in all this imagery, is that we can often get so caught up in pursuing perfect images. How often is it that we come across 9 perfect tiles that together show you a perfect looking project ? Images can be compelling but they can also make the mind crave for perfection. The mind gets attracted to seemingly perfect imagery and we don't want to accept any less.

Also, how many times do we actually read a caption entirely after looking at the image ? Are we interested anymore in the actual content of the project or is that how short our attention spans have become ? It so very often happens that you could have perfectly crafted images populating our feed and we do not read deep enough into it to understand where the image comes from and what that image is trying to do(or not trying).

Scroll culture makes us complacent, especially when confronted with an abundance of choice. We need to not only deliberate in the content we put out into the web, but also deliberate in the content we choose to consume and how consume it.

It is, literally, in our hands (bad joke, yes I'm aware) and we can act on our agency to choose what we consume and build an opinion on it. The next time you come across an image that grabs your attention, ask yourself why you were drawn to it. By turning complacency into consciousness, there is so much richness that we can derive from these images, only if we know what we're looking for.

So, click, scroll. But also pause. And that'll make the difference.

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