Currently in the United States, almost every household, business, and intuition contains a computer and more often than not many, many computers. Since the completion of the first few digital computers in the 1940s which originally took up entire rooms and had to be physically programmed, the “computer” as it is used in modern language now refers to the many varieties of personal desktop, laptop, and tablet computers which are in the hands of more and more people each year. According to the US Census Bureau, the percent of households which owned at least one computer rose from 8.2% to 61.8% between 1984 and 2003 and the percent of households which had access to the internet at home rose from 18.0% in 1997 to 68.7% in 2009.
The popularity of the computer can be attributed to its many and varied uses. The original use of the computer was to do mathematical computations very quickly, allowing scientists to commutate their experimental data much quicker than they could ever dream on their own. Over time, the computer has become capable of long distance communication, word and data processing, image and video editing, 3D virtualization and modeling, and as a tool in classrooms to expand the teacher’s ability to teach with resources outside the classroom. With the internet now widely accessible, a user can find information on any topic through a simple search, view images and videos of locations they are otherwise unable to access, talk with friends and peers miles away in real time, and contact people much more quickly through the use of email. With the many benefits of using computers, there can be no surprise concerning the rise in computer ownership and use in the various decades.
However, while the computer does simplify a number of tasks as well as communication, it is not without faults. For me, the computer is often a source of distraction, both from work and from others. For instance, the website Facebook which helps promote social networking almost seems to draw me away from those I could easily enough see with a short walk across campus. Instead, I choose to leave a message or chat with them while looking at a multitude of other sites such as Youtube. At other times, I play a variety of games which harbor my entire attention and interest that I neglect to socialize with friends or, ironically, check up with them on Facebook.
There’s this duality to the use of computers: we all now need them in order to function as we are used to- for example, I would go mad would I have to write this entire statement out by hand rather than using a word processer to type and edit it much more quickly- but with that need and the computer’s well-suited answer, we are also subject to be too attached to our computers and their other, more entertaining functions. Instead of writing that essay, we might instead decide to watch a video of a cat rolling around in a box. For me, however, I cannot find enough reason to either praise or condemn the average person’s use of the computer for, I being subject to both the positive and negative sides, could not forsake one for the other.
Thus, the arrangement for this project is meant to show that duality and indecisiveness. Of the six broad uses of the computer shown, there is three positive and three negative each presented with the same size and attention. Colored banners contain words which explain the use being presented in any given image and help stitch the two sides together as a group being presented somewhat together, not as opposing groups which are being debated against one another. The lack of a line separating the individual images symbolizes how easy it is to move from one use to another without much effort, especially when practically every computer can allow the user to do any of these things. Finally, when comparing the positive and negative sides, the images- both as individuals and as groups- almost appear as a simple transposition of the other side, suggesting that these sides are in fact equal in weight both visually and in influence.
Each image is taken from a first-person perspective as if a single person, using all of the computers shown, is recalling their use of them. To instruct shows perhaps a presentation for a class or for work and suggests that, with computers, the ability to share and present information to others is much easier. To distance, focusing on the effects of sites like Facebook, presents the user looking and commenting on an image of the scene beyond the computer, opting to be with the computer rather than joining the scene themselves. To learn with a computer is most likely the commonly known use for a student, from writing essays to completing research. However, in doing so, they are also drawn away from their work and to waste time through websites like Youtube or Tumblr. To work presents the user completing a visual project though the use of the computer which would be difficult to do accurately and precisely otherwise. Finally, to avoid is to keep oneself away from others, an unfortunate side effect of many popular computer games which keep the users interest from anything else.