If you are an avid music fan, you must’ve noticed by now that the vinyl is making a comeback.  Large retails chains such as Barns and Nobles now have a dedicated section for vinyls.  NBC News says: “vinyl sales were up 52 percent from the first half of 2014 to the first half of 2015 — or from $145.8 million to $221.8 million.” According to Adweek, “vinyl sales marked 10 straight year of growth in 2016.  In the first six week of 2016 alone, sales was up 17 percent versus 2015.”

Kodak Super 8

And it’s not just music industry. Kodak recently relaunched Super 8 cine camera. Polaroid offers Snap, the digital version of an instant camera.

Kodak calls this phenomena “Analogue Renaissance.”  Apparently,  demand for analogue products is increasing in the era of streaming and Youtube. Why are we going back to turn table and dark room when we have an easy option just a click away?  Is it a campaign to console people who grew up analogue and having trouble catching up with the latest and greatest technologies? It is just nostalgia for good old days?

On its Super 8 website, Kodak states: “There are some moments that digital just can’t deliver, because it doesn’t have the incomparable depth and beauty of film. These moments inspired Kodak to design a new generation of film cameras.”

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino further explains “some moments” that digital just can’t deliver: “When you’re filming something on film you aren’t recording movement, you’re taking a series of still pictures and when shown at 24 frames per second through a light bulb, THAT creates the illusion of movement. That illusion is connected to the magic of making movies.”

Does the magic of “illusions” sound familiar if you’ve already read the entire chapters of “Zero Narrative?”  Illusion is not something that actually exists. Like a mirage, it’s something our vision captures and our imagination enhances. Whereas movements recorded using digital camera are tangible and physically present, illusions are not.

In Chapter 4, we talked about abundance by absence, a concept depicted in the figure below.

Digital camera can capture movement with high resolution.  Very little moment is left un-captured.  It provides very detailed information (external stimulus) to us, and that’s what we like about digital. But fills up our world. There is little room for our imagination to play a role.

Creativity stimulus large

On the other hand,there are only 24 stills per second in film. There are a lot of room in between. Tarantino says that the room is filled by illusions, which in turn unleash audience’s imagination.

Creativity stimulus

Boundless beauty emerges when our imagination and creativity is unleashed.

And in order for it to happen, external stimulus needs to be reduced to ultimate essentials. Enough room (void) needs to be left so that our imagination can freely explore its potential.  24 still pictures per second creates illusions, and they function as void. Illusion unleashes our imagination and our senses become alert and creative. Watching a movie can become a lot more engaging because we are leveraging our own imagination and creativity.

We will discuss more about the effects of digital versus analogue from aesthetic and artistic standpoint. It has deep implications to understand the abundance created by Zero.

By the way, the kind of “illusions” Tarantino talks about can be found a lot in Japanese traditional culture.  Yohaku (余白) in Japanese means margin ( especially white margin on a sheet of paper), or buffer (I cannot find the perfect word that translate the gist of this word…), and it plays significant role in Japanese traditional culture:  calligraphy, paint, Zen garden, flower arrangement….pretty much any kind of Japanese traditional art embraces Yohaku.   Illusion, or Yohaku is something that doesn’t exist physically, but is a trigger to help activate our sensory and cognitive potentials.

Probably it’s not a coincidence that Tarantino pointed out about illusion of analogue film; he is heavily influenced by Japanese movies.