Pixelation is a result of poor quality reproduction.  Someone takes a picture of a flower.  The flower is now a digital image, then it is printed repeatedly on t-shirts that show up at Forever 21, then on the Forever 21 sale rack, and then (should you decide to sell this fall season, on the racks at Crossroads Trading Company, and then, in no more than a year, this digitized daisy shirt, will be used for a rag to mop up the mornings spilled coffee.

I was taking a little stroll through South Coast Plaza the other day and there was a window that caused a shocking reaction in me.  I was walking with my brother and I ended up on a rant that lasted a good twenty steps. I was mad at the digital print.  I was mad that someone had the nerve to put it on a beautifully crafted, silk dress, a dress that literally retailed for several hundred dollars.  Why would someone degrade such a fashion sculpture with a print that looked like it came off of my 1998 ink jet printer?

It’s a statement, but what was is saying and why was my response so… dramatic? Why did I feel like I was being flipped off by a dress?

It seemed like an ultimate juxtaposition of artistic craftsmanship and the junkiest junk of the age of branding.  The print looked like a lovely watercolor made digital, then printed as if to intentionally distort and pixelize the intended beauty. What a tragedy.  Digitization is the reality of technological age.  For a long time we have been on the trajectory of trying to make the digital image look more real.  In the past few years, fashion has been playing with the pixel and in doing so, making jokes out of otherwise lovely garments.

In complete contrast, digitization (Photoshop) is making humans look less real in the opposite direction.  Faces are not made to look pixelized, but pore-less and smooth to inhuman.  Either way you look at it, the organic world is looking more plastic.  Could culture really be moving to where we prefer fake to real.  Do you really want to see the image of a pixelized design over a quality print?  What is this saying about our culture?

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