A brief discussion of the wonders of these digital times we’re living in and how a card really is not a card until it becomes a card
Card creation nowadays
It’s true that this is not a card (merci, Monsieur Magritte). It is the reproduction of an image that could become a card, and it only exists as a digital file, which was created by me and sent to a specific location in cyberspace. There it floats, until and if someone happens upon it and decides that they would like to send it or receive it. It then is chosen digitally, becomes party to some digital manipulation, gets paid for by some digital process, and only then is it printed in the three-dimensional world, becoming a tangible card. One would think that after several years of participating in this sort of online enterprise, I would be used to this, and in a way I am, but mostly I am not. I am filled with wonder. This definitely has to do with my having entered the Internet galaxy somewhat later in my development – I did not grow up in virtual reality – and also with my never having imagined that I could design greeting cards (as well as other items), post them – as it’s called – and receive notices (digitally) that this or that customer from somewhere on this planet has decided that something of mine (digitally) displayed matches whatever (s)he had in mind and has purchased it. As much as I accept that this seems to occur by now with a certain uneven regularity – which I find incredible – I am in a fairly constant state of amazement about these goings-on and will never be able to take them for granted.
Cards on demand, not unlike music
My wonderment has two parts. First, there is that business of virtual reality. This should not be so foreign to someone whose primary occupation is reproducing sounds – in company with other performers – that were set down as inaudible marks on manuscript paper and disappear the second they have sounded. Yet, somehow, music is very real to me even when it is instantly fading, while those digital files, on the other hand, will forever seem like the most absorbing optical illusion despite repeated evidence that they, too, exist and can be called upon to cause expected results. The second wonder for me is that, after so many years of happy music-making, I was able to channel some of my feelings about it into visible designs, that they would appeal to other people, and that they would be found (which loops back to part one).
I don’t suppose it is entirely possible to separate the gorgeous looks of the violin from the notion of the fabulous things it can do, but it’s a challenge to try to present it as a beautiful object in some fashion that hasn’t appeared on the stage yet. So, when is a violin not a violin? That would be when it’s a digital file waiting to be printed on demand.