Modernity has erased the physical concept of art


Summer Fitzgerald

Movie cases line up on a dusty shelf in a college apartment. Physical copies have gone ancient due to streaming services taking off.

By Parker Otto

As a hip young person, I visit the residences of my fellow young people and I have come to the conclusion that we are thoroughly uninteresting. At least at a first glance, because their apartments are barren with the exception of a fridge with half a six-pack and a couple of folding chairs. Generation Z, in spite of all of their technological toys, has no things. No material possessions that can showcase their personality, or rather, lack of one.

We don’t have any Blu-Rays or physical films. We have streaming services. We don’t have any books lining our shelves. We have e-books. Actually, we don’t even read books, even if they’re assigned to us. We don’t have vinyls or CDs. We have Spotify playlists. And they’re all located on a convenient device in our pocket.

I admit I’m a bit of a materialist. But not in the way that makes everyone hate you. I don’t spend extravagant amounts of money on designer clothing or whatever frivolous things are popular. I just like having tangible, meaningful things. I like to read physical books. I like having Criterion Collection Blu-Rays.

I like having these things because, not only do they make me happy, but I also know that guests in my home can take a look at my place and understand who I am. You can tell a lot about a person by the books they own or the films they like. 

Without tangible things, our generation will be remembered strictly for our online exploits which should terrify you beyond rational thought. If future generations look back at us and see nothing but TikTok dances and internet challenges, they’re going to think we were complete idiots. And who are we kidding, we are. 

At the very least, when I die and my friends and relatives go sifting through my estate, they’ll think I was interesting. The only thing my generation cares about when they die is that someone can delete their browser history.