When was the last time you discovered something truly new? A new item of clothing buried at the back of the rack, perhaps, or a new design that blew you away? Something original that inspired you – that made you feel something – encouraging you to want to know more, do more and understand more.
The reason we get such a thrill from the undiscovered is because we are naturally curious creatures. We would still be using horses for transport and living by candlelight if no one had ever asked ‘I wonder what would happen if…?’
Luckily for us, we are armed with more tools than ever before to feed this curiosity.
However we’re unsatisfied.
Far from feeling a lack of the new, we are now oversaturated with it: information, ideas, images. It feels like more and more brands are vying for our attention, yet at the same time everything has been ‘done’.
The consumer now goes on the internet and can look up everything and anything. We’re more likely to be introduced to a new brand via marketing in our feed than we are to discover one in real life or be recommended one by a friend. We just hit a button and there it is.
But this leaves us with a disconnect. Gone are the days where you knew the ‘person’ selling you your product. When you could have a chat, build a relationship, friendship. When your tailor would know you and your measurements. When the butcher would have the perfect cut of meat ready for you and would ask how your aunty Doris is.
Now we get our groceries online. We have big brands, call centres and conglomerates to answer to. Not a local amenity with a real-life person attached. What we gained in technology, we’re now lacking in community and engagement. For that reason our brains have very quickly been trained to flick through information. It’s made us impatient. Reading a full article seems like a chore (sorry).
The problem with this is that it’s difficult for something to have a lasting effect on us. It’s difficult for us to separate what’s truly new with what’s being fed to us, because we’ve forgotten how to be curious.
Take location-based memories, for instance. Can you remember what you saw on Instagram yesterday? No, neither can I. Can you remember that exhibition you went to four years ago? Probably. You know where it was, who you were with and probably what the weather was like that day. Not to mention your thoughts on the work itself.