Tuesday, 2:40pm
14 September 2010

When Harry IM-ed Sally

Camilla Grey looks at modern love in the online ether

Tweeps, friends, followers, subscribers, buddies – in this socially networked world there is seemingly no end to the connections we can make across an exhaustive range of platforms, writes Camilla Grey. But what does it all really add up to?

The last lonely Tweet on Friday night? A hopeful Facebook update into the ether? Ultimately, we still crave human interaction and contact. At the end of the day, World of Warcraft and YouPorn can only go so far.

Top: Image by Paris-based illustrator Geneviève Gauckler, see ‘Come together’ on the Eye blog.

Recognising that most relationships start in real life, rather than Second Life, Cheek’d brings a more ‘offline’ approach to online dating. According to their website, the New York-based company, ‘provides a fun and non-intimidating way to meet that intriguing stranger who just sparked your interest.’ Rather than cyber-stalking via Missed Connections, Cheek’d members can dispatch flirty cards to hotties who catch their eye. The recipient can then log-on to the website and arrange a date. If Carrie Bradshaw hadn't hung up her Manolos before the invention of sexting, I'm pretty sure her ‘I'm totally cooler than your date’ card would’ve found its way to Mr Big.


Above: From Sibling Rivalry: David Storey and Eric Storey, a show at Coningsby Gallery earlier this year (26 > 30 April 2010). See the Eye events page for more exhibitions and graphic happenings.

And if we increasingly define ourselves by brand names and tastes rather than skills and interests, perhaps the ‘hobbies’ section on dating sites, would be more useful as a list of brands. Monocle magazine? Tick. Busaba? Tick. Pizza Express? No tick. Seizing upon this, Cupidtino is a dating site aimed at the most elitist tribe of all – Mac users. Suddenly, whether you're a Mac or a PC is an indication of both software and emotional compatibility.

Diesel, 1998

Above: anonymous, Diesel, 1998. From ‘Pas de deux: Couples in Posters’, an exhibition at Museum of Design Zurich (3 March > 13 June 2010). See the Eye events page for more…

Urban life is fast-paced - we race through it armed with devices that demand (and win) more attention than they deserve. Those life-changing, lingering gazes across a train carriage or serendipitous meetings can't happen when we're hunched over an iPhone. And even when an opportunity does present itself, we're too strung out to respond positively.

As the archetypal over-worked staffer, Liz Lemon of 30 Rock said in response to a guy wanting to buy her a drink, ‘But I already have a drink. Do you think he'd buy me mozzarella sticks?’. It seems the better connected we are digitally, the less ability we have to connect normally. And where's the fun in that?

Avant Garde issue 3

Above: Lionel Kalish’s redesigned dollar bill. See 'Revalue the dollar’ on the Eye blog.

Eye magazine is available from all good design bookshops and at the online Eye shop, where you can order subscriptions, single issues and back issues.

The summer issue, 76, out now, is a music special – full contents here, and you can see a selection of visual details on Eye Before You Buy on Issuu.