We all remember late 90s Windows screensavers. Sitting atop a dark background was the Windows logo clunkily bounding from one corner of the screen to another. What about the endless series of three-dimensional, multi-coloured pipes that manifested within the screen, seemingly on a journey to nowhere? We’re sure most-everyone remembers that.
As indicative as these screensavers are of the Windows 95 operating system, their aesthetics left a lot to be desired. Hardly immersing you with their design, they exposed the full extent, or lack thereof, of the operating system.
Fast forward more than two decades and 4K Ultra HD screensavers prove just how far we’ve come. Today, when every PC or laptop goes to sleep, their computer can display images with detail and resolution that matches anything of the human eye. Has the forgotten art of the screensaver been resurrected? In short, yes.
As hard as it may be to believe, the first screensaver was published in over thirty years ago by Softalk – a now-defunct magazine dedicated to covering everything computer programming, gaming and trade in the 80’s.
Considered revolutionary, this screensaver showed that computers could have a sense of personality – something that only evolved in the years to come with flying toasters and spooky houses populating our computer screens as technological capabilities began catching up to our creative vision.
At the dawn of the 90s, screensavers flourished. Alongside coffee shops, Hip Hop, and a certain cartoon family with yellow skin and a quick wit, the potential of screensavers was beginning to be unlocked. The pipes and flying toasters suddenly became the staple sleep mode of PCs the world over.
Then, once we entered the Millennium, screensavers it seemed became a little drab. The most prominent display in the early 2000s being green cascading code set against a black background. Despite being inspired by The Matrix, these screensavers couldn’t quite be saved from being a snoozefest.
Today, in the age of 4K ultra HD, screensavers have become so much more than being a quirky, colourful display that catches our attention momentarily. They have become art form, or computing genre unto themselves.
It’s impossible to consume an aquarium screensaver, or any other design for that matter, in an instant. Screensavers are practically an endurance art – one that demands attention, rather than providing momentarily distraction.
The primary use of a PC screensaver has also evolved. No longer are they designed to prevent PC or TV burnout, quite the contrary, for most their primary function is to mitigate loneliness or transport us to places most can only dream of visiting – even for only a few seconds.
The Future of Screensavers
If the nineties and early noughties were times of collaborative whimsy for screen savers, the future of the art form is less clear. However, what is clear is that aquarium screensavers or those depicting a roaring fireplace or cascading waterfall have therapeutic properties that are hard to match.
Doctors and dental surgeries across the world, and indeed throughout the world, have realised the benefit that 4K ultra HD screensavers can have on their patients. Promoting calm at a time when calmness is essential, screensavers have evolved to become therapeutic tools.
Not only that but, screensavers have been proven to help calm down excitable children and create a team office environment, bonding colleagues as they work towards outstanding personal and collective goals.
The screensaver question of the future really becomes one of how much impact do we want then to have? With the power to transform mood and transport us to the far reaches of the world and back in an instant, surely their influence in the years to come will grow and grow, and grow.
On an unrelated note one of our videographers (myself) has created a blog called Chiang Mai Photography. This is where I am currently based for a while and I decided to make a blog to encourage me to keep taking photos and keep improving, so that my Uscenes video compositions and framing improves. It mainly features my street photography, but I have also been sharing Uscenes videos either I filmed or my wife Aiyah.
Our other videographer is currently busy with an exciting project of Dubai aerial photography with drones in a venture called Sky Vision. He has made some awesome videos with the drones and new camera equipment. Check it out.