The Yahoo Time Capsule

Upon signing out of Fickr after uploading some images, I was presented with an advertisement for something called the Yahoo Time Capsule. See the ad below:

Flickr ad

My interest was piqued by the “Smithsonian Folkways Recordings” link as well as the whole Time capsule idea (a concept that immediately reminds me of Andy Warhol). So I clicked on the link and was brought to a spherical, interactive timeline featuring the categories Beauty, Past, Faith, Hope, Sorrow, etc. I clicked on the sphere and got the following result:

Sorrow

Click on image for larger version.

Expecting some hallmark card-like image/inscription, I got someone’s gut-wrenching lamentation about losing their 2-month old daughter to the government because of their drug addiction. I was struck -having had a daughter myself recently- such a trace of sorrow represented a deep connection with another person I never saw, heard, or spoke with before I clicked on the ad. Moreover, the quote above is to be a cultural remembrance of our moment.

My next click was no less powerful, this time it was on Faith (not mine, but the category!):

Faith

I have to say that I was really impressed by my quick sojourn through the time capsule. The random short statements and images affected me much more than I had anticipated, and it reminded me of something John Berger said in his essay “Ways of Seeing:”

Adults and children sometimes have boards in their bedrooms or livingrooms on which they pin pieces of paper: letters, snapshots, reproductions of paintings, newspaper cuttings, original drawings, postcards. On each board all the images belong to the same language and are all more or less equal within it, because they have been chosen in a highly personal way to match and express the experience of the room’s inhabitant. Logically, these boards should replace museums.

Berger’s suggestion that the home-made collage -given its highly personalized aesthetic that works within a specific, immediate context- replace the model of the contemporary museum came to my mind immediately because it still strikes me as as such a radical departure. For me, moving through the time capsule was like getting access to a vast, random social collage. I am still imagining all the refrigerators, pinboards, headboards, dresser tops, kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, and dens from around the world that I was given a glimpse into. This is the art of social networking software at its finest.

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