Install Theme


This week, 3 years ago, I started glitching my photographs after coming across a defective memory card that randomly wrote zeroes on its files. This is one of the first databent JPEGs I made from photographs I took of my baby brother’s first trip to Disney.

Joanne McNeil: “My summer is the sound of an American flag and a Union Jack whipping together in the wind at my grandfather’s house in Wellfleet. I visit every year. Every summer that sound. I think of the season as a jangling symphony in my head of flags, crickets, wind chimes, waves, and the interiors of some odd shells washed up on Marconi Beach. I have photographs to keep these memories but with the ubiquity of photography, images fail to capture special moments the way they did when a picture was something you kept in shoebox on a shelf someplace. But field recording, audio of environments, preserves more of the elusive qualities of an experience. It is just as easy as taking photos— if you’ve got an iPhone, you’ve got the Voice Memos app. This is why I’m encouraging someone to build a product as simple as Instagram for our field recordings.”

In the photograph Thomas Hoepker took on 11 September 2001, a group of New Yorkers sit chatting in the sun in a park in Brooklyn. Behind them, across brilliant blue water, in an azure sky, a terrible cloud of smoke and dust rises above lower Manhattan from the place where two towers were struck by hijacked airliners this same morning and have collapsed, killing, by fire, smoke, falling or jumping or crushing and tearing and fragmentation in the buildings’ final fall, nearly 3,000 people. Ten years on, this is becoming one of the iconic photographs of 9/11, yet its history is strange and tortuous. Hoepker, a senior figure in the renowned Magnum photographers’ co-operative, chose not to publish it in 2001 and to exclude it from a book of Magnum pictures of that horribly unequalled day. Only in 2006, on the fifth anniversary of the attacks, did it appear in a book, and then it caused instant controversy… Today, the meaning of this photograph has nothing to do with judging individuals. It has become a picture about history, and about memory. As an image of a cataclysmic historical moment it captures something that is true of all historical moments: life does not stop dead because a battle or an act of terror is happening nearby. (via The meaning of 9/11’s most controversial photo | Jonathan Jones | Comment is free |

The selfie is already a politically and socially fraught form of expression, as many sociologists and social media theorists have written before; while self-portraits are understood by many to be little more than a flagrant show of narcissism or a plea for attention, they may mean something different to the taker herself. It’s less a matter of self-glorification than self-documentation — “I was here.” “This is who I was that day.” “This happened.” (via The other side of the infamous “Auschwitz selfie” - The Washington Post)

"Timehop, the app that serves as a personal ‘today in history’ memo by surfacing your social networking photos and posts from a year ago or more, has raised $10 million in new funding… Going forward, Timehop could expand the types of actions its service tracks. ‘Our digital footprints are just exploding, and we’re creating more overall content than ever’, [CEO Jonathan] Wegener said. ‘Your digital history as Timehop sees it is currently on social networks, but there are also things like your photos on your phone and your computer, your text messages, your wearable fitness trackers, and even your credit card swipes. There’s all this digital exhaust you produce while going about your day… we could be the place where all that stuff goes’… Asked whether Timehop could be threatened by the emergence of ephemeral digital services such as Snapchat, Wegener said that while ephemerality is natural for personal communication, people will likely always want to preserve certain actions and moments for posterity. ‘Often the whole reason you take a photo is to be able to see it later. There will always be a market of people creating content for the purpose of an archive’.” (via Timehop, The App That Works As A Digital Time Capsule, Raises $10M Led By Shasta Ventures | TechCrunch)

"Vemory is an app that automatically configures all of your images — not just the ones from your camera roll, but the content you’ve posted to Facebook, Instagram, etc. — to create beautiful videos between 60 seconds and two minutes. But the compelling part of the app is that you can go from having no video compilations to having a dozen or more, all from simply signing up. Using information similar to the iOS 8 collections, Vemory pulls in all the photos from a certain location or event, and also compiles videos for each year. The images are chosen based on their number of likes, and as the video plays, various comments flash by on the screen as well as the number of likes for each photo. Vemory even adds in some generic music. Of course, you have the power to edit these videos, removing certain photos and replacing them with others. And for folks who really feel the need to express their creativity, Vemory will let users build their own videos from scratch." (via Vemory Automatically Compiles Video Memories From Your Social Media Photos | TechCrunch)

Mark Fischetti: “What about effects on memory? Isn’t part of memory’s purpose to craft a cohesive narrative of your life? The building of memories helps make sense of what happens to us.”

Sherry Turkle: “That’s what I am interested in trying to learn. I’d be very interested in teaming up with psychologists who study how much you remember right after an event, if you’ve been wearing Google Glass versus if you’re just relying on your memory. Because Google Glass allows you to defer to another day, do you stop paying attention? And does that undermine your memory? I don’t think we know that yet. To me there’s a question of: Are you curating or are you evacuating? I hear more people saying to me: ‘It’s one less thing for me to worry about’. The last person I interviewed who wore Google Glass said: ‘I don’t have to worry about my memories anymore; they’ll take care of themselves now’. And I’m thinking, that is really not the point of an attentive life experience, of being present in the moment. But I don’t want to take a position against photography or things that help you remember your life. I don’t think there’s a simple story to tell here.”

When beloved celebrities died in an earlier era, we rushed home and gathered around our television sets. Now we stare at our smartphones on the street, reading posts, watching clips, maybe even sharing a memory or emotion of our own. In the age of social media, everyone is an obituary writer. Part of the magic of movies and television has always been their ability to create the feeling that you actually know the people you’re watching. That fantasy has become more powerfully enabled by the rise of Facebook and Twitter, which creates a direct connection between celebrities and their fans.

Steve Ranger: “…whereas previously embarrassing stories about an individual would have been printed in newspapers and then forgotten (existing only in a yellowing copy of an old paper, or in our own fallible memories), the internet means these stories are visible every time someone searches for their name. This is what Europe’s right to be forgotten tries to remedy — to take the undeserved sting out of these ancient stories. It goes some way towards creating a half-life for information in an age when digital technology allows us to retain everything forever. There are some very limited scenarios – such as those involving spent convictions which would not have to be disclosed normally – where a right to be forgotten makes sense. But to me, beyond that, it’s very hard to see why information which is fair and accurate should be removed from view… We need a better understanding of what the right to be forgotten means before we start turning search indexes — our outsourced collective memory — into Swiss cheese. The right to be forgotten embodies one of the most profound challenges we face. Humans are by design forgetting machines; our fallible grey matter urges us on by helping us to forget old pains, and by preventing us to from perfectly replaying happy memories over and over again. But now we have to deal with the consequences of having the capability to remember almost everything for all time.”

Back in the 1990s, historical societies, museums and symphonies across the country began transferring all kinds of information onto what was thought to be a very durable medium: the compact disc. Now, preservationists are worried that a lot of key information stored on CDs — from sound recordings to public records — is going to disappear. Some of those little silver discs are degrading, and researchers at the Library of Congress are trying to figure out why. (via How Long Do CDs Last? It Depends, But Definitely Not Forever : All Tech Considered : NPR)