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Fire and forgetting
April 29, 2010, 8:38 pm
Filed under: Experience

I’ve been quite challenged to draw an opinion about the question  In 2050 what will we be nostalgic about?

It’s hard to be a futurist. As Matt Linderman at 37signals noted in expert opinions

the problem with experts: They’re experts on the past. No one is an expert on the future.

We can only draw on our experiences, see the signals of now and attempt to extrapolate….

I am very glad that when I was in my teens and 20s most people didn’t have a camera on them at all times and that there was no place to publish and share those photos.

I was young, I loved music, I managed bands and worked for record labels and I made very very bad decisions. I was not terribly kind to myself or others.

Thankfully I don’t remember to much of any of it. I have very few reminders. It’s a blessing.

A song from that time, Deb Conway’s “She Prefers Fire” is introduced in concert with the comment ‘do you ever have the kind of days when you wish your house would burn down?

Everything that we have reminds us of what we have lost
Everything that we have echoes what we desire
Possessions, letters now just fuel for history

It’s important to not keep too much history fuel around. We all know that controlled burning can help prevent forest fires.

I can’t help but think that people going through that time of their life now and getting scars and breaking hearts and making infamous, funny prat falls can’t pick themselves up and burn the photos.

Or hide the blog posts, or box up the Facebook comments…

In 2050 being photographed and captured might well be ubiquitous.

Imagine all those bad hair days, terrible outfits, drunken behavior, spats with partners and nose picking moments being able to be tagged and shared and tracked back to you….

Or the happier moments that you’d prefer to keep in the past.

I think I’ll be nostalgic about being able to create my own ‘digital me’ and having some portion of control over it. And of having the luxury of being able to forget.


8 Comments so far
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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Katie Chatfield. Katie Chatfield said: Fire and forgetting http://bit.ly/9UVkYs my answer to what I'll be nostalgic about in 2050 […]

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Totally!!! I love the metaphor of “controlled burning”. I am also reminded of a Borges story – Funes the Memorious. Funes cannot forget. He is constantly surrounded by his memories – and it enfeebles him.

Burn, baby, burn.

Comment by innotecture

You’re brilliant. I love this.

Comment by Jye

Nice post Katie.

I wrote on a similar topic recently. However, my theory was that as images (or evidence) increase in number their individual impact lessens.

Instead the images that follow you round will simply be indicative of your general behaviour. People will learn to make judgments about a person based on your mass of images, not an individual one. People will also take into account when an image was captured.

That’s my theory anyways.

Though I must say, I do thoroughly enjoy looking trough the little box of images I keep from my university days thankful in the fact that Google knows nothing about them.

Comment by matthewgain

I wonder if you think that it lessens the impact on the individual though?
I think I was exploring how the images we have of ourselves, captured by others, create our sense of self, inform our memories and become stimulus for our personal stories.
The judgements we make about who we are and what kind of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves would hopefully always be more important than the impressions that others have of us.

Comment by katiechatfield

What an insightful post, Katie! You revealed so much without revealing too much.

If you have scars or bad experiences, you certainly don’t wear them. Every time I leave a conversation with you, I’m lighter and more refreshed.

Thank you for putting your best, most beautiful self forward everyday in person & in your writing. I look forward to any event that you attend.

Cheers & best,
kristin rohan

Comment by dario

[…] Fire and forgetting […]

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[…] bit about time recently: about how it seems to slow and speed; about how to utilise it as a medium; about memory and future memory; and about how people experience moments and experiences in different […]

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