There was a time when a man died and all that remained were boxes and file cabinets. Tax returns, receipts for record players, letters from children long grown, yearbooks, worn shoes. There was the smell, the touch of cloth. The understanding, perhaps, of how that person lived. However thin that understanding may have been, it was there, embedded in their data, their stuff. A physical remainder, massed together to sketch the edges of a life.
I can’t help but see an element of self-preservation amid our data collection. Preservation embedded deep within our check-ins, our food photos, our tracked steps and mapped run routes. We are collecting like never before.
Photo by me, taken in 2009.