Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Kind of Immortality

Map of the Internet
By now many of you have heard of the apparent double suicide of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake. I really wasn't aware of their lives before they decided to end them, but because Theresa lived such a public life through her blog I have come to appreciate her work and thoughts since her passing. I mention all of this because unbeknownst to me Theresa once mentioned my work on her blog and I have been getting a lot of traffic over the past week from her site. It would appear that a lot of people are like me and are only coming to her writing after reading of her death.

Much of the talk of the Web relates to the ephemeral nature of the medium. Buzz is created and crowds form only to move on to the next cultural phenomenon after our interest wanes. This pattern satisfies my ADD-addled brain with a constant supply of stimulation, but I am growing more and more fascinated with the idea of the Web as an ongoing permanent index of every thought and every image ever committed to the network. It's crazy to think that we are contributing to an exhaustive informational phylogency that is mapping and holding the products of our impermanence in a perpetual place. I know this is the centerpiece of Google's business model, but in a very real sense we are also creating a kind of immortality. The recent visitors form Theresa's blog brought this home to me in a very real way.

I should mention that I debated whether or not to post this missive. Again, I didn't know these people and I certainly have no interest in using their death to draw attention to myself. The recent traffic from Theresa's site struck a reflective chord and I felt the need to share. Good idea or bad idea it is now committed to the Internet forever.
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