Jake Vail

Presence of Our Past

We live in a time of constant digital accumulation and documentation. Camera-equipped mobile devices paired with virtually limitless digital storage has fostered a climate of relentless image capturing. These ever-growing collections of digital images represent a rich, varied, personalized visual narration of our lives. In the past, we were better able to curate our smaller image collections due to their scale and form. However, today these collections exist intangibly, captured and largely forgotten in unorganized storage devices. While we are not willing to delete them we also have no way of meaningfully consuming them at their current scale.

Through my research I developed a device for displaying these vast visual collections. By condensing the mass of photos horizontally, we can begin to create a blended individual image of our past, with each color representing a compressed memory. . The collection can be narrowed to focus on individual images or sorted to alter the narrative in which we choose to reflect on. This exploration can allow for the rediscovery of forgotten memories and altered views of our past. As our documentation behavior continues to evolve, so to should our ability to showcase, appreciate, and reflect on our growing number of digital memories.