Christmas with my inlaws this year was like meta-Christmas. We were celebrating the annual event of getting together and documenting our togetherness with various different types of cameras. My wife is a photographer so there are “real” digital cameras in play, but there’s also a lot iPhone snapshotting, and Instagramming that goes on throughout the most special day of the year.
A large part of what the whole ritual has become is: documenting the ritual. At some point, we start documenting ourselves documenting ourselves. The video that CharStarlene and GiantMiles did above–”I forgot my phone”–is an amazing representation of this phenomenon.
What the whole cultural phenomenon reminds me of is a Borges fable, titled “On the Exactitude of Science.”
Here’s the fable:
” In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.”
The compulsion to document things derives from a fear of death, and a fear of loss. We want to save each moment from oblivion. But how can we document our own deaths?
I don’t know. Good question. Here’s the next best thing, though: An infographic about photographing the Zombie apocalypse.
Presented By FocusCamera.com.
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