All Those Moments Will be Lost in Time

S. and I are very interested in lifecasting, life streaming, life logging, life blogging or whatever you want to call it. We are doing some early investigations of technologies, techniques and approaches. Meanwhile, I see that our friend Frank has moved on to the experimentation phase (“August 27, 2008: A Day in the Life,” Too Frank?, 27 August 2008). I also notice a number of visits to Starbucks throughout Frank’s day.

I’m completely unsure what to do at this point. I don’t think I want to have to explain in my next job interview why I’m wearing some gigantic helmet that makes me look like a borg special child. Alternately, it could be as simple as a palmtop with a built-in digital camera and a flickr account.

The lifecasting Wikipedia page has lots of leads to life logging resources, but my two favorites don’t make the list — they are pretty simple. First, I am deeply impressed by Noah Kalina’s Every Day, where he made a six minute stream out of 2,356 photos, taken one per day from 11 January 2000 – 31 July 2006. I think in his case it’s half the music that makes his project seem so profound. Mr. Kalina has prompted a number of both cool and humorous imitators, with a photo a day during the nine months of a pregnancy seeming a particularly poignant use of this documentary form. Second is Jamie Livingston who took a Polaroid photo every day starting 31 March 1979 until 25 October 1997, the day before he died of a brain tumor at the age of 41. Mr. Livingston didn’t usually take self-portraits, just a picture of what was going on around him. Chris Higgins has a good digest of photos, especially the biographical ones, from the collection along with some background information (“He Took a Polaroid Every Day, Until the Day He Died,” mental_floss, 21 May 2008). Also a powerful collection.

I was overhearing someone the other day at the table next to me explain to his dining partner that it’s only a matter of time before data storage miniaturization allows us all to carry around enough storage to record our entire lives. Of course universal wireless will probably beat hard disks to the punch and anyway you wouldn’t want to be carrying around something that important and sensitive in your pocket. You’ll want something a little more secure and fault-tolerant. Whatever the case, the day is coming and I suspect that it will be epoch-defining. One day we will look back and marvel that at one time everyone just let their lives slip away into oblivion “like tears in rain.” I’d like to get a jump on it.