No longer collecting for ourselves

In the early years of the internet, the sense of discovery often outweighed the quality and interest of what one actually discovered. At every corner, there seemed to be an outpouring of folk art and taxonomy and presentation and personal accumulation, packaged up for presentation in this new medium with scarcely a care if anyone else clicked through. Most of the initial impetus behind things‘ online presence was to track and report back on this, inline with many of the other early (and inspirational) weblogs. However, the optimism and enthusiasm that characterised the first five or so years of the internet/weblog boom has largely been buried beneath a mudslide of cynicism and clickbait.

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Every discovery was once an insight into a hidden collectomania, a delight in display that revealed taxonomies that might otherwise have been lost or at the very least overlooked (orange crate labels, Soviet electronics, bottle caps, punched cards – Coudal’s Museum of Online Museums – the MoOM, is especially good at chronicling this output). Regrettably perhaps, this emphasis on specialism has become commonplace and the esoteric is now the everyday. Everyone states an interest in craft and skill and ‘creativity’, but what really seems to make a thing stand out on the contemporary internet is a striking blend of the eccentric and the skilful, the intangible qualities of the ‘viral object,’ as opposed to the quiet joy of individual discovery.

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  1. Pingback: things magazine: No longer collecting for ourselves | William Reichard

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