September, 2004:

From the outset, it was clear that it was a losing battle - perhaps a worthy attempt, but essentially hopeless. How could I possibly give a voice to the myriad objects that intersect with, and for a fleeting moment give focus to, my life. The objects which I accumulate are almost countless, and each has its own story to tell. Obviously, I have to pick and choose. Some receive their fifteen minutes. Others are destined to be forever forgotten without even that.

Does it really matter? In the long run, of course not. But once we start focusing on objects that otherwise don't command any attention, which are, almost by definition, forgettable, each one seems to demand equal treatment, each yells out "me too". Yet once again, it's a losing battle.

And that basically explains why, with the conclusion of the second year of this project, I thought it was time to bring it to a halt. After all, I had hoped that I hadn't only inventoried all the objects I've accumulated over the years, but had also examined various ways of saving and remembering, had used these objects as a diving board into the pool of reflection. But even the various forms of reflection can repeat themselves, and when I felt this happening it seemed a logical time to call it quits.

But of course it's more than just that. As long I'm able to focus on a limited number of objects, each receives its own special attention. When, toward the end of this summer, we started work on a major remodeling of our home, I found myself inundated with more objects than I could deal with. Preparing for remodeling meant emptying the house of just about everything - putting lots of objects in boxes for afterwards, while even more - mostly items saved in the boidem in the hope of one day having time to go through them - when straight to the trash. It was clear that too much had accumulated for me to possibly devote the time to carefully picking and choosing what to save. When you're drowning in objects, sometimes the only feasible plan of action is to empty the pool.

My inability to give everything that I threw out (or saved) its moment in the sun strengthened my feeling that this was the proper time to conclude this project. But even as I frantically tried to get rid of as much as I could without too many qualms of guilt, I realized that an additional year of objects, each with a particular story to tell, had materialized before me. As I walked to the trash, only one hand held what I was throwing out - the other held the digital camera so that I could preserve images of significant items (and, in the end, too many of the items themselves). These images comprise the third year of this project. Each month focuses on an object or set of objects uncovered as I cleaned out the house. Each represents a piece of history, either personal, public, or both. But first, we have to recognize the truth of being swamped with more than we can deal with.

  To: A Digitized Life - main page