• Steven Doughty

Critical Experiences : Information Decay Overview


  • what is my starting question?

Does information itself have a life cycle that is distinguishable from the media that carries it? What does the end of the cycle look like and how is dead information being managed?

  • what am I researching?

Topics of interest are: Intellectual Networks, Philosophy of Information, Ideological Spread, Digital/E-Waste, Media Archaeology, Memes, and Garbology to name a few.

  • why am I interested in it?

Information used to be precious, because the medium used to share it across time and space was expensive to produce and maintain. Now it is so commonplace, inexpensive, and pervasive that users often feel it is detached from the material world. A sort of Cartesian software-hardware dualism. I feel this is an incorrect viewpoint one that could become a problem if the modern exponential growth of data and information continues. Unless we are as a species are perfectly fine with turning entire city blocks into server farms to hold Facebook photos of the deceased's date night dinner plates.

  • what effect would I like to produce in participants (users, publics, audience)?

This is difficult, I am still undecided. I think ultimately maybe a I would like to produce a feeling of saudade ,To invite users to reconsider the sort of information they choose to integrate, store, or forget as part of themselves and social groups.

  • In as plain language as possible: describe the format you have in mind for your project.

A couple of current Ideas.


  1. A ballot in which people can vote on laws/mandates that deal with the topic such as. "A measure to limit how long you can save photos of cats." or more abstractly a "A measure that mandate's everyone should no-longer believe in ghosts."

  2. Furniture that is designed to record and store information about the experience over the actual experience itself. "A table which is difficult to sit at, because it is made to hold cameras for taking photos of your food.'

  3. A data memorial, a place digital/physical where users can participate in sharing and then burying/cremating/deleting old pieces of information that are no longer valuable. from draft emails to floppy disk drives containing outdated maps.

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