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July 22nd, 2002

Hawai’i and Memories

Well, this is a bit better. Since I last typed, I jumped off a 40 foot lava rock a few times, swam with 3 honest-to-goodness sea turtles, had some bagels and lox, flew from Maui to Hawai’i (the locals write it out that way. Hawaiian is not a written language, it’s about the sound, and the apostrophe better approximates the pronunciation). I’ve sent a bunch of postcards (apologies to anyone I’ve missed); did some watercolors; lots of snorkeling; lots of swimming; walking, and yes, more.

I’m reading the out-of-print A Woman On Paper, a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. She’s a fascinating woman, as illuminated through letters and images and especially her relationship with the author, Anita Pollitzer. One thing in particular I thought fascinating was that when she was a young girl, and doing portraits of people, often she would destroy what she made soon after making them because she said she did not want them floating around to haunt her. I like that notion – of making a piece of art, then destroying. I think of some native arts where at the completion of the art, you destroy it. Sand painting I think of first. And I also think of the part in the film (also a book, but I know the movie) A River Runs Through It — the father has the boys write a theme, he reads it, and then tells them to throw it away. That dedication to craft, coupled with the destruction of it, I find really interesting. In web design much of what I do is designed to be permanent. Jakob Nielsen says that web pages must live forever. But I think of William Gibson’s Agrippa, which was created in 1992, and was far too expensive for one such as I to buy. It was designed to be read once. Then it would be destroyed. Of course, now, the text is widely available.

The internet remembers. It has a long memory. Whether that is the usenet archives or the internet archive. The net remembers forever. If it appears as bits, someone can remember it. Memory, of course, is very much the topic of much Cyberpunk fiction. Blade Runner. Johnny Mnemonic. We Can Remember It for You Wholesale / Total Recall. Robocop.

And memory is, in the end all we have.

Now I will go make more memories in the water.

Onward.

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