Articles — April 15, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Not Now, Perhaps Later: Time Capsules as Communications with the Future + Statement

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LEA Volume 19 Issue 2
Volume Editors: Lanfranco Aceti and Richard Rinehart
Editors: Ozden Sahin, Jonathan Munro and Catherine M. Weir

ISBN: 978-1-906897-23-9
ISSN: 1071-4391

Not Now, Perhaps Later: Time Capsules as Communications with the Future
+ Statement

by Jo Ann Oravec

Time capsules are designed to remove selected objects (both physical and virtual) from the streams of everyday use and destruction, toward the goal of placing them in the reach of individuals in the future. This article describes how items are sequestered from present applications and transported to a physical and conceptual space in which they will be received at a particular time in the future with minimal alteration and modification. It analyzes inadvertent time capsule construction (tar pits and tunnels) as well as more deliberate familial, community, didactic, and survivalist varieties. Future archivists or historians are often optimistically posited in time capsule construction who are supposedly prepared to place the items in appropriate context once the capsule is opened. The article also explores the future of time capsule development with projections as to how the character of these efforts may change as the number of online capsules (and amount of digital material stored) increases.

Full article is available for download as a pdf here.

Volume 19 Issue 2 of Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA) is published online as a free PDF but will also be rolled out as Amazon Print on Demand and will be available on iTunes, iPad, Kindle and other e-publishing outlets.

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