Hypermedia, Eternal Life, and the Impermanence Agent






  • We look to media as memory, and a place to memorialize, when we have lost.

    Hypermedia pioneers envisioned the ultimate media within the ultimate archive, with each element in continual (versioned) flux and constant new additions – dynamism without loss.

    Instead we have the Web, where “Not Found” is a daily message. Projects such as the Internet Archive and Afterlife dream of fixing this uncomfortable impermanence. Marketers, instead, promise agents that will make the Web comfortable through filtering (hiding the impermanence and overwhelming profusion that its dynamism engenders).

    The Impermanence Agent operates differently. It begins by telling my stories – my grandmother’s stories – and as users browse, the images and texts they pull from the Web are interwoven with her stories. In time, the original stories are lost. New stories, collaboratively created, have taken their place.