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Video courtesy Siri Hjorth

20 www years and a crocodile tear for offline

by Karoline Hjorth

Twenty years of World Wide Web calls for contemplation and some nostalgia about offline.

In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee and the Swiss research institute CERN created Information Management: A Proposal.

Two decades later and the world population has been transformed into a generation of cyber hamsters on a constant mission to stuff their cheeks full of efficiency, immediacy and self publicity.

How long has it been since you wrote a post card or turned up at a friend’s house without twittering, emailing, calling or texting them first? How many phone numbers do you know by heart and what is the capital of Burundi?

If you consider yourself a full-blooded 2.0 tekkie your answer will most likely take the shape of a twit: Why spend brain space on trivia when you can outsource it to Google?

Google make you stupid

"Does Google make you stupid?" Nicholas Carr asks himself that very question in the American news magazine Atlantic.

The web’s hyper textuality is designed to make us surf and hastily move on, and Carr is worried about the wellbeing of our capacity for concentration and contemplation.

"My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski."

History of acceleration

According to the book Tyranny of the Moment by Thomas Hylland Eriksen, professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo, exponential growth is a main characteristic of the digital age.

Each moment is filled with an increasing amount of information, past and future are both marginalised and "life stands still at a tremendous speed."

Web 2.0 is a 'narcissistic plague'

"Internet killed journalism," Cultural Journalism student Caterina Morandi goes hardcore against the grain and believes Internet is inherently self-referential.

"Web 2.0 is a narcissistic plague and builds on a society infested with celebrity-junkies desperate to showcase their personal life online.

"I feel like an old grumpy moralist saying that, but the day Internet collapses I will be so excited and I think everyone will feel relieved. Oh, I’m not nostalgic."

Norwegian art student Siri Hjorth can also see the downside of technology but is unable to be a part of generation next. But she uses technology to keep the past alive.

In tribute to her grand parents and the world of offline she dived into her granddad’s 1960s 8mm film collection.

"I love the 8 mm medium for its painstakingly slow technology. Slow time is scarce."

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