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lecture: Life Needs Internet

Documenting digital culture through handwritten letters


How does internet influence your life?
This lecture will be about my ongoing project Life Needs Internet (2012-2017) which documents digital culture through handwritten letters. Recent letters came from Brazil, China, France, India, Ghana and Papua. All handwritten letters are translated and documented on Together these letters create an archaeological insight into digital culture. The audience can participate in the project by writing their own handwritten letter during the lecture.

#Society #Sharing

The goal of Life Needs Internet is to document how we currently feel about the Internet. This differs per culture, generation, country or even city; there is no global digital culture. While in 2016 47% of the world’s population had access to the Internet, writing a letter is still a technology that is roughly available to anyone. It’s a simple, low-cost and low-tech way to document thoughts and feelings. The global influence of the Internet is preserved through a traditional medium; each handwritten letter is a unique cultural artefact.

How we feel about a technology today greatly determines how we will behave towards a new technology tomorrow. One day the Internet will become outdated and it will be replaced by a new medium. New technology is often met with the same shortsighted critique of society’s technophobes and technophiles. In order to understand the new, we need to understand the present.

In time, perhaps when the Internet is no more, Life Needs Internet will offer the opportunity to reflect and contemplate about the (non-) impact Internet had on our lives. To quote network-scientist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi; “Without cultural artefacts, humanity has no memory, and without memory it cannot learn from its success and failures.”