It is the 20th May 2014. It is my FIRST anniversary of DS106. And my dad would also have been 81 years old today.
This blog isn’t an original idea and there is a slight trend for DS106 articles as ode to our parents and marking multiple anniversaries such as Cogdog’s mum on 9th Feb (sharing b’days with David as it happens).
Well it would be easy just to write a blog post about how I cannot believe how I’ve only been doing DS106 for a year, or rather, it has been doing me! The almost embarrassing fact that my 1GB folder has 665 items in it! And that isn’t counting music, video and photographs. I am quite amused that the Giant Baby crawling through Vancouver was created at 23.37pm, which was certainly not my first near “all nighter”. Most of the songs and videos can be blamed for that and I remember going to sleep finally as the dawn was breaking after completing “Song Number Inflation“!
It has made me think about the power of digital art and the creation of legacy. I feel slightly sad that my dad was pre-digital and I don’t have much of his art apart from a few precious paintings. Pop was a great musician, and I have no recordings of his piano playing, and only one poor photo of him playing the piano. How I wish for a bit more.
I do have a few of his paintings and did photograph some of them before the remaining 300+ oil and water colours were finally uncovered and removed from the back of his wardrobe. His wardrobe was his Flickr!
Pop was never really interested in painting and drawing until later life when he was rendered near housebound with illness for ten years. That didn’t stop him enthusiastically embarking on creating art, especially as his arthritic fingers made him give up the piano many years before. But this isn’t a story of sorrow, he was a hugely positive and enthusiastic person – always – and I never once heard him complain.
He had the brain the size of a planet and would be devouring books by Velakovsky one minute and laughing ridiculously to Tom and Jerry the next.
I’m a bit undecided about whether we should all go and create digital legacies though.
The negative. I do feel slightly guilty!
I do feel guilty that I am clogging up the internet with “stuff” that is all taking energy and electricity to maintain on servers and wires, using precious natural resources. I have the feeling that one day the planet will get so heavy with servers it will just fall out of the sky. Hopefully one day sustainable resources, disposable computers and green technology will catch up.
Digital imagery is used in therapy for dementia and to enrich people’s lives in care homes. Capturing a bit of a digital legacy might be hugely significant in later life which might sound a bit morbid, and links to something else I think about is we should be so much better in talking about that kind of stuff.
When I first got involved in open educational resources particularly in the SCOOTER project, some of the most joyful resources were those contributed by retired staff – eminent professors involved in sickle cell disease which was the focus of the project, who more than welcomed their materials being captured for others to use.
In fact sit and imagine the huge amount of not just physical waste that is discarded when an academic retires, but that the work on their PCs that just get skipped and erased. Their academic legacy obliterated in a thrice. We should be thinking about this more earnestly. I did a fag packet calculation when I left my last job of 7 years, the module and lecture preparation totalled about £30,000. Scrapped. In the bin, apart from the stuff I released as OERs and now can reuse, and so can others.
Making art dammit for me is an alternative to television, so perhaps there is a case there for electricity at least being being offset.
Where does work stop and leisure start these days? DS106 has given me more in terms of professional development – technology, learning innovation – to support my university work. It isn’t necessarily the personal expense of computers, gadgets and electricity that gripes me, but a part of me feels a bit reticent, and it might be that I’m perpetuating this expectation that we should all work in our own time these days, and we are perpetuating longer and longer working hours for the next generation.
There is so much hoo-ha over privacy on the internet and so many important questions not being asked, what also worries me is the signatures and foot prints that I will leave behind? What happens to all your personal accounts after you’ve gone? I do worry about this and have every thing in a single spreadsheet with all my computer accounts along with all my important personal papers. From time to time I also have a purge and get rid of old blogs and accounts I no longer use. But I still worry about data privacy, my foot prints and risks in the future, although to what, I’m not quite sure.
This is starting to get creepy.
Having looked up digital legacy on Google now I am totally creeped out by the companies offering to manage your digital legacy and video yourself for after you are gone from this mortal coil. That is as creepy as cryogenic storage…..uuggggh.
But art is good right?
This is a silly conversation I’m having with myself. If pop was here, we could thrash it out good and proper, and he certainly understood more about the evolution of the planet and global changes than most and would probably argue that our little imprint is immaterial, or maybe not.
It is a strange concept that for my generation and younger that when we die we will leave behind this online personality and reflection of their life. I can only think that would be extremely upsetting and disturbing. My reflection of Pop is purely in my memory, with one or two artefacts, and occasional occurrences that I believe to be a spiritual essence of him, and that is fine and I can dip in and out of that when I please.