Do you remember the Internet before it was synonymous with cats? With smart phones, iPads and YouTube, it can be a painful task to recall desktop computers, literally the size of desktops, with 4MB of memory, pixels the size of Lego blocks and dial-up, which, from sign on to actual connection, allowed you enough time to complete tasks such as washing your car or alphabetizing your tape collection. We are but only a few decades removed from this Bronze Age of the Internet that has changed everything.
In honor of the great leaps the Web and smart technology have made since its inception, Digital Archaeology is completing the first-ever archaeological dig of the Internet. Some of the Internet's earliest websites will be revived and exhibited as part of Internet Week NY. Visitors will have the opportunity to witness the early websites, e-zines and web animation from the first generation of the Internet era. The excitement for this probably escapes us as much as the building of pharaoh tombs escaped the Egyptians who knew the era would later have some importance but were much more interested in worshiping cats. How history repeats itself.
Co-presented by Google, the exhibit will display The Project (1991), which was the first website created by World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee; early web animation like The Blue Dot, a small blue dot that bounced around a computer screen and fascinated anyone with the patience to sign on; and the self-destructing website for the film Requiem for a Dream. Outside the exhibit, these websites, and many others on display, are now defunct and will only return a thumbnail version of the original when Googled.
Since the World Wide Web weaved its way into culture and commerce, everything has changed: how we consume, how we purchase, how we communicate and how we live. The exhibit, held at the Internet Week's HQ at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea between June 6 to 9, offers us a peek into the lost artifacts that have been left relatively forgotten on hard drives, and represent just the beginning of this new digital age.