About the Project

I was recently approached by a friend and asked to contribute a few words for his current art project. After asking him for an overview, he told me he was interested in how technology has changed the ways in which we communicate with one another, and subsequently, how this communication shapes our relationships.

The text messages, blogs, emails, facebook wall posts, tweets, etc. that are a part of our everyday lives certainly have influenced us—the how’s of how we talk to one another are frequently the subject of conversation, a conversation often filled with disappointment, disgust, and a subtle yet sweeping sense that we’re losing something of value. We’ve all heard that person who goes on at length about how texting has created a generation of young people desperate to do anything but speak to one another face to face. I’ve received essays in my freshman composition classes at a state university where “you” is substituted with “u.” My friends and I complain about how much time we waste using facebook and other social networking sites. And my observation is not unique.

One night a few weeks ago, I found myself home on a Friday night, lacking both the energy and desire to go out, yet at the same time longing for some familiar company. I puttered around the house, read, texted friends, idly passed the time. But before I went to sleep that night, I scrolled through my phone’s message center, found the folder entitled “Saved,” and read through a few of the messages there, messages that once struck a chord with me, messages that cheered me up on a bad day, messages that are now relics of a friendship long since dissolved.

Again, I know I’m not the only one.

Previous generations saved letters, postcards, and telegrams; we save emails, texts, and voicemails. Although the medium has changed, the significance we attach to correspondence from our loved ones has not. It feels like I know some of the messages and emails I’ve saved by heart; but what do others hold onto? What stories do they tell? Which words are so moving that we can’t bring ourselves to erase them?

I’m asking you this: submit one email, text, private message, wall post, etc. from someone who’s important to you. Send in your most cherished message, something you would be upset to lose if you dropped your phone in the toilet or your computer crashed or you were locked out of your email account or you deleted it in a fit of sadness/rage/happiness. Unlike our parents and grandparents, we’re not leaving behind boxes of letters for future generations to stumble upon in a dusty attic. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have meaningful exchanges and interactions with the people in our lives. The Message Saved is an anonymous collection of the words we would leave behind.

This project is new so any and all contributions are greatly appreciated.


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