Greetings my fellow good eggs. Great to see you all again after surmounting the biggest problem a small business could have—equipment breakdown! This month’s post will discuss the Kickstarter campaign we’ve posted in order to raise the money to create a physical exhibit of the written history.
This project combines the old (the history itself) with the new (digital history—content originally created digitally). The “old” also includes the skills used in writing history such as evaluating and using primary and secondary materials. In recent posts, we’ve explored some of what goes into writing a history, these things holding true whether content is “traditional,” like a monograph or educational materials, or “born digital,” like this web project.
The new? This project itself takes full advantage of the wide world of web, presenting written materials with illustrations of primary source materials that might otherwise be difficult for the non-historian to view due to the document’s physical location (such as a 1723 survey map located in Chicago’s Newberry Library) or fragility.
We are also using the crowd funding platform, Kickstarter, to raise the funds to create the physical exhibit. Arriving on the scene in 2009, Kickstarter revived the traditional artist-patron relationship, taking full advantage of Web 2.0’s interactive capabilities. According to Kickstarter, “Backing a project is more than just giving someone money. It’s supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world. People rally around their friends’ projects, fans support people they admire, and others simply come to Kickstarter to be inspired by new ideas.”
While digital formats offer today’s audience a richer experience in terms of media—websites offer great flexibility in terms of media presented with countless combinations of text, illustrations, video and audio possible—they are not very durable. Technology quickly becomes obsolete and history can get lost as formatting protocols change.
This is partially why we want to create a physical exhibit—digital history can become lost and the physical exhibit acts as a backup copy of the conclusions reached in the written history. Canvas is inarguable pretty durable.
A real-world example of just such a scenario is Britain’s Domesday Project, organized in honor of the original Domesday Book’s 900th anniversary and discussed in Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. According to Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, “One imagines that the Domesday Book’s modest scribes, who did their handiwork with quills on vellum that withstood nine centuries intact and perfectly readable, were enjoying a last laugh.”
We also wanted to explore new realms of experience. I have the desire to use the design skills learned during my high school years when I was Editor of the yearbook in combination with the skills in historical method I honed at the University of New Orleans. Dr. Dyer is driven by her curiosity as to the building’s history and interest in art installation in general.
Our Kickstarter campaign began last week. You can see it here at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ArtEggStudios/fresh-art-exhibitartegg-everybody-loves-a-good-egg. Check it out and become part of the historical process!
Update! I am beginning the writing process and look to have a rough draft in about a month’s time. Due to the equipment problems I recently experienced, we are “missing” three posts for the months of April, May and June. This will be remedied post-writing process prior to the exhibit opening.