Website based participatory platform | archival prints
forgetting.online is a web-based art project that critically questions the systems of digital memory and the negative impact of the phenomenon of going viral, while exploring the poetics of transiency, mythological narrative, collective digital forgetting. This participatory project invites the public to share memories they wish to forget. The memory, submitted in the form of a written text, will be posted and anonymously shared on the website (shinjitoya.com/forgetting.online/ |
www.forgetting.online) for the online world to view. Each memory post will go through a digital fragmentation process whereby the more the post is viewed, shared or accessed the more the appearance of it will change – the post will decay and become blurry or pixelated until it is no longer perceptible, thus becoming ‘forgotten’.
This system is intended to be “anti-viral”. Through the viewers’ collective acts of viewing and sharing, the post could be disintegrated and lost before it disseminates widely and proliferates the internet (goes viral). This kind of system exploits the contemporary desire to see and share online, in order to paradoxically make the digital memory more and more invisible, and forget it both digitally and societally.
forgetting.online also encourages forgetting that was once claimed to be “dead” in the digital society, by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger.  The site provides a database where the participants and viewers can access various ideas of forgetting and read Internet tips for “how to forget.” The river shaped interface of the website is inspired by Lethe, the river of forgetfulness from the Greek mythology. In the myth, the water of Lethe erases memories and allows people to move onto the next stage of life.
Several months after the launch of the website in July 2017, a number of the submitted memories have been posted on the website and “successfully forgotten” on the website. The artist then created the “archival” prints of the dissolved memory posts already removed from the site, in order to record the categorical tags of the memories, rather than the content. This selective preservation represents the artist’s interest in researching “what kind of digital memories we want and we don’t want for the future”.
 Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, 2011. Princeton University Press.
forgetting.online was commissioned by arebyte Gallery.
Archive of Forgotten Memories: Prints