One of the first things I do when I return home after a trip, a concert, a play, or a professional ball game is tape the tickets, maps, and mementos (above) into a scrapbook. Each collected piece of ephemera has its own distinct fonts, colors, texture, and paper. Viewed altogether, I’m reminded that one’s life is measured by experiences, not material things.
The digitization of our economy is eliminating this tangible evidence. Now I board the jet at LGA by scanning my phone. Google eliminates my need for paper maps. I have no negatives of family photos. This season the Chicago Cubs—along with many other Major League teams—eliminated paper tickets altogether.
In his book, Digital Memory Studies, Andrew Hoskins, a professor of social science at the University of Glasgow, notes: “Despite the decay and wear and tear of photographs, letters and other objects that are reminders of people and past experiences, their keeping is like holding on to those people and experiences.” That is my sense as well.
I came across an excellent article titled “Does Anyone Collect Old Emails?” by Peter Funt. He shares my love of old photo albums, Broadway playbills and ticket stubs, and raises the question: Is our view of the past, of our own personal history, somehow different without hard copies?
President / Creative Director