What are we building? How are we going to build it? How should it be organized? What should it look like?
An integral part of the Gates Memory Project is a public space for discussion of these meta issues. Everyone will have a chance to suggest possible directions and designs for the project. Some will bring technical knowledge to the table. Others will advise more on our conceptual bearings. Others will just come along for the ride. We'll also examine the process of building a work of collective memory in digital space, using the Gates as a pivot point for larger contemplations. How do we use social software (like Flickr) to create works that are in the spirit of the "infinite game" of the web - i.e. free-form, ad hoc, always evolving, and driven by people's enthusiasm to share - but are also edited and shaped into something of lasting value?
It could be argued that the web is itself one enormous collective memory. Like memory, it is in a constant state of growth, transformation and decay. Like memory, it is layered, it sprawls, and is traversed both by brightly lit boulevards and shadowed alleyways. To cope with this enigma, humans have always created works that help fix or focus the memory. An obvious example is a book, painting, photograph, or film. Similarly, in public space, we have museums, memorials, and monuments. Certainly, there was something monumental about the Gates. But while some monuments fix a spike in the earth, as if to say "here it was," others establish a frame, or space, in which memories can move and reverberate. This second sort of monument, much more like the Gates, is a good place to start thinking about what we are trying to build with this project: a work with defined dimensions that still allows for unpredictable movement within, and which, like a great acoustical structure, is designed to resonate.
And of course, the blog will also serve as a forum for discussion of the Gates themselves - their design, their politics, their message, their role in the life of the city, their place in the larger mediascape.. And it will be a place to offer stories and personal meditations on those sixteen days when the Gates stood.