As a child of the late eighties, I am amongst the youngest group to remember a time before the ubiquity of the internet. We will be the last ones left to tell the next generations of a quaint time when we used real encyclopedias to find information for school projects, when birthday invitations had to be delivered instead of Facebooked or emailed, when you actually had to go to the bank to find out your account balance. We grew up at the same time the world-wide web did.
Maybe this is why I am so captivated by Internet Archaeology, possibly one of the coolest internet projects I have ever come across. Internet Archaeology trawls the depths of the web, seeking to “explore, recover, archive and showcase the graphic artifacts found within earlier Internet Culture”. Their mission is the collection and preservation of early JPGs and GIFs, often crudely created in MS Paint for homemade sites like the ones on Angelfire or the now defunct GeoCities web-hosting service. The result is a hilarious mishmash of winking cats, dancing text and pixellated Jesuses which will take you back to your first days of web-surfing. But it is also a fascinating collection of 1990s folk culture, and some day might even prove to be an important historical resource for these ephemeral early images of the internet.
Go click through the site, (Click everything! Each image is more fantastic than the last!) and delight in the visual culture of the internet’s childhood years. I think my favourite is the pets section, although these animated religious figures are pretty good too.
Elsewhere on the Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things: