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The Times Capsule
The New York Times
  • Year
  • 1999
  • Type
  • Time Capsule and Memorial Proposal

Ephemerality is the essential characteristic of our time, the age of information. Most contemporary artifacts are not made to last, obsolescence is planned or inevitable through rapidly changing technologies. The physical properties of artifacts, such as material and craftsmanship, are secondary to their symbolic function.

A time capsule is an interface which mediates between past, present and future. As such it is not merely a container of memorabilia. The way a future audience experiences the time capsule is as significant as the actual content of the capsule itself. To communicate the ephemerality so significant of contemporary culture, we need an interface that best conveys this notion.

Our time capsule is essentially immaterial. It consists of sleep, inducer and dream. The mechanism of the time capsule is based on a Japanese folkloristic practice, the Dream Pillow. It is believed that by putting a specific image, text or object under the pillow, one will dream about that subject matter. The dream as interface provides the appropriate viewing experience, emphasizing the ephemeral nature of our current time.

The inducer is the actual Dream Pillow, consisting of a pillow and contents for the dream. All contents will be analog information recorded on HD-Rosetta disks, which are believed to have a life span of a thousand years and are viewable without special electronic devices. Multiple HD-Rosetta disks, properly packaged, will be inserted deep into the Manhattan bedrock, at a location in Central Park where the rock is protruding the ground surface. To mark the location, a chaise longue will be sculpted out of the protruding portion of the rock. The chaise longue lures people to rest on it. The buried disks are located directly below the pillow of the chaise, forming the Dream Pillow, which will induce a dream of the year 2000 to the person sleeping on the rock. It is not necessary to actually excavate the disks. A sleeping pill is the symbolic key to enter the time capsule - a dream.

Press & Awards
Finalist, New York Times, Times Capsule Design Competition, 1999