A short future history made in conjunction with the ‘50 Years’ show at EXbunker, released in parts leading up to the opening
1. A history of loss
1. Bergson, quoted in: ‘The culture of space and time 1880-1918’ , S. Kern, Harvard university Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England, 1983, p43 2. It has to be noted that one instance of a more ‘modern’ (and intentional, unlike the likes of Pompeii) time capsule exists which is more than 5000 years old. The Epic of Gilgamesh opens with instructions of how to find a box of copper located in the foundation stone of the great walls of Uruk. In the box were the tales of Gilgamesh. 3. Great historical events are beyond the grasp of everyday life, and in accordance to this commonly understood statement, very little of the items which we preserve will be of any significance. Furthermore, anything which is of any real value forebodes the practice of the time capsule- for this practice of preservation inevitably means a loss of the artifact for an extended period of time in which the object may have been of great significance, might it have been in reach. 4. Historians also concede that there are many preservation issues surrounding the selection of the media to transmit this information to the future. Some of these issues include the obsolescence of technology and the deterioration of electronic and magnetic storage media, and possible language problems if the capsule is dug up in the distant future. 5. The problems concerning the malleable character of language. This was earlier discussed in an article in Scientific American in 1972, which criticized the use of an arrow in the famous Pioneer plate, because arrows are an artifact of hunter-gatherer societies like those on Earth; finders with a different cultural heritage may find the arrow symbol meaningless. 6. Most American time capsules from the 19th and 20th centuries contain at most a Bible, some stamps, a few coins and plenty of newspapers. 7. The Century Safe” was buried at the U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 and set for opening 100 years later. 8. In the Victorian era there was a societal shift in which more emphasis was placed on the importance of time commemoration. The creation of a time capsule is an example of how people of the Victorian era commemorated time. These time capsules had no intended retrieval date and were expected to endure until the apocalypse. 9. Following is an exact transcript of the text of a four-page document typed in green ink on G. M. Davis and Son letterhead in the time capsule installed in 1905 in Palatka, Florida. It is one of the first modern time capsules installed. Punctuation and spelling was preserved as written. It is not known who the author was. “November 8th 1884 the business section of Palatka Florida was destroyed by fire involving a loss of several Hundred Thousand Dollars in property; therefore the history of the city prior to this disaster is authentically unknown as nearly all the records of the town were then destroyed.” 10. The arbitrariness of the chosen closing and opening dates of time capsules is easily shown by taking a close look at the retrieval date of the Crypt of civilization. The Crypt of Civilization closed off in 1936 and is supposed to remain closed for 6177 years- the same amount of time that was then thought to have passed since the beginning of recorded history.
2. The dark age
11. Einstein coincidentally wrote a letter to the year 6939, which has been stored in the Westinghouse Time Capsule. “Our time is rich in inventive minds, the inventions of which could facilitate our lives considerably. We are crossing the seas by power and utilize power also in order to relieve humanity from all tiring muscular work. We have learned to fly and we are able to send messages and news without any difficulty over the entire world through electric waves. However, the production and distribution of commodities is entirely unorganized so that everybody must live in fear of being eliminated from the economic cycle, in this way suffering for the want of everything. Furthermore, people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that also for this reason anyone who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror. This is due to the fact that the intelligence and character of the masses are incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce something valuable for the community. I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.”13 12. In the same capsule which contained Einstein’s message to the future, Thomas Mann wrote a letter as well. “We know now that the idea of the future as a "better world" was a fallacy of the doctrine of progress. The hopes we center on you, citizens of the future, are in no way exaggerated. In broad outline, you will actually resemble us very much as we resemble those who lived a thousand, or five thousand, years ago. Among you too the spirit will fare badly. It should never fare too well on this earth; otherwise men would need it no longer. That optimistic conception of the future is a projection into time of an endeavor which does not belong to the temporal world, the endeavor on the part of man to approximate to his idea of himself, the humanization of man. What we, in this year of Our Lord 1938, understand by the term "culture", a notion held in small esteem today by certain nations of the western world, is simply this endeavor. What we call the spirit is identical with it, too. Brothers of the future, united with us in the spirit and in this endeavor, we send our greetings.”13 13. The Westinghouse I time capsule, buried in 1939, is meant to be opened in 6939. The Westinghouse I time capsule consisted not only of a capsule of cupaloy, but it also consisted of a book of record documenting the capsule. The purpose of this book is to preserve knowledge of the existence of the time capsule for 5,000 years, and to provide assistance to the people of the year 6939 in locating and recovering it. More than 3000 copies of the book were distributed to museums, monasteries, and libraries worldwide. If present-day methods of determining time are lost, future generations will be able to calculate the age of the time capsules using astronomical data. In the year 1939, there were two eclipses of the moon, falling on the third of May and the twenty-eighth of October. There were also two eclipses of the sun, an annular eclipse on the nineteenth of April, the path of annular eclipse grazing the North Pole of the earth, and a total eclipse on the twelfth of October, the total path crossing near the South Pole. 14. The 1957 Plymouth Belvedere capsule, opened in 2007 stands as a rusted down monument for each and every time capsule lost to groundwater damage over centuries of burying them. 15. Luckily many buried time capsules already had monuments marking their locations, as it was quickly discovered mankind hasn’t got the endurance to remember it for extended periods of time. 16. A second Westinghouse Capsule was buried in 1965. An exact duplicate of the capsule's articles resides at the Heinz History Center beside a replica of the Westinghouse I capsule. 17. The 1972 and 1973 pioneer plates, attached to the Pioneer 10 and the Pioneer 11, are meant to explore vast regions of our solar system beyond Mars, explore the environment of Jupiter and finally exit our solar system. Since 1995 there has been no contact with the space probes. The difficulties regarding the use of the arrow symbol on the plates has been noted earlier, but the plates contain more problems concerned with communicating with a civilization vastly different from our own. For one it uses line drawings of the human body to represent our species, a way of depicting which presupposes an understanding of two dimensional representations. 18. In 1977 a ‘golden record’ was attached to the Voyager space shuttle. This record contained common sounds from earth- which due to recording and replaying technology sounds more like an abstract mesh than a comprehensible auditory representation of life on earth. The more or less insignificant sounds consist of for example the roaring of a tractor, the clashing of waves and the herding of sheep- all mixed into a medley on the record. Without prior knowledge of what you’re listening to, it is incredibly hard to recognize the origin of the sounds – even for human beings. 19. However 'insignificant' certain items may appear to the common onlooker, theorists of time capsules generally agree on the fact that the most useful items to place into time capsules are objects of personal value to its creators. Items of more general significance are generally thought of as being better kept in museums. 20. The term is rarely used by historians or scientists. Its use is largely confined to cryptozoologists, proponents of ancient astronaut theories, Young Earth creationists, and paranormal enthusiasts. The term is used to describe a wide variety of objects, from anomalies studied by mainstream science and pseudoarchaeology far outside the mainstream to objects that have been shown to be hoaxes or to have mundane explanations.
3. The dark age (continued)
21.While most technical problems got resolved, the political and social problems remained.22, 23
22. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi buried a time capsule outside of the gate of the Red Fort complex, Delhi amidst political opposition. The capsule contained post-independence history of India, and was scheduled to be opened after 1000 years had passed. It was however unearthed in 1977, its contents never made public, and destroyed.
23. Recently a capsule buried in 1983 was rediscovered, which contained a computer mouse used by Steve Jobs. The capsule was unearthed over a decade after its target date, as the plot of land it resided on had changed hands, and the capsule was consequentially forgotten until its coincidental retrieval.
24. J. E. Talmage , ‘The Michigan Relics’: A Story of Forgery and Deception, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Museum, 1911
25. Elon Musk’s personal time capsule has comparable implications as for example the Immortality drive, which was placed in the International Space Station in 2008. Like the more ancient Victorian Era capsules this capsule is meant to survive any apocalypse on planet Earth. The Immortality Drive contains fully digitized DNA sequences of a select group of humans, such as physicist Stephen Hawking, comedian Stephen Colbert, Playboy model Jo Garcia, game designer Richard Garriott, fantasy authors Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman, pro wrestler Matt Morgan, and athlete Lance Armstrong. The microchip also contains a copy of George's Secret Key to the Universe, a children's book authored by Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy.
26. Another proposed cause of the reduction of ‘serious’ time capsules has been the rise of postmodern skepticism in the 1980s.
27. The international time capsule society, founded in 1990 has been documenting all types of time capsule projects worldwide. The ITCS has set up a registry of time capsules, and has 1,400 groups listed, while they estimate that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 time capsules worldwide. Paul Hudson of Oglethorpe University, where the ITCS was founded, estimates that more than 80 percent of all time capsules are lost and will not be opened on their intended date. The ITCS has reportedly been inactive since 2016.
28. In the town of Cowra an undated capsule which was buried near a sculpture of an eagle in the park not far from the town’s information center was retrieved in the year 2000 on an unspecified date. Although the sculpture remains, there is no mention of the time capsule once buried there, or its contents.
4. A place for everything and everything in its place
29. As noted earlier; The Oglethorpe University’s ITCS estimates that from 10,000 documented time capsules at least 9,000 are lost. 30. A suggested origin of those revolutionary practices is the UK miner strike of 1984, which started to prevent colliery closures. Opposition to the strike was led by the British government of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party, to which it was a major victory, as it gave them the opportunity to consolidate their economically liberal program. The National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) defeat significantly weakened the trade union movement. The strike was led by Arthur Scargill, whom Robert Taylor depicts as an ‘industrial Napoleon’ who called a strike ‘at the wrong time’ on the ‘wrong issue’, and adopted strategies and tactics that were ‘impossibilist’, with ‘an inflexible list of extravagant non-negotiable demands’ that amounted to ‘reckless adventurism’ that was ‘a dangerous, self-defeating delusion’. After its defeat the NUM continued to fight by even more ‘impossibilist’ means, which have only recently been rediscovered; by constructing and altering time capsules in order to weaken the economic liberalist regime of Thatcher and the governments’ involvement in the production of them (at this point mainly through funding certain types of capsules). While the UK miner strike is regarded by some as of one of the main origins to the time capsule reformation movement, evidence leads to suggest to a much broader – and much more global movement. 31. Evidence, however hard to find or prove, has led to suggest that the revolutionaries’ suspicions were at least partly true, and the production of time capsules was indeed used to influence politics over large spans of time. 32. See: ‘On the functionality of governmental bodies part Three; Cultural heritage and construction regulations in the Common Era’, 2067 33. While a lot of information was recovered by the revolutionaries in their historic Internet Archive capsules, information from the 1980’s until quite recently remains elusive. As a temporary solution to this loss of information an area surrounding New York has been ascribed to house objects of ‘miscellaneous’ historical origin. Anyone can propose additions to this site, which are to be examined by a team Speculative Historicists on grounds of their temporal probability.