An Archive of Fragments

by Nav

I’m a little obsessed with this promo vid for new private photo sharing app Path. In part it’s because it’s the inverse of Zadie Smith’s take on Facebook – it’s the web and its tech as the impossibly positive, hopeful space, that brings people together as it makes the world better. (It’s also why I said the reasonable space to live in was the space between Smith and videos like this.)

At the same time, it hits a point I’ve been hammering at for years: it’s a web presence as an online archive of personal memory. What’s more, it’s an archive of photos, not text or film. Still snapshots are never how we experience reality, but are only anchors for memory, so that we might chain the fragments together into a narrative that makes sense to us – and, it seems, makes sense of us.

Path is also interesting for other reasons: unlike Facebook or even Instagram, it’s closed. It’s meant for close friends and family, and that’s it. It’s an interesting idea, especially since Facebook just rejiggered messaging to make it permission-based rather than open like email.

There’s probably something a little weird and self-conscious going on too when a video selling you something has an unusually pretty woman smiling at ‘you’ as you watch, but that’s a story for another day.

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