Goodbye Romania
September 17, 2004 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Warning - by visiting this site, you will destroy it. Each visit will remove one pixel from these photographs. However, we will tell you a story. It's a story about Romania, which is to say, it's a story about change.
posted by willnot (17 comments total)
Great site. Fascinating idea. Thanks willnot!
posted by armoured-ant at 8:45 PM on September 17, 2004

posted by caddis at 8:53 PM on September 17, 2004

posted by meech at 10:20 PM on September 17, 2004

Excellent storytelling hook.
posted by soyjoy at 10:31 PM on September 17, 2004

Awesome. And moving. I don't want to click, because I immediately sympathize and don't want it to be lost, but I must. Very nice.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:12 PM on September 17, 2004

very cool, thanks for the link
posted by edgeways at 2:01 AM on September 18, 2004

Oh, yes. Wonderful.
posted by taz at 2:09 AM on September 18, 2004

OK, I'll be the contrarian: I don't get it, and I don't particularly like it. What's the point of slowly destroying the pictures as they are viewed? I've viewed (and helped destroy -- heh!) the images, I've read the "about" page, but I must be missing the metaphor or symbolism. "It's a story about change" -- well, yes, but is this saying that change is, therefore, destruction? Please help me become enlightened.

I do like the content of the images, BTW (what's left of them), and the captions are interesting. I've been to Romania (adopted my son from there), so it's easy to imagine these people each telling their part of the story. I just don't get the point of the degrading images.
posted by wdpeck at 2:12 AM on September 18, 2004

There's a vampire at the end of this web page.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:27 AM on September 18, 2004

wdpeck, I certainly can't speak for the artists, but for myself it reminds of this: every moment (or "snapshot" in time) that we experience is at the same instant slipping away from us, disappearing. Almost immediately it becomes only a memory, which, like the snapshot, also eventually fades away. Some places, especially under certain circumstances or influences, seem to embody that feeling of "disappearing before our very eyes" more powerfully than others.

I think maybe the user interaction here is drawing attention to the fact that what you are feeling, or hearing, or seeing at this moment - what you see when you look out the window, just now - for example, is not what you will see the next time you look, and part of what is lost is lost forever. Likewise, a neighborhood, a town, a country, and all its tradition, culture and eccentricity that seems so real and solid is actually always shifting, always disappearing, and factors such as war, politics, disasters, and economic highs and lows will accelerate that process. Also, of course, the very fact of your presence in any moment changes that moment. If you weren't there, the configuration would be different - it would, in fact never exist as "that" moment. That one pixel of change would make it a different snapshot.

Or something.
posted by taz at 3:37 AM on September 18, 2004

In Budapest you can buy cans of air, supposedly the "last breath of socialism".
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:02 AM on September 18, 2004

William Gibson made much the same point with the original installation of Agrippa. It was similarly about memory, with photography as a metaphor for unrecoverable experience, just as taz says (self-link to comment). But, like wdpeck, I don't entirely sympathise with this viewpoint; it seems very negative to view the passage of the time purely in terms of past objects degrading. I'm nostalgic about some things, but other aspects of the past are no loss, and even improved upon by new things that have come into existence.
posted by raygirvan at 5:08 AM on September 18, 2004

Well, I think the reason we feel ineffably sad when we look at old snapshops, letters, or mementos (not only our own, but any, really) is this reminder of the "death of the moment" - and its extrapolation: our own demise, and the eventual obliteration of everything we have ever known. But I don't view that as a negative emotion, just as unexpectedly witnessing a moment in which new life occurs - the unfurling of a tender new leaf, for example - can fill you with some sort of inexlicable joy, even though it doesn't change the fact that this new living thing that wasn't here a moment ago will very soon disappear, and that elsewhere at this very moment something else is dying away. In other words, one feeling doesn't deny the other - they exist on the same spectrum, and, in fact, I don't see how either would exist without the other.
posted by taz at 5:38 AM on September 18, 2004

/me turns on firefox 'reload every' extension
posted by angry modem at 7:33 AM on September 18, 2004

It's a story about Romania, which is to say, it's a story about change.

"which is to say"? Do you know what this phrase means?

All stories are about chage in some way, but this one is mostly about a dumbass who tied his bike to a horse.
posted by delmoi at 8:20 AM on September 18, 2004

*sneers* As if you never tied your bike to horse.
posted by taz at 9:37 AM on September 18, 2004

I'd like to read that site, but the words are illegibly small.
posted by kjh at 10:05 AM on September 18, 2004

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