The present moment is the only place from which to consider the past, which is simply an interpretation of what once was.
Whatever happened to Mr. Smith? How did you meet your spouse? Everyone interprets. The trick is to do it well, or at least with some measure of objectivity and some shred of evidence. After all, who is to say how far you walked to school in the snow? Or whether you did at all?
Just as everything we have ever done belongs to the past, everything we’ve yet to do remains undone. The Other Century refers to the division line between that which was and that which has yet to be.
Let’s say we’re having a conservation about a new apartment building that’s going up a couple of blocks down from one of your favorite lunch spots. What is it going to look like? What used to be there? Why did they decide to tear it down? Are you kidding me, aquamarine tile?
The Other Century is an exploration of development, preservation, and loss ― of how material culture and public history is made manifest through a particular thing or place, whether a bridge, a coffee pot, or a bowling alley.
In other words, The Other Century is about old stuff and what becomes of it over time.
© 2014, David Sprouse. All rights reserved.