Yesterday, while cleaning the basement, I came across a box containing a few photos, most of them framed, that had been sitting in old apartments for a while. The box had not been opened for twelve years. That’s about the length of my long renovations, during which hanging anything on the walls was out of the question.
I brought the box back to the apartment, promising to make myself a little corner for memories.
Today, I dusted them off, smiled, my heart wrapped in the heavy humidity of memory. I’m not sure now that I want to hang them up. Maybe a few, without being able to decide if it’s worth it.
It flees, it flees, this time, inexorably. I regret the epoch of photo albums, those that could be opened on our lap, precious papers, rare though they were, because, at that time, you still had to develop twenty-four, thirty-six photos, to choose what should remain, what could stay hidden.
Now, we keep everything in the clouds of companies that have turned our photos into algorithms to better steal both our past and our wallet.
Memory has been transformed, not necessarily for the worse. It seems more volatile. We can, of course, put a screen on our lap and scroll through the moments of our ephemeral existence. The photos are often too numerous for us to really pay attention to them. Did we really choose them? And then, we don’t have that feeling of volume, that illusory impression that the past could still pile up and crush us gently until we become atomic sediment.
The past has become so light, as small as a smartphone screen, insensitive as a cloud under our fingers.
It’s neither better nor worse than before, even if I give the impression of regretting what things in my time were like.
Let’s imagine the centuries when only a few notables, queens, kings could have their portraits taken. What has become of all those faces that have ensured our existence? It matters so little to us. Let’s imagine even further when the hands of a few Australopithecus drew in blood strokes some semblance of memory. Would that change our present pleasure to exist?
The past is indeed a spiral that gets dizzy building the future. Who, one day, will browse the Internet and cross my gaze? It is not the past that is sad, rather the prospect that we are forbidden to look into the bag of Becoming.