Whatever happened to the web that we fell in love with long before the business and government takeover?
Think about the sites of the formative years when the web was a place of ideas and wacky information. Pre e-commerce, when global enterprise and big government were absent and the excitement was radiated from progressive thinkers who posted their ideas on personal sites hosted by universities or web communities such as Geocities (pre Yahoo). The early sites with their basic web techniques, devoid of advertising.
I'm not criticising the imperative of business to migrate to the web. I'm hooked on e-banking and e-shopping and I love the ever increasing availability of information on my desktop. I just believe that the work of the pioneers should be recognized and preserved.
What has happened to the now vanished sites such as www.illuminati.org which maintained that the famous exploding whale was an Illuminati conspiracy. We still have the footage of the exploding whale elsewhere on the web, but the imaginative explanation no longer exists.
And how about my favorite - The poodle shoot and barbeque. There are various versions of this canine titbit still out there so that one at least appears to be safe for the moment, or until the intellectual property owner pulls the plug on all unauthorised sites by threatening legal action.
Don't fool yourselves. Lawyers are trawling every corner of the web looking to shut down anything which contradicts the globalized economy and all it represents.
So what am I expecting to find amongst these first web offerings? Objects with an integrity not based on commercial imperatives?. An otherness? Items which don't mirror the designs and structures of the actual world? A tentativeness, a naivety, a sense of humor and mischievousness, devoid of the deadening corporate moneyspeak.
This originality was at first a minefield for the imperialist invasion of the web. Now that the balance has shifted, it is more of a nuisance to be eliminated in order to make the web, like everything else, a polymorphous playground for profit.
Web archaeology isn't a hunt for ruins or relics - it is a search for a disappearing humanity - a longing for an alternate set of values based on optimism and good humor, and the hope that the truth, no matter how absurd, can still be found "out there."