TIMETRAVEL_0

Robert Boyd, TimeTravel_0, In Progress. Single-channel video.

 

TimeTravel_0 cinematically reinterprets Online posts culled from archived logs of Internet chat rooms shortly after the turn of the new millennium, to present a textual narrative about a gay visitor from the future. The work stages a one-sided dialogue as only the protagonist’s writings are shown. By leaving viewers to imagine the other forum members’ questions and responses, the work engages them as participants in the narrative as it unfolds.

The Time Traveler
John was a time traveler from the year 2036. He was born in central Florida in 1998. During his stay in “our time,” he logged into chat rooms and would correspond with members about “his time." His postings were recorded for a six-month duration in the winter of 2000-01. While online, he wrote that he was a gay soldier whose mission was to travel back to the year 1975 to retrieve a computer that is needed to recode UNIX systems that will fail in 2038, but are needed for survival. After completing his mission, he traveled forward to the year 2000 to visit his family for “personal reasons.” He returned to his time in April 2001. His screen name was TimeTravel_0.

During his Online correspondences, he relayed the history of his time to us—his history, our future—a foreboding picture of the world to come. His stories were infused with macabre descriptions of toxic landscapes and exhausted, war-torn populations. He wrote that in approaching years, Americans would exchange their "freedoms" for security and that a civil war would engulf the nation over the loss of these freedoms. As a result, instability would seize the West and, combined with fulminating unrest in the East, a devastating nuclear war would erupt. He also conveyed a world of survivalist communities attempting to regroup, and reassess their values, after consumerist decadence and political indifference of the late 20th century ultimately led to war. Avidly followed during the time of the original posts by both adherents and skeptics alike, his correspondences would grow to become something of an urban legend, poignantly so, after the terrorist attacks on New York in 2001. Was John a disguised prophet or an Internet hoaxster, playing into the fears of a fatalistic culture? In the end, TimeTravel_0 is less about what John conveyed to us regarding our future, than what he conveyed to us about ourselves.

 

* TimeTravel_0 is a single-channel video that serves as a ancillary component of TOMORROW PEOPLE.