Project

Documenting digital culture through handwritten letters. Participate by writing your own handwritten letter.

The goal of Life Needs Internet is to document how we currently feel about the Internet. This differs per culture, generation, country or even city; there is no global digital culture. While in 2013 39% of the world’s population had access to the Internet, writing a letter is still a technology that is roughly available to anyone. It’s a simple, low-cost and low-tech way to document thoughts and feelings. The global influence of the Internet is preserved through a traditional medium; each handwritten letter is a unique cultural artefact. Together these letters create an archaeological insight into digital culture.

How we feel about a technology today greatly determines how we will behave towards a new technology tomorrow. One day the Internet will become outdated and it will be replaced by a new medium. New technology is often met with the same shortsighted critique of society’s technophobes and technophiles. In order to understand the new, we need to understand the present.

In time, perhaps when the Internet is no more, Life Needs Internet will offer the opportunity to reflect and contemplate about the (non-) impact Internet had on our lives. To quote network-scientist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi; “Without cultural artefacts, humanity has no memory, and without memory it cannot learn from its success and failures.”

Participation

Participation is free and easily done wherever you are, with or without a Internet connection.

Life Needs Internet provides a number of template questionnaires in different languages. Download the questionnaire in your preferred language, print it, write your thoughts about the Internet and send your handwritten letter to the address that’s on the bottom of the page. You can also include a optional portrait photo.

When your letter is received it will be translated into English and added to the online collection. Your last name and email address will be erased from the uploaded letter. Your letter will now be an cultural artefact of contemporary digital culture.

 

Video installation

Showing eight letters and their authors, ranging from 0% to a 100% Internet usage.

The Life Needs Internet video-installation is created in 2012 and has been exhibited in places such as the Museum of Communication in The Netherlands and in the Contemporary Art Gallery Bunkier Sztuki in Poland. Furthermore it has won the European Youth Award in 2012 for best ICT project in the category Culture.

The video installation shows eight letters together with eight video portraits. These eight letters were chosen based on the authors internet usage, ranging from 0%  to a 100%. The first letter is from a man in West-Papua who didn’t know what the Internet was, the final letter is from a young woman in Bandung, Indonesia, who writes ‘Seriously, my whole life is in my laptop”.

 

videoinstallation
from Lebanon

“I received the iPhone as a gift for my birthday. It is definitely a double-edged sword. Sometimes I wish I hadn't received it.”

from The Netherlands

“When we are together I sometimes miss Skype. Then I go to another room and I start Skype just to hear how he’s doing.”

from India

“It's often found in our daily life that if a person doesn't know much about Internet they are considered dumb. ”