Rediscovering life before digital technology, Internet and social media
Walking through the exhibition feels like traveling back in time. For some, it will seem like an unknown life, whereas for others, it will seem familiar.
Exhibited at the historical Musée de Lachine, La vie sans applis invites viewers to take a walk in a space that shows them life without the internet or social media. The exhibition is presented through different sections, which include social media, photos, music, games, e-mail, and more. It’s presented in a manner that displays the evolution of these different subjects. Each section also provides three types of information: a historical fact about Lachine, a “did you know,” and environmental facts.
When entering the room, viewers can see a blue wall to their left, where photographs of people are displayed. Pictures of hockey teams, as well as people fishing, playing tennis or running a marathon, can be admired among many other photographs. Ironically, in today’s world, this would be similar to an Instagram or Facebook feed. Perhaps it could also make visitors think of an old family photo album that they peek at once in a while.
When looking at the photo, video and music sections, there are a variety of objects that can be gazed upon. One can see the evolution of cameras, now old relics with different shapes and sizes. In today’s world, we are able to instantly take pictures with our cell phones. Still, some take pleasure in using a film camera, waiting with excitement for the shots to be developed. Aesthetically, old-school looks better.
Phonograph records dating from 1923, and an electric and battery operated radio circa 1937 are among other objects seen in the section. Today, there’s no need to worry when it comes to music, considering the multitude of apps that allow people the opportunity to listen to whatever they like. The internet has allowed younger generations to discover music from once upon a time, and help older generations look for their favourite older music with a better sound quality.
One downside of today’s music devices is streaming. According to an article published in 2019 by Rolling Stone, a researcher from the University of Oslo explored the environmental impact of streaming music and found out that “music consumption in the 2000s resulted in the emission of approximately 157 million kilograms of greenhouse gas equivalents.”
The exhibition suggests that the audience download and save the music on one’s device. Knowing the amount of music we listen to per day, it would be a challenge for everyone to go back to cassettes and vinyl when everything we listen to is on our devices.
The game section of the exhibition displays familiar pastimes, such as a chess board from 1910, cards from the 20th century, lawn bowling balls from the 19th century and more. Though video games appear to have replaced some of these old forms of entertainment, they are still enjoyed by many out there. In all sincerity, game night with your pals at your favourite board game bar is far more exciting.
The exhibition also demonstrates the way information was received in the past, how products were promoted and the way encyclopedia collections were equivalent to today’s search engines. Everything that is exhibited in La vie sans applis can be found on a cell phone. Whether you want to use a calculator, look at the world clock, or communicate with distant family members, everything can be done immediately.
Digital technology has shaped the way the world works as everything travels faster than ever. However, it is essential to take a break and recharge by doing an activity that doesn’t involve using our cell phones. La vie sans applis encourages the audience to think about the relationship people have with their electronic devices.
In the end, the real question is: would it be possible today to live without them?
La vie sans applis is being displayed at 1 Chemin du Musée every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. until Oct. 10.
Photo by Ana Lucia Londono Flores