One of our most important themes here at Techdirt is the idea that the act of remixing, reimagining and recombining the creations of the past is not only natural and wonderful, it's the primary (and at a fundamental level, the only) engine of creativity in human culture. The internet era brings this to the fore and makes the cycle more immediate, because it makes the wealth of history and culture available to everyone, along with the tools to make use of it. Moreover, the sometimes-overwhelming nature of rapid change promotes a healthy degree of nostalgia in even the most forward-thinking and future-embracing among us, and it's in that spirit that this week's Awesome Stuff highlights some nostalgic offerings from Kickstarter:
One Of Those Old-Timey Cameras With A Hood (a.k.a. The Camera Obscura)
We've all seen them — if not in real life then in one of the many movies where they are used as a piece of shorthand synecdoche for "hey, it's the past!" Well, this project to resurrect the iconic camera has shot way past its goal, by staying true to the original design while also demonstrating how it can be combined with modern equipment.
Hey, Is That A Robot?
I love design and illustration work that creates contrast between content and style. I also have every former-8-year-old-boy's fondness for robots. This dinner plate, second in a series, so perfectly emulates a traditional and somewhat bland graphic style that at a glance, anyone would miss the giant robot preparing to disrupt its quaint tranquility. And it all started because the artist re-drew an image from an old plate inherited from his grandparents...
Go Fish (Through The History Books)
Kickstarter has been a boon for all sorts of creators, but there are certain very particular areas that seem to have been bolstered beyond all expectations by the crowdfunding site (the wallet has been "revolutionized" and "reinvented" at least 100 times in the last year, apparently). One of these areas is playing cards, which have a large collector community and serve as a cool way for artists to get their work out there. This extremely beautiful deck is based on the paintings of the old masters, but digitally repainted in exceptional detail (and considerable style) from scratch.
Okay, But How About Something New?
Well, it can't all be nostalgia, so here's a pointer to a project to create something that definitely didn't exist in the past: a personal indicator light that tells you whenever the ISS is overhead. Mostly pointless, perhaps, but cool, because hey, we have a space station!
Dishonorable Mention / Schadenfreude Moment
Here's something I really wish would stay in the past: a belief in ghosts. This guy wants $120,000 to produce a documentary about how ghosts are, you know, real and stuff. With science. And lazers. He promises to reveal "the truth that nobody knows about all the TV Ghost Hunting shows" which presumably is that they are fake but he is, like, totally genuine. If you pledge $1000, you'll even get one of their "devices for capturing human soul" which sounds like a good deal, actually. Just don't cross the streams.
It heartens me to see that he has only raised $5.