Time Capsule—Art In The Making

February 20, 2014

As my only child approaches his 4th birthday, I realized I am terribly behind on a fully concepted project. I designed a system that would document his life in this world (age 0, 1, 2, 3…), but the execution is 3.75 years behind.

With an abundance of visually dynamic things sent to us from friends all over the country and Canada, the assets sit in piles. A handmade art puzzle, his first one-piece swimsuit in case he is ever a swimmer competing in the Olympics, a very expensive spoon we received from the infertility clinic, works of artful letters and of course thousands of iPhone images. The list goes on and on.

When I read that Andy Warhol was diligent and prolific in his efforts to document the diverse worlds in which he was active, I was shocked to hear his collection consists of more than 8,000 cubic feet of material – perhaps half a million objects – and functions as an integral part of The Warhol Museum.

Andy Warhol, Time Capsule Contents

Andy Warhol, Time Capsule Contents

The foundation of the archives collection is Warhol’s “Time Capsules.”

Andy Warhol's Time Capsules. (images via: SLAMXHYPE and National Gallery of Victoria).

Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules. (images via: SLAMXHYPE and National Gallery of Victoria).

This serial work, spanning a 30-year period from the early 1960s to his death in 1987, consists of 612 containers (mainly standard-sized cardboard boxes), which Warhol, beginning in 1974, filled, sealed and sent to storage.

Warhol used these boxes to manage the overwhelming quantity of material that routinely passed through his life. Photographs, newspapers and magazines, fan letters, business and personal correspondence, art work, source images for art work, books, exhibition catalogs, and telephone messages, along with objects and countless examples of ephemera, such as announcements for poetry readings and dinner invitations, were placed on an almost daily basis into a box kept conveniently next to his desk.

Andy Warhol Time Capsule Opened Via Live ICA Web Link - 2013

Andy Warhol Time Capsule Opened Via Live ICA Web Link – 2013

Since it seems like time is moving faster than ever these days and it is difficult to remember all the wonderful nuances of the growth, discovery and fun, a Dutch collaboration between a product designer and two graphic designers created these beautiful (of course…they’re Dutch!) time capsule kits.

Time Capsule. Made in the Netherlands.

Time Capsule. Made in the Netherlands.

Their inspiration for TimeCapsules came from Andy Warhol, who always had a brown cardboard box next to his desk to collect bits of his daily life. Once the box was full, he’d write the date on the box and seal it up. At the time of his death, there were 612 “Time Capsules,” which gave an invaluable and intimate look into his life and the era.

Time Capsule. Made In The Netherlands.

Time Capsule. Made In The Netherlands.

Time Capsule. What's In It?

Time Capsule. What’s In It?

Considering a lifetime, I guess 3.75 years isn’t that far behind. I may adopt this box idea and put the design system I created in box number 01, dated 2010. Or, order up 4 qty. of the above. If that is the case, I’ve got time.