The New York Public Library Picture Collection caches over one million original prints, photos, posters, graphics, magazines, illustrations and texts sorted into thousands of binders, each with a specific category and subject. One binder, “UFOs”, claims to hold and archive our cultural interest in the existence of extraterrestrial life. A binder that was composed into this book.
Before Google, the Internet and the ‘age of data’ someone at library attempted to collect and archive the entire volume of visual references published in magazines and newspapers that include pictures and drawings depicting aliens and UFOs. It is needless to say that the alleged attempt failed with a finite number of items in the binder scratching 300 pieces.
The idea of trying to collect our entire visual history fascinated me. How each binder specifically focuses on a small fragment of our culture, yet all together they attempt to represent the entirety of our cultural footprint. But the UFOs binder seems diminutive and unimpressive. Growing-up hearing stories about UFOs, watching Sci-Fi movies, Documentaries, TV shows, reading books and comics, I expected the binder to contain a much greater volume…
All images ©Dana Stirling