Over a span of 40+ years, I've been collecting odds and ends. Things I find interesting and that remind me of an event in my life. A matchbook from a favorite restaurant. Ticket stubs from my first Boston Red Sox game. Stuff like that. I call them my baggie art. I place each item in a ziplock sandwich bag and have several thousand of these items now. When I get to display them I put them in a grid pattern on a wall. I don't have a specific order. I just put them up to look at. But I can look at the items and remember much of where they came from and the circumstances around them. It's a visual journal of sorts. I see it as a good example of how a computer hard drives store data and then retrieve that data when the information is accessed. It needs a primmer.
The Eternal Ephemera project is based on the mathematical principles of permutations.
A permutation is a resulting number of options possible given a set number of elements. For example, if I had 4 objects arranged in a 2 over 2 grid, the number of permutations possible would be P(n,r) = n! ÷ (n-r). In layman's terms that means 1x2x3x4= the number of permutations = 24 permutations. If I increase the grid to be 3 over 3 or 9 objects total then the equation is 1x2x3x4x5x6x7x8x9= 3,628,800 possible arrangements. If I increased to 25 objects in a 5 over 5 grid with one object changing every second it would take 663,457 years to work through all of the possible permutations.
The Eternal Ephemera project consists of photographing all of the Baggie Art collection (3000+ pieces so far) and then building a computer program that will randomly display an assembly of these objects on the screen but with one object changing every second. If I used a ten-over-ten grid to display 100 random Baggie Art images and shifted their positions every second (For example moving object #1 to object #100's spot and shifting all remaining objects to their new positions - Object #2 goes to #1's spot, #3 goes to #2, etc.) it would take like millions of years to ever repeat a duplicate arrangement. If the selection of images is in the thousands then theoretically the arrangements would not repeat within the existence of the world.
With the launch of this project and when I start the computer program, for each arrangement a screenshot of the items will be created and made into an NFT. There will be an eternal generation of unique images never to repeat.
This project is in the developmental stage as is meant to be exhibited as a physical display of all of the baggie art I have collected but also a digital large-scale display of the eternal ephemera program in progress.