Screenshots of despair is my new Tumblr Crush. Screenshots of despair…well, the name says it all. Josh Kimball is the mysterious guy behind it. When I asked him to tell me a bit about himself, he just replied that he was not interesting to talk about but that his project certainly was. So we skipped the “who are you” part and went straight to the heart of the matter!
What was the idea behind Screenshots of Despair?
I started the Tumblr a few months ago. I was inspired by some projects by Rob Walker, including something called the Gallery of Default Anonymity, which was a collection of default social media avatars. That project was somehow really fun, in a spartan and haunting way. The idea behind the Screenshots of Despair Tumblr wasn’t really about user interface or social isolation precisely. It’s more about a gap between human and machine. And it’s about the feelings technology can evoke in people.
How do you feel about this gap between human and technology?
So many people say that the site is sad. But I don’t really think of it that way. It’s a combination of happy and sad. It’s a little crease in reality that gives you a tiny jolt of joy (and maybe a little brief bit of pain) to see and to think about. The Culture of Cute online – from LOL Cats to all the Cute Overload stuff – makes a lot of sense as an online mood lifter. But to me there’s room for this kind of thing, too. I see it as sort of an equally healthy antidote to sites like those.
Do you screenshot everything yourself or do you have people who submit?
I used to find most of the screenshots, but now it’s primarily submissions. And the submissions have been wonderful. It’s been great seeing all the different ways people approach the same problem. I especially like to get submissions from unexpected platforms or shots that aren’t in English. The gap between human and machine is universal; it translates across all languages.
words: Interview by Dora Moutot
Images: Screenshot of Despair