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Researcher installs a camera that will take photos of the Arizona desert for next 1000 years

An experimental researcher has installed a 'Millennium Camera' that will take a photo spanning 1000 years of the Arizona desert.

Researcher installs a camera that will take photos of the Arizona desert for next 1000 years
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Bruno Glätsch, The University of Arizona | Jonathon Keats

We all like to sit and wonder what the future holds for us. The possibilities are, in fact, truly endless as one can think very positively or negatively about the future. Jonathon Keats, an experimental philosopher, had a unique idea to keep a photographic camera that looked over Tumamoc Hill in Tucson. According to the University of Arizona, Keats and his team from the Desert Laboratory put the camera next to a bench that looked towards the West, covering the Star Pass neighborhood.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Eric Sanman
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Eric Sanman

Keats hopes that the camera will prompt hikers who traverse the trail to stop and try to think of what the future will be like. The camera is only supposed to be opened in 1000 years and will provide humans of that time with a long exposure image of Tucson throughout the long period. Keats is very realistic in his expectations with this experiment and openly admits that there are a lot of things that could go wrong. He says, "There are forces of nature and decisions people make, whether administrative or criminal, that could result in the camera not lasting."



 

In the scenario that the camera lasts, people who open it will get to see a long exposure image of Tucson. Keats explains, "Let's take a really dramatic case where all the housing is removed 500 years in the future. What will happen then is the mountains will be clear and sharp and opaque, and the housing will be ghostly. All change will be superimposed on one image that can be reconstructed layer by layer in terms of interpretation of the final image."

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kaique Rocha
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kaique Rocha

In order for the camera to stand the test of time, it will not have any complex mechanisms to it. Light will be allowed to fall through a thin sheet of 24-karat gold onto a small copper cylinder on the top of a steel pole. After a thousand years pass, sunlight falling into the camera will steadily cause a light-sensitive surface called rose madder to fade. This oil paint pigment would provide humans of the future with a long-exposure image of Tucson, which has undergone many changes through the centuries.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Chinmany Singh
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Chinmany Singh

Keaton also created the project as a way for people to think about what they could do to make the future better. He stated how most people had a "pretty bleak outlook" about the future. He explained, "It's easy to imagine that people in 1,000 years could see a version of Tucson that is far worse than what we see today, but the fact that we can imagine it is not a bad thing. It's actually a good thing because if we can imagine that, then we can also imagine what else might happen, and therefore, it might motivate us to take action to shape our future."

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lisa Fotios
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lisa Fotios

He wants to install one more camera on the Tumamoc Hill that faces a different direction. This would allow the two cameras to provide different perspectives about the way humans interacted with their environment. But his aspirations do not stop there, as he intends to keep cameras around the globe. He said, "This project depends on doing this in many places all over the world. I hope this leads to a planetary process of reimagining planet Earth for future generations."

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