Production: Archaeology of a GeoCities Site
GeoCities was a place where a generation of early internet users created their first web pages. The site, now archived and made accessible through the various projects listed below, is like a time capsule of the moment before social media when people experimented with layout and graphic design and what a website could be used for. For this assignment, you will be asked to explore the neighborhoods of GeoCities and write about a representative site of your choice, focusing on the site’s user creation through the aspect of production from the circuit of culture.
- The Geocities Gallery, a restorativland project. I recommend starting here because this gallery offers the most user-friendly tools for exploring the archive of GeoCities sites, including thumbnail images of the main pages for each site for easy perusing.
- Archive.org GeoCities Special Collection 2009. This is probably the most reliable archive of the GeoCities collection but does not offer the visual interface of the site above.
- The Wayback Machine. Use the Wayback Machine to find and OldWeb.today to capture images of the site as it appeared to users in the 1990s.
- Oocities.org. Another good archive.
- Choose a GeoCities site.
- Claim your GeoCities site in the discussion on Canvas. No doubling up.
- Find out as much information as is available on who produced the website and how they produced it. In the absence of specific details (obviously a lot of web creation in this era was done anonymously), feel free to analyze the web design and consider the tools and aesthetics that motivated the site’s creation. Remember that the five areas of the circuit of culture are interrelated, so aspects such as representation and identity can be considered part of the site’s production. That said, questions of money and power are central to production, and it will be important to consider who benefits from the representations and identities expressed on the site.
- Capture an image of the site using OldWeb.today to use as a feature image. Be careful to follow the image requirements so you don’t end up with an excessively large file. (As a tip, it will be easier to access the site initially on the Wayback Machine, and from there you can jot down the date and time of the screen capture to find it on OldWeb.today.) Please feel encouraged to provide additional screen captures in your discussion.
- Provide links to resources where applicable.
- Credit images where possible by providing a caption.
All assignments should be submitted as text documents on Canvas and to the blog on the course site. For further instructions on posting to the blog, check out this explainer.
Due November 4 by 5:00 p.m. EST.