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A Story of Modern Heartbreak as Told by Computerized Error Messages

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With Human Error, graphic designer Victoria Siemer, also known as Wichtoria, creates an intimate confessional of heartbreak in the era of social media. Overlaying polaroids with Mac computer error messages, she imagines a poignant and witty narrative of love lost. The Brooklyn-based artist, who updates her Tumblr with new pieces each week, began the project with photographs pulled from Flickr’s creative commons. As the process progressed, she began constructing and manipulating her own images; currently, Siemer is experimenting with actual polaroid film.

In the vein of popular website Post Secret, Human Error maintains a powerful youthful tenor, maintaining both an innocent sense of abandon and an ironic self-awareness. Siemer touchingly draws upon the collective memory of 20-somethings who recall the pleasure of the quick-developing polaroid—juxtaposed against the instantaneous computer error messages, the medium seems retrospectively to require laborious patience. In a fast-paced modern world, the act of waiting for emotional healing to run its course seems uncannily similar to shaking the elusive polaroid.

Siemer’s images speak to our nostalgia, a yearning to connect to the self and its archive of sensory recollection. Scanning the series, we feel as though we might get that chance to reflect, to pause and to grieve our pasts, seen here in love-rumbled bedcovers and faded spring flowers. Before we can fully introspect, however, large rectangular computer messages obscure our view, cruelly blocking out portions of our memory. Take a look.

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