The work in the Penn Museum Archives never ends. The backlog resists attempts at taming it. The Archives is happy to have a number of interns and volunteers who are willing to help organize, catalog, and preserve the documents, drawings, and photographs in the collections. Alyssa Velazquez is one such intern, who is presently reorganizing the storage of the old glass plate negatives. The Museum has at least 30,000 glass plates, in sizes ranging from 3×4 inches to 11×14 inches. Many of these were originally transported into the field, were shot and developed there, and were then brought back to the Museum. Others were taken in the Museum’s Photo Studio, which was established by at least 1902. The Adventures of Ringo and Sobek is a social science satire centered around the Museum’s old records, surroundings, and areas of study.
In the Continuing Adventures of Ringo and Sobek:
Sobek, it’s no good.
The dratted mechanics have seized up-
And I can’t figure out what all the reluctance is about.
The world is falling apart.
They can’t keep up.
If we are to survive these changing times we need to prepare.
When all else fails…
We must always be able to depend on our wits.
Therefore, I’ve decided to enroll us into one of the museum’s nightly seminars.
A very reputable professor teaches a rather exclusive course on the modern world.
While the term modern is puzzling,
His credentials are rather extensive.
I, personally, went to him so as to see about the scheduling of a private session.
I felt I had to explain your condition,
Your lack of mobility,
And the need to be accommodating to your stature.
With your inability to travel, all instructions would have to be had on our shelf.
Which he seemed very obliging to conduct.
I feel this is owing to a decrease in registered students.
Mr. Burrows: our soon to be tutor,
Appears to be occupationally engaged with the enemy.
However, he greatly enjoys this close proximity.
His dwelling is littered with screens and buttons of all imagination.
Wires and cords form a kind of modernistic carpet,
Well-worn and matted from Mr. Burrows’ continued scurrying about the space.
It appeared to me, as our initial interview wore on, that instead of alleviating tasks,
His contraptions made for continual motion and constant monitoring.
The focal point of our instruction will be the utilization of these contraptions.
It is Mr. Burrows’ mindset, that these supportive elements are our future.
Mr. Burrows preaches that all arguments to the contrary are futile.
We then proceeded into my first lesson with a very hands-on exercise.
At his insistence I was made to explore the many controls;
This had to be done blind folded.
It was an example exercise of Mr. Burrows’ proverbial saying: comprehension does not require sight.
At first I thought this mode of behavior was due to Mr. Burrows’ own lack of eyesight
Yet he assured me that all of humanity, regardless of eye and ear size,
Were producing more statistical productivity through generalized interactives.
Particularly those solely based off of sensory stimulation versus antiquated critical thinking initiatives.
I will admit, I did not do particularly well at that first interview.
But I am assured that through continual exposure,
My way of thinking and engaging will adjust itself.
Mr. Burrows’ recommendation to our current predicament is to portray ourselves in digital sensibility, and by doing so, everything else will fall into order.
It my belief Sobek, that you will find the whole experience very formative.
In fact your affinity to the solitary is similar to Mr.Burrows, which leads me to believe that you will be an excellent student in the art of the future.
While Mr. Burrows’ larger screens and controls are not portable, he has devised a specified lesson plan that he promises will provide adequate simulations.
As he said when I left his company the other day, “where there is a wire, there is a way.”
Mr. Burrows stares straight ahead, firm in his convictions.
The future he said is inorganic and our failure to embrace his motorized windows is from our own lack of foresight.
Imagine Sobek, a future full of so many portals.
What if we should get lost?
If we do become lost, I hope that we never lose sight of each other.