Pitchfork   The Dissolve   Festivals: Chicago | Paris

Three designers in NYU's ITP program, Adrià Navarro and DI Shin, along with Ananya Mukherjee, have designed a desktop printer and browser extension that allows one to print the best moments of our online lives in the style of a Polaroid instant photo. The project is called the "Polaroid Cacher." After framing and "shooting" your screen with the Chrome browser extension, you can print the image to a Polaroid camera, actually the wireless printer built into the shell of an iconic Land Camera. By the way, even the printer pays homage to Polaroid. It uses the Polaroid-developed ZINK printing system. 

What's significant about the project is that the designers aren't just using the Polaroid camera's form simply to add a level of kitsch or nostalgia to the modern habit of posting social media updates. Instead the Polaroid Cacher is designed to function in the same way as the original Polaroid instant camera: to make a physical, visual artifact from a fleeting moment or interaction. The designers aren't passing any judgments about the role of status updates or Tweets in our daily lives. The students believe digital updates are just as significant as instant photos were decades ago, but because they don't have a physical form, they can be easier to forget.