As much as we all hate those tourists and museum-goers whose cameras and iPhones never leave their hands, you can't really blame them. In fact, we're all guilty. There is a reason people have this urge to document everything around them. We simply can't let go of the fact that nothing lasts forever—not even in the digital world.
Our 140-character tweets and Instagrams get lost amidst those of everyone else fighting for their 15 minutes of fame. The irony is that despite the fleeting nature of social media, we continue attempting to preserve ourselves through 'grams and apps like Snapchat. But even Snapchats don't stick around forever. To visually represent this 20th century tragedy and to show us that there is "value in ephemera," a group of artists have fashioned a device that is basically an analog version of Snapchat.
Shawn Soh, Persiis Hajiyanni, and Ryan Smaglik created a work of art they call The Eraser. It consists of an Arduino camera, a printer, and a hair straightener. Observers are to smile for the camera, which takes a portrait and immediately spits out the photo through a thermal printer. You can see your photo for a few seconds before it slides through the hair straightener and turns black, gone forever. Watch it in action below: