Historical Facts Overview
The Original Thread
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This is a chance to get another look at the daily posts and monthly videos I created over the last few years. The first few weeks are a little rough because I was still working through what I was going to do with the Twitter thread thematically, editorially, and visually. This project was born out of social media campaign I created for a branded channel but has evolved into so much more.
By the second month of daily posting I had mostly sorted out the content sourcing process, though the form factor and layout were still under development. I created a couple iOS shortcuts to simplify the process of standardizing image sizes and to layer them into “collages”.
You may notice February 29th is included, this is because I started the project in 2020 which was a Leap Year. I wish I could say that was intentional but it’s really just serendipity.
As March began, I felt like the thread was really hitting a stride. Of course, in March of 2020 the world began grinding to a halt. One thing was certain though, the thematic intentions had crystalized. It would focus primarily on US history and business along with culture and technology. Obviously, there are many tertiary interests that exist adjacent to these so it isn’t exclusive — particularly on dates that had limited options for facts or imagery.
In April of 2020 I was in the rough as the medical coding incident began to sweep over the psyche of our social landscape. The news and speculation was getting to be too much, creating a historical fact each day was a nice respite from the news cycle of the present. However, you can’t assume the historical news on any given day in the past was playing a brighter note.
By the month of April I really felt like the imagery collage process had been formalized. I had more or less figured out how to crop images to get everything I wanted in the final output while accounting for the words that would be placed over the images.
I don’t live in a vacuum, ya know? I hear stuff, I see things. So the project began shifting gears. The posts’ editorial components increased and the images grew more implicative. The space between the overt statements became equally fertile territory to thread subplots.
This didn’t change where things were headed but the arc the daily thread was on had a slightly different trajectory. You sure can say a lot by saying nothing at all.
Things started to get alittle hairy in June of 2020. I was in transit during this time and attempting to put the final edits on the Chicago 1893 documentary film as well. Despite refining the process into shape, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage my time and turn these out daily. You’ll notice that the last week or so of posts were actually made in July of 2021.
I abandoned the project for nearly one year in June 2020 and wouldn’t return to creating the images until May of 2021.
Nearly one year after taking a hiatus from the project, I began producing collages again. It had been so long that I didn’t even realize when I had actually stopped posting on the thread. At any rate, I began working ahead to amass a collection of images in advance so that it would be less likely that I would become overwhelmed at any point by the production load amidst my regular work and daily tasks.
By August of 2021, I was fully back into the swing of things. I had worked almost a month ahead, doing the necessary research and creating imagery. I still believe that anyone could produce a content project like this. It doesn’t need to be shaped around history, facts, or really even the calendar. It’s like walking, step-by-step and all of a sudden you have produced more than you predicted you might at the beginning.
There’s something about the month of your own birth, nostalgia perhaps or else another collective emotional connection assembled from the bundled memories and affiliations you’ve drawn lines between over the year to cobble together a personal narrative. This project posits that you can point gravity at any instances you’d like to weave a story from the seemingly unconnected data points, even if you didn’t have a plan at the outset. And ya know, that’s life — no matter what season your birthday falls within.
If you spend a portion of each day for 10 months on something you should improve. This project has evolved over three years. I was making connections in the histories more rapidly as I began rounding out the collection of original posts. This lead me to begin thinking about what to do with this material next. Laying out the content as a book seemed like the logical next step but I wasn’t ready to work through that process because I was in the middle of two other projects that were released. So I opted to make short videos for each month’s facts for 2022.
By November all the processes had been ironed out. The themes were clear and I was making posts that could connect across the calendar. The image collages over the last few months are some of the best, in my opinion, because I had created so many at that point that I could look at the sets of pictures I was using and know how cropping would affect the output. Though they may not be explicitly generative, they were certainly some sort of analog.
At the end of this phase of the project, it is easy to look back and see the path it has taken. Now I’m looking forward. There are a lot of ways to continue evolving the material. If I had been more thorough in my preparations and thinking in early 2020, I would have captured more of the source imagery. Luckily, recreating the collages is not what I intend to do.
I’m going to put this project to rest for a while to think about how best to proceed with it. It isn’t over, I’m just putting it in a crockpot.
Thank for following along!