Part of the impetus for writing this rests on the fact that I have been battling all day with a variety of tools and technologies so I wanted to pause and reflect on some of the moments where technology actually augments human consciousness. And doesn’t upset me. So, in my own small way, I hope to contribute to the conversation that technology can unlock emotional content long since past, unlock whole environments for humanity to explore and create consciousness. To flood the decay of the past with living memory, that sort of thing. Technology, while not inventing new terrain for the framework of humanity, that gooey amoebic organism of intellect and emotion, to creep into, certainly has the capacity to expose it to our consciousness.


(I had this poster hanging in our apartment in Princeton for five years and literally never thought I would see this place again, aka where I proposed to my wife)

Convincing myself I was Herodotus in a (way) past life (and some Thomas Edison tinkerer in this one), I am perpetually drawn to history as a storytelling device, a narrative of fact and fiction intertwined. The eye of the beholder becomes the philosophical, social, or economic framework we choose to apply to it. My framework is often the sentimental, so I choose to filter history through an emotional layer. A checkbox on my mental advanced search screen. I choose to record it more often than not through this blog, through social media, through any mechanism I can.

Today is my anniversary. I married my wife 5 years ago to the day in Long Island, New York. However, we met and fell in love and got engaged here in Seoul, Korea. I have written about this before, less from a technological bent, but more from an emotionally historic one, how the fates of history put us in each other’s path. How the past certainly informed our meeting, our relationship, our bond with one another. If you don’t believe me, read the blog post. It is one of my favorites. 

Tomorrow (wife will be working late tonight), we will head to the Westin Chosun Hotel to belatedly celebrate our anniversary and we will both remember that I proposed to her at this hotel in 2005. I did it in view of Wondugan(원구단) and we took many pictures and had champagne and a meal at this restaurant that I believe might have cost me a month’s salary at the time (only slight hyperbole).


To revisit this memory, I naturally loaded an old, old photograph of the original Chosun Hotel to History Pin, geolocated it on the map, and will use my iPhone (and the History Pin app) to layer this image over the restaurant when my wife and I have dinner. I see the woman in the photo, dressed to the nines in something approximating flapper attire, and she looks incredibly happy. I will see that happiness in some semblance of actual context through augmented reality. I will see her as she was where she was. I will upload an image via History Pin of the same location now, and add to the historical record. Hopefully, someone will do the same another 90 years from now. In that same spot with another layer of memory and emotion. A check-in with a whole lot of heart.

That is technology to me. An augmented emotional reality. Slotting my experience in the grand scheme of human events (and that location). Embedding my memory, like some invisible graffiti, in the walls. To know that indeed I have a story to tell as well. That is history to me.

So, get out those old, old photographs, those family heirlooms, go to History Pin, upload them, and tell your story. People want to hear, but imagine the serendipity of stumbling across one of these when you pass through some foreign place. I, too, was here and so was this guy. These stories flood the walls with emotional content, a mortar we build an augmented humanity on. They tell us we aren’t alone. I am getting carried away with myself, but that is love.

See what I've pinned on Historypin

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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