I didn’t know Chloe Weil personally. I know her work and her writing through her website, chloeweil.com .
Weil’s work stands out to me as a bright example of the kind of work that directs me and makes me smile: pieces about life and living and history made for everyone: family, friends, robots and crawlers, unknown people in unexpected places, through the past and into the future. Work of the web, built from HTML, available for everyone, pushing accessibility through translation and whatever means. Striving to be a speck in the Long Now and the Big Here.
I didn’t know Weil, but I feel like I’ve benefited from her ideas and gifts as part of a tradition of crafts people, thousands of years old, working to make the means of publishing more accessible to more people.
I don’t know what she would think about this.
Her document Julius Cards is an example I’ve shared with many people thinking about personal archives. It has a boldly simple form. Like the web itself it is inviting in its construction, full of seams.
This work inspired me to make a similar html document as a record and tribute to my grandmother Joan Bacon. I need to get on and do that.
Weil recorded audio versions of her posts. After hearing Our Raggered History I quickly wrote the code to publish audio versions of my posts, copying her example, but I’m yet to follow though. Looking at it now, my approach is overdone and too complicated, I much prefer Weil’s link, front and centre at the top of the post. She clearly loved sound in all it’s forms and wanted to share that, not hide it away. Another bold simplicity that inspires self-confidence and determination.
Weil connected the thinking about craft and approach to the details of implementation and then back out to our social and industrial contexts and how we shape them. She asked hard questions of our efforts:
I decided to write this quick post as a mark and sign post for myself, and anyone else, pointing to her work. As Weil knew, most URLs don’t last, and I don’t know what will happen to her work in the long term. I hope that it can be kept online.
As I’ve done with other websites that feel are like a book I would add to my shelf for future reference, I’ve run a quick wget on her domain. This downloads a copy of everything in reach. I used instructions by the Archive Team that I found via Jason Scott of the archive.org Weil references. I suspect she was a punk archivist herself.
My thoughts go out to Chloe Weil’s family and friends. The sparks she left for the web are deeply appreciated.