Open Source has absorbed more than its technological connotations, and is now held up as a gospel-cry for tech-culture freedom to lay itself bare of any restrictions or secrets. The Museum of Contextual Amputations follows this Open Source creed as a way to construct a site dependent on users as architects of the content and form. Because of this method, however, the site can be a little disorienting. Like Everything2.com, the museum thrives on a network of seemingly unrelated items. In one moment, you may be transported from the hieroglyphic explanation of Plato’s dialogue cratylos to images of Al Zarqawi’s disembodied head to the self-immolation of a philosopher. While there are countless sites which depend on the “strange and unusual” in order to appear deep and complicated, the museum offers an escape from that because it be edited. Once logged in, users can edit each page, adding or subtracting certain elements by means of the very code that comprises the site. One can add a picture, a link to a video or separate text in order to add or subtract to the existing piece. The “recent changes” section lists all the modifications that various users have performed on the site. You can also add certain pages to a “watch list” in order to monitor the mods that appear on that page.
I seem to be seeing more and more of these kinds of random collection pages popping up lately. In order to foster the swell of unrelated information appearing online, sites like this are created to allow people to nestle pockets of fascinating information in one space. The beauty of the Museum of Contextual Amputations is that there is no real administrator, no overseeing power which monitors and restricts the way in which this information is voiced through the site. The idea of Open Source allows it to perpetuate based on the will of its users. The more they contribute and edit, the further it will go. So if you got a minute, check out the picture of Ballerino, the boxer, submitted by Fidelio (and then screw around with it if you like). (James King)