Time Capsule — Part 1

Kendra Barber
8 min readMar 30, 2021

For the midterm project, we were tasked with telling stories about objects that have personal meaning to us, and putting them into a time capsule for people in the future to discover. I wanted all of my items to have some kind of underlying theme, while still being different in their own right, so choosing the items I wanted to use was actually kind of difficult. I also wanted the items to represent present moments in my life right now.

The items I ended up choosing were:

  1. An album — representing my culture/identity in today’s society.
  2. A book — representing a favorite of mine, as well as where I live right now.
  3. A collection — representing how I think and feel.

All of these items hold a very significant value, and represent different aspects within my life right now. I wanted my narratives to be based around how I got the items, and the reasoning behind why they are important to me.

“I am Killmonger”

This album was a gift from my mom. She didn’t know why I wanted it, other than the fact that I just wanted a new album. Vinyls are so timeless, and this one is beautiful. And when I first received it, I never looked at it as more than just another piece to add to my collection. But over time, it has come to create a new meaning of value to me.

Black Panther is one of those movies that I could watch over and over again. And I definitely went through a phase of watching it at least once a day. Everyday. For a few weeks. I remember when my friends and I went to see it during a free showing back in college. I was never a huge fan of superhero movies, but this was one that I knew I couldn’t pass up. I had heard such amazing reviews that were plastered all over social media. The theater was packed. Literally every seat. The movie had just been released, and people were itching to go see it. I mean honestly, who is going to pass up a free movie? I heard it was a good one. A really good one. But me being me, I wasn’t going to get my hopes up.

I was in awe from the very start. The movie is beautiful. From the scenery, to the story, to the music. Yes, the music. Featuring some of my very favorite artists. And a wide range of them, too. An entire collection of black excellence.

This movie + soundtrack has come to represent more than just another box checked off of a list. It has come to represent, what I consider to be, a win for the black community. My community. We needed this. In a time where we have so much stacked against us, and what feels like no one on our side, this movie has given us something to be proud of. A trophy. And it was almost like a cultural reset. It gave little black boys and girls superheroes to look up to, something that we never really had before. It set off waves across social media. This is more than just music. It represents an entire culture.

Video of one of my favorite songs off the album

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”

“The Big Book of Horror” was where it began. It still sits on my bookshelf today. I was in elementary school, no more than nine years old. I was starting to develop a fascination for all things unusual, and horror stories were just the beginning. I read that book cover to cover a countless number of times. And I would never get tired of the stories. But the ones that always left me hungry for more, were the ones written by someone I would grow to admire.

Edgar Allan Poe has always been one of my favorite authors. But there was always something about the way he wrote that I was drawn to. I received this book, “The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe,”as a gift from one of my good friends. I’ve flipped through the pages over and over again. Reading and rereading excerpts of stories, taking note of my favorite phrases. The stories are not the kind that invoke some kind of deep, meaningful feeling within me, like some might feel reading an inspirational book or something along those lines. But they excite me in a way that gets my adrenaline pumping, waiting anxiously to see what’s going to happen next.

As much as I loved Poe, I never bothered to research or look into his actual life, like where he was from or other endeavors that he pursued throughout his life. His work has gone on to inspire my own, but I never really took interest in learning about the kind of person he was, which is a shame on my part. But when I finally started to look into it, I was taken by complete surprise.

I moved to Richmond, VA back in the summer of 2019 right after I graduated from college. I’ve lived in Virginia my entire life, and was born and raised by the beach, but decided to branch out to a new area after finishing school. This city holds a lot of history, but I had no idea that my favorite author walked these streets many years ago. I’ve come to love this city, and everything that it has offered me in the short time that I’ve been here. But I’ve come to appreciate it even more after finding out that he spent a lot of time in this area that I call my home. He grew up here. Started a family here. Began his literary journey. There’s an Edgar Allen Poe museum just a few blocks from where I live that I have yet to visit, but is on my to do list before I choose to leave for another destination.

And not to mention, his mother is buried down the street from my house.

My own “Poe” inspired prints

“Good Vibes”

Meditation and self reflection has become a standard practice for me. Opening my mind up to a new way of thinking has allowed me to reflect on myself as a person, and dive deeper into who I am and how I feel.

I started my crystal collection when I was back in high school. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by such beautiful crystals? I never really understood the power they held, but it was a “trend” that was growing back in the day, and I wanted to take part of it. Many people were diving into this new found spiritual journey, and I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into, and I never really took it seriously. I started with small pieces here and there, and there was never any thought behind the ones that I bought, other than the fact that they looked cool.

Once I got to college, it was completely put on the back burner. I didn’t care about them, and I just merely used them for some kind of decoration. It wasn’t until right before I graduated, that I started to take my own spiritual journey more seriously. I had come across that giant amethyst while out shopping one day with some friends. Of course it’s beautiful, but something kept drawing me back to it. I wasn’t going to buy it at first because of how expensive it was, but it was almost as if it was calling my name. I finally caved and pulled out the cash to buy it. And in this moment was when I new that I needed to take a step into this new journey. A lot of people have mixed feelings when it comes to “this kind of stuff.” And I definitely was weary at first, but I had friends that were really into it, and they guided me through new information, and gave me advice on how to make this work for me.

I never knew the impact it would have on my life. Learning how to effectively meditate took a ton of time, and a ton patience. I knew nothing about balancing chakras or manifestation. It has taken years for me to get to the place that I’m at now, but I’m extremely grateful for the experience and lessons learned. It has allowed me to be completely open with my emotions, and has completely changed my way of thinking.

Reflection:

This was project was extremely interesting. I don’t really hold sentimental value to items I have, so it took me a while to figure out which items I picked. I had to think long and hard about how I got these items, and how they came to be so important to me. And in that process, I realized that a lot of the items I have come with interesting stories of their own, and they each hold some kind of significance in relation to my life.

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Kendra Barber

graphic designer @ a fin tech startup, grad student @ nyu, aspiring uxe