Fig. 1 – The New York Times Magazine Times Capsule Special Issue.

‘Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.’ 

Oliver Sacks, ‘Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain’


Fig. 2 – In 1977, in preparation for the launch of Voyager 2, two gold-plated copper discs were mounted on the exterior of the spacecraft.

Fig. 3 – Among inscriptions in the ‘Sounds of Earth’ time capsule are spoken greetings in 55 languages, recordings of Chuck Berry and Mozart, and the sound of a human kiss.

Fig. 4 – Instructions for playing the discs is etched in the gold cover plate.

Fig. 5 – Voyager 2 has traveled over 18.5 billion miles.

In 1999 The New York Times invited twenty-one designers and architects to make a proposal for a time capsule that would be opened in the year 3000. The jury selected Santiago Calatrava’s design for fabrication, and it is now mounted on a pedestal on the grounds of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. We were not interested in making a monumental object reliant on an institution to survive to the next millennium.


Instead we asked: How might one increase the odds of something small lasting a thousand years when institutions come and go?

Fig. 6 – Times Capsule proposal was conceived of an invitation for public participation that would appear as a series of full page ads in The New York Times.

Fig. 7 – Online transcript of The New York Times Magazine interview with Lindy Roy about the Times Capsule project.

Fig. 8 – Handprints of individual lottery winners are embossed into each capsule’s nickel exterior. Imprints provide a grip for subsequent generations when opening and adding content to the accumulating heirloom.

Fig. 9 – Norsam HD-Rosetta analog technology micro-mills millions of images of text in a few square centimeters on the nickel capsule. This nanoscale content is read by microscope requiring no digital translation.

Fig. 10 – The Times Capsule is explained in a series of full page ads in The New York Times calling for public participation.


New York, USA




The New York Times Magazine

Project Team:

Lindy Roy with Anthony Burke


The New York Times


Gerald M. Edelman, The Remembered Present: A Biological Theory of Consciousness (Basic Books, 1990)


Joachim M. Fuster, Cortex and Mind (2005)


Andy Clark and David Chalmers, ‘The Extended Mind’, Analysis 1998, v. 58, n. 1 (Oxford University Press)


A. R. Luria, The Mind of a Mnemonist (1968)

Ref. 1 - Ancestral Eastern Shoshone handprints eroded into soft sandstone stone of the White Mountain in Wyoming 1,000-1,800 CE.

Ref. 2 - Norsam HD Rosetta micro-mills data into a range of substrates including optical fiber and various metals.