Heartbreak In the Digital Age, In Pictures

How many times have you wished getting over heartbreak was as simple as dragging a folder on your computer’s desktop to the recycle bin? Victoria Siemer’s “Human Error” series shows what these digital actions might look like — and the results are beautiful, and sad, and amazing, and all sorts of other things that probably extend well beyond the 21 emotions humans apparently have the capacity to express.

Siemer, a Brooklyn-based graphic designer, updates the series weekly on her Tumblr. Each image consists of a poignant photograph made even more heart-wrenching with the inclusion of an iOS-style dialogue window. From an approaching existential crisis to a prompt asking the viewer if they really want to “erase all feelings” (“this action cannot be undone,” it notes), they drive home exactly how difficult it can be to move on after emotional devastation — no matter how much we wish we could.

One of the things that makes the series so effective is quite subtle: The photos Siemer uses are all Polaroids, which she scans in and then edits. Pairing this older form of technology (who didn’t used to love watching a Polaroid develop right before their very eyes?) with the newer type seen through the iOS boxes offers what is probably the most stirring representation of love in the digital age I’ve ever seen. How do you reconcile a three-word text message with all of the feelings behind it? Why do we Facebook-stalk people who have ditched us? Why do we seem to communicate less than ever, in spite of all of the ways we have available to do so?

No matter how carefully we lay out our plans for the future, there’s no way to account completely for human error. But although we can’t fix our problems with the click of a button, at least we can rewrite the program if we need to.

Images: Victoria Siemer/Facebook