Time Capsule Captures Messages For Future Pittsburghers

Aug 9, 2019

More than 1,200 people delivered their messages for the future as part of the Pittsburgh Time Capsule project this summer. A highlight video with excerpts from the public art project was released this week.

The Pittsburgh Time Capsule -Short 1 from toby fraley on Vimeo.

The yellow-colored time capsule resembles a utility box. It will be cracked open in 2120.

The project was created by local artist Toby Fraley, who said his motive for the project was to capture the life and thoughts of Pittsburghers in 2019.

"This is kind of our way of reaching out into the future, and just directly telling the people like, this is me," Fraley said. "And this is what I'm thinking right now."

He said people were more open with their messages than he expected, and the project has been a lot heavier than he anticipated.

“I thought because being in Pittsburgh, it was going to be a lot of, ‘Go Steelers, Go Pirates, Go Penguins,” Fraley said. “There was a little bit of that, but politics and the environment quickly rose to the top as messages that people felt like we need the future to know this is the time that we live in. This is what's really bothering us right now.”

A handful of participants included in a highlight video as part of the Pittsburgh Time Capsule project.
Credit Toby Fraley

Each participant had one minute to leave their message. They delivered them during the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June. 

Any participant that did not want their footage seen will have their submission permanently sealed for 100 years. Fraley was the only person who saw the videos during the editing process.

He said he hopes the highlight video gives people a moment to reexamine the world they live in.

“You're not alone and your concerns … I think sometimes we feel kind of isolated, like why isn't this bothering the rest of the world, but your neighbors [may be] thinking the same thing,” Fraley said.

The collected messages will be stored in two time capsules: one entrusted to the Mayor’s Office of Pittsburgh and the other kept with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.