Dedd Pixel

Tag: archeology

Obsolescent

by on Sep.02, 2013, under Art, General

Rhizome.org and the New Museum are offering artists the opportunity to recover their art that is currently stuck on obsolete media before it is too late.  Through September 8th, they’re offering transfers from archaic storage such as floppy disks to a more stable format with the option to transfer them to the Internet Archive as well.

The art world has always had to deal with the issue of preservation but the severity of the issue is intensified by magnitudes for the born-digital materials.  This is not just true for art, but for other documents that made hold historical value.  In a world where it is so easy to Select All and Delete, how do we ensure that our history will be preserved?  Is it up to the digital archeologists of the future to comb through caches and log files to piece together the remnants of history forgotten?  I’ve had several desktop computers die on me and their carcasses sit dormant in the basement.  I simply re-installed the software on my new computers but the images, papers, and other memorabilia lie lost on those hard drives.  The exact makeup has long been forgotten so who knows when and if I’ll ever get around to recovered what was on those old drives.

In the age of the smartphone snapshot, how much digital history is banished before it can be preserved?  We snap away in our smartphone cameras and pick and choose what gets posted to our social media circles.  How many interesting beautiful cast-aways never see the light of a computer screen?  How many memories are forgotten when we upgrade our phone?  Physical prints are rarely created by the average person anymore, so how much family history will be lost in private Flickr accounts or locked down Facebook albums when someone passes away?  Is the age of stumbling across your grandparent’s old family album fading away?

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