Archival Fragments

Broken Edison

(open flatbed scan, sampled at 600dpi, downsampled to 96dpi)

"the electric light is pure information. it is a medium without a message, as it were." (mcluhan)
"the outformation age means the copies are more real than the original." (scoville)

call it (i/o)formation, then. a formation. a form.

"archivable meaning is also and in advance codetermined by the structure that archives." (derrida)

what is the formal structure of the archive in the digital age, the age of electricity and light-based fibre optics and copies proliferating to the point that file replaces filial?

what about the status of the part-copy, as with the bits of an email that travel different paths to a destination address or the various file fragments of a music torrent we will solicit from multiple peers?

is the swarm the anti-archive? (or, put differently, is it the archive?)
or is the swarm the new archon or "keeper" of the archive in its copies and part-copies?

does the "hermeneutic right" that belongs to the archon shift from one of interpreting a binary "truth" located inside or outside of the physical archive to one of interpreting a distribution curve of probabilities at event-thresholds variously located across the network?

does the swarm modulate the form of the archive from possessing a single point to multiple points of failure? if so, is there a corresponding change in power relations?

these are some of the questions that haunt memory and flow and impermanence and contemporary politics in the (i/o)formation age.


(open flatbed scan, sampled at 600dpi, downsampled to 96dpi)


2 responses to Archival Fragments

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  1. sportsBabel » The Politics of Memory says:

    [...] Yes, it would still be possible to border-cross the regime of striation that encodes my memory of bungee jumping by converting my videotape from PAL to NTSC (aside: is conversion qualitatively the same as translation, or do we need to distinguish between the two?). This cracking of the code, per se, constitutes the thrust of data piracy (or the refusal of intellectual property, depending on one's perspective) and the sharing of information across the network swarm. [...]

  2. sportsBabel » Proposition for an Exploded Foosball Table says:

    [...] Swarms followed the ball wherever it went on the pitch. The goal seemed important for everyone, some more than others. This community of artists, so soft in the rural setting of thought, collectively competed with aggression and abandon. There were aches and pains and even a minor injury. [...]