Saturday, July 12, 2014

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Oral culture, new media, memes, and porn

That's hysterical, Dragan. Your preservation-via-meme approach reminds me of Olia Lialina's Last Real Net Art Museum--perhaps you are familiar with it? ;)

I'm also reminded of a comment made at the 2007 Berkeley symposium Rick organized that served as a starting point for our book. During the conference Long Now researcher Kurt Bollacker suggested that digital archivists could learn from the porn industry, an early adopter of many revolutionary technologies (from VHS tapes to popup Web ads) that has somehow weathered the vagaries and quick precession of technological media.

While Bollacker's recommendation may have been flip, his conjecture may not be as outlandish as it sounds. We don't even have to rely exclusively on human agents; spambots already surf the Web for content and re-archive it in different places, albeit often in a mutated form. In an ironic example of this, I once received a Google Alert for a text of mine, but it turned out to be a blog created solely for the purpose of improving a commercial site's PageRank by remixing quotes about variable media to fool search engines that it was a legitimate site.

Of course, relying on the "Meme Economy" to preserve culture could skew the future's impression of the past. Digerati at Rick's conference like Stewart Brand and Kevin Kelly said plenty of useful things about new media and social memory, but Bollacker made the headlines because his quip was brazen:

"Porn Could Help Digital Archivists Preserve Art, Experts Say"

The Re-collection chapter on Unreliable Archivists asks whether relying on such a popularity contest risks leaving posterity a history consisting of Nigerian bank scams and Paris Hilton videos. I'll give away our conclusion: the digital dynamic of "both/and" offers a way out of the unsatisfactory choice between democracy and value.

Oh, and I amended the subject of this email to make it more likely to be archived by future spambots!

Re-collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory

Dragan Espenschied wrote:

> traditional audio or video interviews are no fit material for this type
> of circulation. They are rather 'mother copies' (Rinehart) from which one could
> generate items that can survive as digital-oral history. For example, the
> excellent re-coded pioneer works by Frieder Nake etc are fine as Processing or
> Javascript code, but they would be even better if the process of the creation of
> such an image would be published as a GIF animation. Only few users out there
> are using communication systems that enable them to post and execute Javascript,
> but they can post GIFs on tumblr, twitter, Google+ and so forth. When it comes
> to interviews, I would also consider to take the most striking phrases and
> publish them like this:
> <>
> <>
> Or the like :)

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