[design] re: state of the archive


lauf-s wrote:

Michael asks,

it's called irony. you seemed to miss it.

but you also missed the biggest flaw in my statement. VHS tapes are
analog, not digital recordings, and are subject to natural deterioration
related to the instability of the medium, the oxide-coated plastic
ribbon that hosts the magnetic impression. while digital inscription has
a better chance for survival due to its dumb yes/no coding, analog depends on
the integrity of the coating, the binding, and the playback system.

a case in point was my attempt to salvage our university's analog video
recording of louis kahn's last lecture. i had to requisition a playback
machine from the junkyard to play the tape. after many failed attempts,
i sent the tape off to sony who promised to retrieve what they could,
and transfer it to VHS. sony was about as successful as i was: some 5
minutes of the lecture was salvaged, and kahn's image - sitting on a
wooden stool - fades away into history.

luckily, we had an analog audio tape of the same event. the words
remain, but kahn's visage is history.



--- Begin Message ---
  • From: Michael Kaplan <[email protected]>
  • Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 11:24:24 -0500
  • Subject: Re: [design] Fwd: state of the archive
lauf-s wrote:

Michael asks,

it's called irony. you seemed to miss it.

but you also missed the biggest flaw in my statement. VHS tapes are analog, not digital recordings, and are subject to natural deterioration related to the instability of the medium, the oxide-coated plastic ribbon that hosts the magnetic impression. while digital inscription has a better chance for survival due to its yes/no coding, analog depends on the integrity of the coating, the binding, and the playback hardware.

a case in point was my attempt to salvage our university's analog video recording of louis kahn's last lecture. i had to requisition a playback machine from the junkyard to play the tape. after many failed attempts, i sent the tape off to sony who promised to retrieve what they could, and transfer it to VHS. sony was about as successful as i was: some 5 minutes of the lecture was salvaged, and kahn's image - sitting on a wooden stool - fades away into history.

luckily, we had an analog audio tape of the same event. the words remain, but kahn's visage is history.


--- End Message ---
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  • Re: [design] re: state of the archive
    • From: Michael Kaplan
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