Oh how the invisible digital guides us.
I’m not one to sit around glossy eyed about days gone by. I also don’t want to be the person who weeps about how steps into the latest technologies parallel the race to make something that is functional obsolete. I will admit though, the idea that more and more things I enjoy are becoming more and more intangible is something that often gets my attention.
The most obvious example is music, right? I don’t want a disc of plastic any more than I want additional trash to recycle. And let’s face it, from the now grotesquely dispensable Compact Disc point of view, my value for the tangible medium barely lasts as long as a computer takes to rip it; after that its value to me is about as high as the plastic bag that lines my garbage can. Quite honestly, I don’t see a problem yet and I’m guessing most of you don’t either – uhhm, except maybe for sound quality.
In many ways, the liberation of media from format is welcomed. In a growing number of situations this means that we as the audience are also shifting the ways we can access certain works. The thing that makes it sketchy for me is the idea of losing a document that may not exist anywhere else other than the invisible digital. When works that could once be passed around in a variety of ways get those options stripped down to 0s and 1s, mediums slowly get multiplied by those zeros and the pluralism of formats ends up in the trash can with the disillusioned Compact Disc. Alright, maybe a bit dramatic but still. As a rambling, babbling tangent, it’s something that I’m going to keep on the brain. Feel free to let me know if I’m wasting grey matter. And all this from a few thoughts related to this article on how conventional value is applied to digital archives.
On a more useful note, let’s not ever let practicality outweigh common sense.