Kyle and Dylan have an open discussion of the pains of debugging code and the lack of permanence of online content. Also: Jeremy Keith hates Yahoo, the death of the news media, the Library of Alexandria, and Statgirl lets us down.
Tagged with “preservation” (33)
Right now, all over the world, projects are underway to store seeds. Biodiversity has plummeted in the last 50 years, and scientists fear climate change will kill varieties of apples, yams and many fruits and vegetables. Dick talks with seed collectors.
Dick speaks with Brewster Kahle, who is collecting copies of all the books he can from around the world.
Archivists were once the people who managed and preserved our records. They were the ones you turned to first if you needed information.
But in an environment where documents are now just a mouse click away how do archivists ensure they remain relevant in the 21st century? We talk about data systems, preservation and relevancy in the modern world of the archivist – the record keeper.
The Australian Society of Archivists assisted Future Tense in attending the Recordkeeping Roundtable workshop. They had no role in editorial or content decisions relating to this program.
Lazar Kunstmann, Jon Lackman: Preservation without Permission: the Paris Urban eXperiment - The Long Now
Their video showed clandestine urban “infiltration” (trespassing) at its most creative. Paris’s Urban Experiment group (UX), now in their fourth decade, have a restoration branch called Untergunther. They evade authorities to carry out secret preservation projects on what they call “nonvisible heritage.”
Being clandestine, they do not reveal their activities except for instances that become publicized in the media; then they reveal everything to set the record straight (and embarrass the media along with the authorities). In the video presented by Untergunther member Lazar Kunstmann and translator Jon Lackman, we see a hidden underground screening room and bar beneath the Trocadero in Paris’s Latin Quarter. When police discover it and shut it down, the equipment is surreptitiously removed to a site deeper in the city’s vast network of underground passages, where film showings continue to this day. One year the group’s annual film festival was staged and performed overnight in one of Paris’s great monuments, the Panthéon, built in 1790. In the video (excerpt here) we see a small boy slipping through newly crafted underground passageways, picking a lock, opening the cupboard with all the Panthéon‘s keys, and gliding on his skateboard beneath the great dome across the ornate marble floors by Foucault’s original pendulum as film enthusiasts set up a temporary theater and have a clandestine film festival—-gone without a trace by dawn.
Elsewhere in the Panthéon the explorers found a neglected old clock displaying stopped time to the public. In 2005 they decided to repair it. They converted an abandoned room high in the monument into a clock shop and hangout. With clockmaker (and UX member) Jean-Baptiste Viot they spent a year completely reconditioning the 1850 works of the clock. Now that it worked again, they thought it should keep time and chime proudly, but someone needed to wind it. They approached the Director of the Panthéon, Bernard Jeannot, who didn’t even know that the monument had a clock. At first dumbfounded, Jeannot publicly embraced the project and applauded Untergunther.
Jeannot’s superiors at the Centre des Monuments Nationaux accordingly fired him (early retirement) and brought suit against Untergunther. The court determined that fixing clocks is not a crime, and in France trespassing on public property is, in itself, not a crime. Case dismissed. Spitefully, the new Director of the Panthéon has made sure the clock remains unwound, and he disabled it by removing an essential part.
Lazar Kunstmann explained (through Jon Lackman) Untergunther’s perspective on cultural heritage, particularly “minor” heritage—-the countless objects that embody cultural continuity but don’t attract institutions to protect them. Who is responsible for such “nonvisible” heritage? The protectors should be local, self-appointed, and nonvisible themselves, because exposure of the value of the objects attracts destructive tourists. Preservation without permission works best without visibility.
Since 2005, Untergunther’s new precautions against discovery have successfully kept its ongoing preservation projects hidden. As for the Panthéon clock, that essential part the Director removed to disable it has been purloined to safekeeping with Untergunther. Someday authorities may allow the clock to tick again. In the meantime it is in good repair.
— by Stewart Brand
When we think of cultural artifacts, we often think of objects – a painting, a book, or a Clock. But perhaps not all artifacts take tangible form: can the ideas that inspired such objects be considered cultural artifacts, too? And if so, how can we save these for future generations?
Hans Ulrich Obrist answers that first question with a resounding ‘yes’ – and offers an answer to that second one, as well. The swiss-born curator and art historian has been working on a project of cultural preservation – but rather than collect objects, he is capturing ideas as they materialize in conversation. Part art project, part oral history, and part exercise in the workings of memory, the Interview Project is an effort “to preserve the voices of the world’s artists and innovative thinkers of the last 50 years in a digital archive.”
Through a series of “sustained conversations” with influential figures from the worlds of art, science, and culture, Obrist seeks to do more than just document the important ideas that drive today’s culture: he hopes to capture their dynamic and transformative nature. Focusing on how ideas are born and recreated through dialogue, the Interview Project explores the role of time, evolution, and global connections in shaping human culture and innovation.
As part of this project, Obrist recently interviewed Danny Hillis, co-chair of the Long Now Foundation’s board of directors. In a public event organized in conjunction with the Institute for the 21st Century, a Los Angeles-based initiative that works to archive Obrist’s interviews, he and Hillis spoke about the ideas that inspired Long Now’s 10,000-year clock, and the cultural evolution it hopes to encourage.
Discussing the convergence of science, technology, and art, their conversation (which you can listen to here) illustrates that no cultural artifact emerges in a vacuum. New ideas are born from those that came before, and go on to inspire others in return. Culture is carried by, and created through, the dynamic exchange of conversation. “Knowing something is so 20th century,” says Hillis in the interview, speaking about the pre-internet age, in which a person’s knowledge was the sum of what his memory could hold. Today more than ever, in a world where billions of bits of digital information can be accessed at the tap of a finger, human knowledge and culture reside in our global network of exchange. And just as Hillis’ Connection Machine proved that linking processors together can transform the capability of computers, so can the connection of ideas produce unprecedented opportunities for new cultural creation. The Clock of the Long Now grew from the convergence of ideas that inspired its creators, and will hopefully contribute to the development of many new ideas and directions in the future.
Singer-guitarist Roger McGuinn, best known as leader of The Byrds, is a folk-rock pioneer. Since the group disbanded, McGuinn has pursued a solo career, and also created the Folk Den Project, an online database of traditional songs he records.
Most of us think nothing of putting our lives in the cloud; photos in Flickr, videos on YouTube, most everything on Facebook. But what about when those services abruptly go away, taking all of our collective contributions with them? Well Jason Scott operates on the assumption that everything online will one day disappear. He explains to Bob why he and the Archive Team are dedicated to saving user-generated content for posterity.
GUESTS: Jason Scott
HOSTED BY: Bob Garfield
A presentation about history, networks, and digital preservation, from the Webstock conference held in Wellington, New Zealand in February 2012.
Our perception and measurement of time has changed as our civilisation has evolved. That change has been driven by networks, from trade routes to the internet. Now that we have the real-time web allowing instantaneous global communication, there’s a danger that we may neglect our legacy for the future. While the web has democratised publishing, allowing anyone to share ideas with a global audience, it doesn’t appear to be the best medium for preserving our cultural resources: websites and documents disappear down the digital memory hole every day. But we can change that. This presentation will offer an alternative history of technology and a fresh perspective on the future that is ours to save.
April 2011: Friendster announces they would delete their entire database of user photos, posts, and profiles. This was met with an outcry from long-lost members who were not ready to let go of that part of their digital lives. Like Geocities before them, Friendster has a rather contemporary dilemma: what happens when you’re responsible for thousands of digital memories?
With so much of our lives experienced digitally, the stories we tell and the lives we construct online have become increasingly tied to our real life selves. Our ‘digital self’ has a memory; one made up of wall posts, status updates, photos, and blogs (or more precisely, data). What happens when these online artifacts are deleted or lost? How much worth do we assign to these digital memories, and what does it mean to lose them forever?
This not only affects us as individuals, but also has ramifications for understanding and preserving our current cultural and historical moment. Future generations will only have the digital memories we preserve to learn about us; what will archaeologists say when they find a world without Facebook? With such a disposable way of documenting our lives, have social networks set us up for cultural extinction?
Using Geocities and Friendster as case studies, this panel will explore the issues and possible solutions to the loss of digital memory on both a personal and cultural level.
Alexis Rossi, Web Collections Mgr, Internet Archive
Alexis is on her second tour of duty at Internet Archive, working on a program to archive the entire Internet and thinking about questions like "what does ‘the entire Internet’ mean?" and "do we really want it ALL?" Alexis currently manages Internet Archive collections work for every type of media (audio, video, web, texts), and runs the Wayback Machine project. Alexis previously managed the Open Library project from 2006-2008.
Alexis has been working with Internet content since 1996 when she discovered that being picky about words in books was good training for being picky about data on computers. She spent several years managing news content at ClariNet (the first online news aggregator), worked as the Editorial Director at Alexa Internet, and as Product Manager at Mixercast. Alexis has a Masters of Library and Information Science, concentrating on web technologies and interfaces, and enjoys making jewelry, dancing, costuming, and baking Cookie Smackdown-winning cookies.
Brian Fitzpatrick, Engineering Mgr, Google Data Liberation Front
Brian Fitzpatrick started Google’s Chicago engineering office in 2005, and currently leads Google’s Transparency Engineering team, which uses data to help protect free expression and free speech on the web. He also founded and leads Google’s Data Liberation Front, a team that systematically works to make it easy for users to move their data both to and from Google (e.g. via Google Takeout). He serves as both thought leader and internal advisor for Google’s open data efforts and has previously led the Google Code and The Google Affiliate Network teams.
Prior to joining Google, Brian was a senior software engineer on the version control team at CollabNet, working on Subversion, cvs2svn, and CVS. He has also worked at Apple Computer as a senior engineer in their professional services division, developing both client and web applications for Apple’s largest corporate customers. Brian has been an active open source contributor for over thirteen years. After years of writing small open source programs and bugfixes, he became a core Subversion developer in 2000, and then the lead developer of the cvs2svn utility. He was nominated as a member of the Apache Software Foundation in 2002 and spent two years as the ASF’s VP of Public Relations. He is also a member of the Open Web Foundation. Brian has written numerous articles and given many presentations on a wide variety of subjects from open data to version control to software development, including co-writing "Version Control with Subversion" (now in its second edition) as well as chapters for "Unix in a Nutshell" and "Linux in a Nutshell."
Brian has an A.B. in Classics from Loyola University Chicago with a major in Latin, a minor in Greek, and a concentration in Fine Arts and Ceramics. Despite growing up in New Orleans and working for Silicon Valley companies for most of his career, he decided years ago that Chicago was his home and stubbornly refuses to move to California.
Dana Herlihey, Production Coord, Community Mgr, Stitch Media Inc
A lover of all things digital, Dana Herlihey has been working in new media since she was 15 years old, co-pioneering what was Canada’s first online entertainment magazine ‘for teens by teens’. Following an adolescence filled with red carpet interviews, she attended McMaster University, earning a combined honors degree in Multimedia and Cultural Studies. She later spent a year in Geneva, Switzerland working as a Webmaster and digital communications assistant for the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.
As Stitch Media’s Production Coordinator she has managed large interactive teams for projects such as Redress Remix and Showcase’s Drunk and On Drugs: Happy Funtime Hour. She has also led social media campaigns for Stitch Media, recently winning a 2011 Digi Award for Best in Digital Advertising (Drunk and Drugs: Happy Funtime Hour).
Duncan Smith, Programmer-Archivist, Archive Team
I’ve spoken previously about international toll-free telephone number routing and about the history of public works in Seattle. Now, I speak about how we preserve history when those to whom we entrust it show all signs of having abdicated that responsiblity.
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