Digital Ephemera: Tears in Rain

I’ve been reading Jason Scott’s guestblog over at BoingBoing. He’s got an interesting project, to try to preserve as much as possible of old-school BBS content. I appreciate this, as the operator of an old BBS back in high school. I used to work on a local Fidonet node here before the Internet was widely available. (I think it was 424:10.1 if I can recall properly. It was a long time ago.)

It’s interesting work to try to preserve the throwaway relics of digital culture, and this morning I recalled a conversation I once had with Duncan Forbes, the excellent UK musician otherwise known as Spooky (no, not Spooky, That Subliminal Kid. Forbes is the original Spooky). I asked him what equipment he used to make Gargantuan, which has to be one of the best house records ever made, and to my surprise, he said it was mostly done on an old-school Atari ST.

I wonder if Duncan Forbes has the original files he used to make Gargantuan. Hell, I can’t even get my hands on a copy of the CD. Which got me to thinking about how much digital ephemera we “throw away” or erase without even thinking about.

Source files from Quark, Illustrator or Freehand in graphics, or Cakewalk, ProTools or Acid files for music. Not to mention all the digital pictures we’re all taking these days.

Somewhere in the basement I have a box of floppy disks with my older work. Books I’ve designed, covers of Prognosis, even the source files to an art installation I had. I don’t even know if the floppies are readable, and even if they were readable, how I could get hold of a copy of Freehand 1 or Illustrator 88 to open the files. So they stay in the basement, waiting for the PhD student who will come to study my life to make sense of it all 😉

In the climactic scene of Blade Runner, Rutger Hauer’s character, nearing his end, recalls some of the amazing things he’s seen.

“All these things will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: