Reading response A

Reading Response A

An excerpt from 'Reliability':
Conversation 2 of 3
From “Vacuuming and Digesting,” a fall conversation series at Yale about interactive design
November 28, 2017, 1:30pm
Yale School of Art, EIK (32 Edgewood Ave)

Ayham Ghraowi: Institutions like the Internet Archive put such a significance on the idea of documenting and preserving the web because it’s something that's changing, this includes unsolvable problems like links breaking or web pages being taken down. It is a significant project to try to preserve that. How does this affect the relationship of being online? For example, sometimes screenshots of events that happened are important—so that it's preserved and documented so it can be referred to, maybe in a legal situation, or something more subtle.

More importantly, how does the documentation affect the work that you're interested in and making? We should talk about anxieties related to either your work being ephemeral or the possibility of losing the material. Or, is there greater anxiety that instead of being wiped away, all of it will be preserved? (I think this is especially relevant in this program. Particularly in regards to the thesis book's idea of reflecting and preserving the two years we're here, and having a legacy and putting that in the library.) Is there a greater concern of losing it all or preserving it in a library?

Then there are questions of what should be preserved. What is valuable? What do you consider a publication? So far, we are calling a publication “something that was made intentionally public.”

Institutions like the Internet Archive aren't really concerned with publications, because they have this general idea of wanting to preserve and document everything. But national archives are more intentional about what specifically is valuable.

What does it mean to archive something that is constantly changing? What are the strategies? Is there a difference between documenting or screenshotting the surface of what you see versus preserving the code or the structure? What’s primary and what’s secondary? What's the difference between medium and content of the web? When do websites contain the content and when are they themselves the content?

I don't think we'll answer all of these questions, but they all have something to do with each other. I think we're also interested in how these questions relate to everyone's work and practice.

Response: I remember when I reached my teenage years my father showed me his archive of videos of us growing up that he took with his VHS-C Camcorder. He had documentations of us three kids growing up from being born until I would say around 11 years old when he kind of stopped doing it. Of course I did not remember the days of my 3-year-old self, so I enjoyed watching those videos a lot. Especially the ballet recitals. I cherished them so much and so as my Father. As the year goes, he started converting these tapes to a more current format at that time and saved them in the computer’s hard drive. It then became easier for us to access them and to watch them once in a while. Watching those videos were a crowd pleaser during family gatherings, like Christmas and Easter. Until one day after I had left for college, the family computer broke down. Hundreds of our cherished videos that my Father had archived were vanished just ‘like that!’

It made me think and reflect on the importance and best ways to archive my work and to be aware with the updates of modern technology and the internet.