Floppy disk fever. The Curious Afterlives of a Flexible Medium – We Make Money Not Art

Floppy Disk Fever. The Curious Afterlives of a Adaptable Medium explores the curious afterlives of the floppy disk in the twenty-first century by interviewing individuals involved with the medium currently. It was edited by artist, musician and researcher Niek Hilkmann and graphic designer and researcher Thomas Walskaar. Published by Onomatopee.

Like quite a few folks, I had assumed that the practice of storing info inside a compact-ish beige or black plastic sq. was prolonged useless. I vaguely recall a time when they ended up glued to tech magazines but which is about it. Floppy Disk Fever, nevertheless, demonstrates that the presence of the obsolete medium in modern day tradition is ensured by a incredibly massive local community of fanatics, amateurs, artists and academics.

The book opens with an essay about the potential dangers and productive alternatives of nostalgia. Its writer is Lori Emerson, an Affiliate Professor in the English Section and Director of the Intermedia Arts, Writing, and Performance Method at the College of Colorado at Boulder as nicely as the Founding Director of the Media Archaeology Lab. That is the previous time you are going to read through from a girl in Floppy Disk Fever. The editors of the ebook admit that floppy disk enthusiasts come from many backgrounds but that the large bulk of them are gentlemen from Europe and the US. It was consequently challenging to mirror the whole spectrum of humanity in a publication dedicated to floppy fervour.

Even nevertheless there is a guy-cave vibe in these interviews, they are not about nostalgia, retro kitsch and ageing geekery. They are also about the up to date environment and the dematerialisation of most of our interactions with computing.

Pionierska Documents

Floppies waiting around to be shipped to clients of Floppydisk.com. Picture via Teknofilo

Niek Hilkmann, the key editor of the book, organises floppy-centred situations as portion of the Floppy Totaal pageant in Rotterdam. That is the place he to start with obtained in make contact with with numerous of the persons interviewed in this e-book. They are museum founders, archivists, artists, academics and amateurs and Hilkmann receives them to speak about the present-day use and artistic repurposing of the item.

The 3 most exciting interviews for me are the types with Tom Persky, Florian Cramer and Adam Frankiewicz.

Tom Persky, the founder of floppydisk.com, a corporation dedicated to providing and recycling floppies, discusses the worries of running his organization in the 2020s. That is where i learnt that some clinical equipment even now requires floppies to functionality.

Florian Cramer, a investigation professor at the Willem de Kooning Academy and Piet Zwart Institute, has been acquiring steps of intense compression in purchase to squeeze full flicks onto the 1.44 MB of floppy disks since 2009. In the interview, he talks about his fascination in performing with constraints and why his get the job done with floppies shatters the fantasy that electronic technology is digital and dematerialised.

Adam Frankiewicz is a theatre director and electronic tunes composer who founded an independent document label Pionierska Data in 2014 which publishes tunes solely on floppy disks.

Other floppy supporters include Clint Basinger who produces content material with obsolete tech on the Lazy Sport Overview YouTube channel Nick Gentry who makes use of floppies and other out of date media as uncooked content for art Foone Turing, a media collector and hacker who curated an exhibition on floppies at the Computer Heritage Museum in Fountain Look at Jason Curtis, a author, librarian and collector who established the Museum of Obsolete Media in 2006 Bart van den Akker, the founder of the Home Personal computer Museum Jason Scott, archivist at Internet Archive, filmmaker, performer and historian of tech.

They converse about their partnership with the demoscene and with retro culture, the disappearance of actual physical media, producing dollars from out of date tech, going via the trouble of combining old and new tech, the charm of “failed” formats, the interaction about aged and new, on line and offline, media archaeology, their value as cultural artefacts, etcetera.

Looking at the interviews did not flip me into a floppy aficionado but i could see the point of longing for a time when you could manipulate know-how and see how it worked.

P.S.: I learned 2 words in the reserve and seeking at them on the web sucked me into a vortex of interesting stories and anecdotes. The initial just one is Sneakernet, the transfer of digital data by physically transferring media (this kind of as floppy disks or USB flash drives) somewhat than transmitting it in excess of a computer system network. The next is skeuomorphs, a derivative object that retains ornamental design and style cues from their authentic-entire world counterparts. The trash bin icon on your computer, for illustration.

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