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Digital archaeology

My friend Darrelyn Gunzburg’s ‘scoop’ discovery and decoding of some early experiments in digital art by Andy Warhol (http://www.cassone-art.com/magazine/article/2011/10/nine-warhols-waiting/?psrc=perspectives) set me thinking. How many technologies have superceded each other in the first few decades of the digital age? How many hardwares and softwares have been replaced, only to be replaced yet again? This process doesn’t look likely to go away, and it suggeests an archaeology of the future, in which unlocking lost data formats is the key to understandin the past. I’ve even heard it said that no email is ever truly deleted; certainly in the era of the Cloud, everything is saved somewhere for ever. Servers blinking with invisible stratigraphies of I and O, waiting for a geek-Indiana Jones, a Pitt Rivers of Locoscript, to unlock them. And one day, people will look back to see when the discipline itself began to emerge. Perhaps this will be an early landmark of a whole new subject of study.

Yet they say nothing digital is ever

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