in announcements, Language

“Forgotten” vs “Unsupported”

East Village film-maker Ethan Minsker recently asked me a few questions for his zine on the theme of “obsolete technology.”
Ethan Minsker: What is the importance of maintaining and using forgotten technologies? 
 A: We have forgotten the technology that built Stonehenge or Pumapunku, which is why they are mysterious. We run the risk (I hope that we will!) of forgetting how to build a nuclear reactor, which is why Obama and Cameron want to build new ones while the experienced engineers are still alive.We have NOT forgotten about old media. We still have the machines. We still have the parts. We still have the manuals. We still have the tapes. Old media are not forgotten; they are simply “unsupported.” Sony, RCA, Philips and Pana-sonic just don’t make the parts anymore. And many warehoused parts were destroyed in the 2004 and 2011 Asian tsunamis. The playback machines are doomed. Yet, so much remains on old media! The situation is truly urgent and artists need to know that whatever isn’t converted in the next few  years will be lost, probably irreversibly. I trust that artists know, or have friends and supporters who know, about important tapes that are out there in their studios and closets. I believe in creating opportunities for those important tapes to be saved, and seen, to find a new audience, and to take their place in art history
Also includes brief interviews with Berlin’s Hit & Run Kino, Hoboken’s Think Tank, and with cassette distributor, Jude Noel, and more. Plus stories of VHS and Beta, taping the radio on a 1/4″ and making mixtapes on cassettes… and PINBALL!
Read the whole issue here.
Matt Geller, Potato Wolf

Matthew Geller answering phones during the live call-in segment of Cara Perlman’s End of the World show, produced for Potato Wolf, a project of Colab TV, ca. 1978

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