Something fuzzy, fuzzily understood, a kind of halo around things, or people, or images of same. It may actually be there, or might be there but technologically induced, or may be a theoretical fiction.
Something done by machines or humans, when they make more of something, such as themselves, or things, or images.
Plural of datum. This means 'something given'. It is not used very much. There is always too much of it, and so it becomes data.
Archives have their own glossary. It includes terms such as access conditions, access points, accession, accruals, custodial history, digital surrogate, embedded image, epithet, fonds, holograph, item-level, Persistent Unique Identifier, processing information, subfonds, weeding. These vocabularies describe activities that the archive requires, that the archivist conforms to. They map old and new practice.
To archive something is to bring it into a new visibility, while also withdrawing it from its former connections.
Photography is an example of a fragile archiving mode. It is vulnerable to environment. It archives something else as well as itself. In 2003, and still in the archive that is the web, Kodak warn of the ‘Airport Baggage Scanning Equipment Can Jeopardize Your Unprocessed Film’ and ‘Suggestions for Avoiding Fogged Film’.
Aura is something that decays, is always decaying, but is not ever definitively gone, because it always threatens to return and because it is a strange weave of time and space, it might also be said to be a strange weave of this time, that space, and once we move to another time and another space, there is always the potential that new auras will arise. The past becomes auratic, distant, untouchable. The present, electronic, liquid crystal, close up, is all too touchable, our screens, on which our worlds of culture unfurl, at our fingertips. We will find our distance from it one day though. We will no longer to able to make the right gestures on the icy surface of the touchscreen. Our pinches and flicks will trigger the wrong things.
is a sibling, a kin, a something that tracks the other, closely, very closely, continuously. Analogue dogs.
is a word that contains the strange bedfellows art and fact and is often mis-spelt as artifact.
Cast is a word of various implications - we casts forms or shadows. We cast by throwing, broadly or narrowly. We cast out. Cast is something we do to make something else happen.
relates to seeds. Over long periods of time, casting seeds across ground became narrowcasting experimental materials, such as across radio waves, which later became broadcasting.
The machine ghosts of the algorithmic world never stop communicating through their new ethers, into their omniscient databases that claim even to predict the future.
Benjamin suggests that a return to the original articulation of thought might be productive for thinking, spinning new sense from old ideas. The telepathic communications of writing with your own hand, your own body, could recharge the deadened words with new significance. Perhaps the ideas have become external and to copy them out is a repossession that stimulates once more the place from whence they arrived. In any case, the physical act of writing is closely aligned here to the act of thinking. Grasping the truth, knowing that which is most intimate, seizing the future; in all this the hand is a political organ. The handwritten word expresses the world. Words had to pass though your mind, your body, your hand, completing a full circuit, from body into language, from language back through the body again. Benjamin did plenty of that himself for his Arcades Project, a pile up of hundreds of pages on which he transcribed quotations, occasionally supplemented by his own notes and marked with signs. He writes in One Way Street that the copied text takes over the “soul” of the copier and reveals newness in the self, “opened by the text”. Writing out another’s words turns the act of reading into a participation in the text’s otherness, which then alters the self, by submitting it to a constraint that is enabling rather than limiting. This constraint is the thought of an other.
Data is used by persons unknown.
Copy - as noun - something that looks very like, if not identical, to something else. Is a copy inferior? Is copy produced for a newspaper of lower quality, just something to fill the columns between the advertisements? It is possible to possess a copy - that is my copy, we can say. There may be something useful and heartening about being able to lay some sort of claim to a small reflection of a less touchable, less accessible original.
Through reproduction, mechanical modes of representation shatter coherence, projecting a fragment of a moment into future time and other spaces. Photography and film crack things up. They do this by dislodging what is apprehended from its time and space, its here and now. In severing the artistic conventions of originality and authorial creativity, they contribute to ‘a shattering of tradition’, as Walter Benjamin phrases it. And they shatter too, or may shatter, appearance, in order to reveal deeper, other, more essential forces at work in the world. The camera may slice through the surface appearance of everyday life, as does a surgical instrument through skin. In so doing, it contravenes the tendency of film to glide over surfaces, forcing what is represented to become, in Benjamin’s words, ‘its manifold parts being assembled according to a new law’. The world is ‘laid open’, in order to be entered, and viewers come away with an enhanced knowledge of the structure of actuality through exposure to this super-perceptive and analytical eye. Audiences penetrate the secrets contained even in very ordinary reality, once it has been fractured into shards. The world is as if of glass, shatterable. In being smashed, having passed through the glass of the camera, it releases meaning for us. The shattered articulation of what is, has been, will be scatters from itself another meaning.
the opposite of machine-made. In industrial machine labour, attention is corralled by the machine, of which the worker becomes a part, an appendage, as Marx and Engels term it, a part of the plant, which is a factory. Such was the vision of industrial labour presented by William Morris too, and it also informs its antithesis, the vision of future labour under liberated conditions. In ‘Useful Work versus Useless Toil’, from, 1884, Morris writes of how the worker of the future in a society of abundance would have ‘learned to take an interest and pleasure in handiwork which, done deliberately and thoughtfully could be made more attractive than machine work’. Deliberate action and thoughtful labour form the core of useful activity. These produce pleasure and interest, In ‘The Revival of Handicraft’ from 1888, Morris focuses the argument on the separation of production from consumption and notes of production in ‘the machine system’: 'Almost all goods are made apart from the life of those who use them; we are not responsible for them, our will has had no part in their production, except so far as we form part of the market on which they can be forced for the profit of the capitalist whose money is employed in producing them.'
In the non-hand-made, our will is absent, the worker’s will as much as the user’s or consumer’s.