I’ve been thinking about some themes that we’ve touch on a couple times: what is and isnt the archivable. I wonder what is the un-meta-able? And where metadata is partially a function of query and index, can we have non-text metadata? I imagine a scenario in which a performance is the subject. It happens on certain date, at a certain place, at a certain time. How does one capture the metadata of mood of an audience? Potentially, I could have a field recording of an audience conversing moments before a performance as metadata. For me, it also comes back to this question of recordings being a capture of a performance or an event, and if these are even inseparable. Are the noises, the coughs, the hums, even the silences a part of performance. Who gets to decide this?

And even if that much is figured out, which parts of an event are to be recorded faithfully, how do we faithfully preserve audio. In the readings, we see degradation of the material the archival medium and thus a degradation on transfer, moving from one material to another.

Makes me think of a piece by a class mate of mine, which was an iteration from theĀ I am Sitting in a Room piece. He recorded his voice, played it back, and recorded the playback almost a dozen times over a variety of mediums (including recording the playback off of a soundsystem in a cafe!). What we get in return are the undulations of not only physical space, but the digital de/encoding process.

Digital Vocal Saturation //2018 by Parsons Senior Thesis

One Reply

  • Thank you, Iltimas. Your question abut the un-metadatable elements of a performance remind me of our recent Borgesian discussion about maps and territories: what are the dangers of trying to describe every conceivable dimension of a record? I think this would be a great topic to address today with Rachel! And thanks for sharing your friend’s thesis work; what a fabulous extension on of Lucier — a recognition that the archival record captures not only the spatial and environmental variables of the event, but also the material and technical variables of the recording medium!

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