DIGITAL FREEZE COOPERATION
Audio Foundation Auckland · LTK4 Köln 2020/21
DIGITAL VEGETATIVE STATE
While hardware becomes obsolete or dies, data tends to stay preserved without being corrupted and – at least theoretically – can be resurrected. This process does not necessarily have to happen by taking giant leaps (e.g. analogue – digital), but can already kick in when there are just some minor changes: an extensive update, a groundbreaking new software, a more showy new mobile phone or a computer with increased processing power can instantly send large volumes of data into a digital vegetative state. This data might remind us of its existence, but it no longer speaks to us.
This moment, which can be the result of a whole variety of motivations, is the first step towards the DIGITAL FREEZE. Be it sheer laziness or carelessness (initially, we might still be able to recover the data with relatively little effort), accident or miscalculation regarding the quality of the data: accessing it becomes increasingly difficult the more time passes, ultimately resulting in a home-made locked-in syndrome of images, texts, music and communication.
Leaving the analogue world has undoubtedly created the biggest (and most collective)
DIGITAL FREEZE, where masses and masses of photographs, documents and files, records, sound tapes and analogue media of any kind were banished to no idea where. This point in time might have been gigantic when it comes to volumes but it was nonetheless manageable and as such comprehensible, conceivable and thus controllable. During each subsequent DIGITAL FREEZE the enormous increase in data volume also comes into play as the x variable. As recently as the 1970s, man flew to the moon with the data capacity of a simple Atari computer. Pac man would not have come along and we ourselves lack the imagination to do so. Digital data weighs next to nothing, it can be hidden in folders that all look the same and which are, for the most part, stored in state of maximum dis/order as the search for it, initially, appears so easy. Due to the constant change and evolution, we are only really able to develop a feel for data quantities in our respective, present now. Looking back or even ahead is almost impossible.
To date, the story of a personal DIGITAL FREEZE cannot really be told as a universally valid story as the content of the quantities of data is at least as diverse as the individual quantities of data quantity. And therefore it offers an outstanding platform for a (digital) artistic exploration of hard and software with regard to culture and its protagonists.
This is where the DIGITAL FREEZE COOPERATION comes in: be it performative or creative, creating sound or manifesting in something material, be it human or machine made: the common thread is the frozen data and its resurrection is the artistic process. What results from this is the perceptibility of the DIGITAL FREEZE COOPERATION and the discourse about it as a transformation into a new state of matter.
During the course of this, loss and transience of data/information (of the cultural kind) does by no means take centre stage, rather do we focus on the treatment and interpretation of the ‘old’ from the point of view of a new era and with new means of production. In extreme cases this might resemble the discovery of some hieroglyphs which, a thousand years later, is transferred into a new world with the help of great many assumptions, statements and interpretations. The individual artistic approach develops or rather arises from the initially private or highly personal starting situation towards a universal etiquette. At the end of the process lies a kind of DIGITAL FREEZE CANON, which contains the biggest imaginable multitude of approaches and configurations.