While upstate over the holiday, I did some excavating and archiving of old art* and other things when I could find time. Often late at night, when the house was quiet. The first night followed time spent watching old super 8 home movies from childhood. A natural progression, and something I’d planned to do this trip.
When I was in college my friends and I didn’t have our own phones, so we’d put sheets of paper on our doors for people to leave notes on. Inevitably some of them became elaborate volleys back-and-forth; sometimes we made random shit just for fun, or to say Hi to stick on each other’s doors.
We also wrote letters through the mail during summers apart because: 1. The cost of “long distance” calls added up quickly, 2. We were all about visuals (what would delight and impress?), and 3. The letters were things made just for you, delivered right to your mailbox.One thing that physical (analog) v. digital (instant) media has thrown into relief: When you know the recipient will not get your letter for days, and it’s already been days or more since they wrote you, you think about what will still be relevant by the time they read it. This tends to eliminate a majority of small talk.
What I mean is you tend to write about what’s important.
I’m thankful for paper and its ilk. You can’t very well expect to go rooting through an attic at some point in future and run across your old Instagram or Facebook feeds, for example. Write some letters. Print photos on real photo paper. Keep books, notebooks, cards, whatever— actual artifacts.
So much of what I unearthed from the attic would have been lost; there was so much I didn’t remember until I set eyes on it.
Physical media lasts forever compared to what they’re peddling now. The ‘cloud’ and most digital file formats are continually changing; hard drives fail, etc. Like paper, the super 8 reels and their simple, mechanical projector have proven more reliable over time than all video formats of the last few decades.
The cloud is unreliable over the long term; it’s insecure; and you have to pay monthly for storage and access to your own memories. Fuck the cloud!
*More old art will be forthcoming at intervals.