Roberto Verzola on 6 Oct 2000 00:34:13 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: FW: <nettime> books and cdroms


 >"permanence" and "archival quality" as relative properties. When was the
 >last time you were in a rare book reading room? Books more than two hundred
 >years old are generally extremely fragile, and books even in their
 >simplicity can be hard to use; for example, old folio tomes too big to

Imagine yourself in a rare CDROMs room 200 years from now, trying to
read one... In fact, which library today has a rare 8-inch or even
5.25 disk section?

 >that every book will perform its intended function better than a cdrom
 >performs its--there will be times when a cdrom, even with all the necessary
 >hardware and power sources, is used in such a way as to really justify
 >itself, to argue for its own worth as a medium.

I agree, there will be such times that a cdrom also justifies itself.

 >Okay, but as books get more and more high tech, they will also become
 >increasingly dependent on that same "stack of technologies." Even right

For production, yes, but not for reading, which is completely free
from dependence on any such stack of technologies.

We have to keep in mind that these are different. The final output of
the production process (the book) will likely remain readable,
regardless of changes in book production technologies (whether
hand-copied or laser-printed).

 >now, you may be able to read one in your lap, in daylight, without any
 >electronic interfaces. . . but you will have most likely used a computer to
 >look up the book in your local public library. And if a high tech material
 >such as the card-stock you mention is used, don't you think some magnetic
 >stripes will be installed along with it, just like on the calling card? So,
 >in the very future scenario you're imagining, in which books make use of
 >hard wearing materials, an electronic interface component is quite likely
 >to be included as well, which only introduces another "stack of
 >technologies"-dependent element even at the moment the object achieves a

The book's text is important, not these peripheral functions. You can
still read the book without them. These functions (index, search,
etc.) can always be reconstructed from the book itself, with whatever
current technology is available.

 >better. What I am interested in is exposing the false character of
 >obsolescence under capitalism. I happen to work with the field of (mostly)
 >textual information delivery because the technologies that constitute the
 >field display interesting ruptures and continuities--beginning with
 >writing, continuing through myriad forms of printing and photo processes,

I do agree with you about the false character of obsolesence under
capitalism. In this case however, they don't even need genuine
raptures in technology. They will simply create artificial ruptures to
shorten product lifetimes.


Roberto Verzola

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