Reliability


Conversation 2 of 3
From “Vacuuming and Digesting,” a fall conversation series at Yale about interactive design
November 28, 2017, 1:30pm
Yale School of Art, EIK (32 Edgewood Ave)
‘Reliability’

Part 1. Preservation
Suggested reading: Jill Lepore, “The Cobweb” (2015)

Part 2. Primary or secondary
Suggested reading: Alexander Galloway, "Jodi’s Infrastructure” (2016)

Speakers (in order of appearance):
Dan Michaelson (Critic), Ayham Ghraowi (Fellow), Simone Cutri (Graphic Design ’19), Nilas Andersen
(Graphic Design ’18), Bryce Wilner (Graphic Design ’18), Laurel Schwulst (Critic), Matt Wolff (Graphic
Design ’18), Nate Pyper (Graphic Design ’18), Rosa McElheny (Graphic Design ’19) 

(...)

(Bryce)

That's a serious question, though, because I've heard stories of people archiving family photos. I forget the name of this one service, but it was used for archiving huge amounts of photos,
and many people would use it for photos of their children. It went down for about a whole year, and people had no idea if they would get their photos back.
For a lot of people, that service was their only storage. I’m super unsatisfied with leaving all of my work on Dropbox, so I try to do a combination. I do use Dropbox, but I also back up on a hard drive as well.

(Jinu)

I only use a hard drive unless it is so urgent that I don't have enough time to plug it in and move stuff in it. And I feel it is more safe.

(Ayham)

Because, naturally, you’re very concerned about losing all of your work.

(Bryce)

Yeah, for sure. I assume I will have researchers. Well, I hope I have researchers, and I want them to be able to access that stuff.

(Jinu)

I am kind of very concerned about it. But ironically, like.. I am quite stressed backing up some process, not a finalized one, even though I know for sure that I am not going to revisit all the things.
Similar to a moving out situation. You keep debating to yourself whether you should box these shirts or throw them away.

(Matt Wolff)

Do you scan your own journals? Do you take whatever you have tangible and make a digital file?

(Bryce)

Whenever I use my computer, I feel like I’m constantly archiving everything I’m doing. I’m taking screenshots all the time of whatever I’m working on.
And I’m putting writing into my journal, but also some of that goes into Are.na and some of it goes into the notes on my computer.

(...)

(Laurel)

This makes me wonder: are any of you looking at previous theses in the library? Maybe as models or as counter-models? They might help you to imagine the time leap.
You might begin to consider your thesis in the future, like, "When someone approaches my thesis in 15 or 50 years, I want them to have this feeling."

(Jinu)

No. Usually never.

(Nilas)

I haven't looked at anything.

(Ayham)

I notice it's happening less and less now.

(Nilas)

Someone told me that my undergraduate teacher once used one of my projects for her teaching.
I actually really didn't like that teacher—we had a bad relationship—so I think that's weird that she's allowed to show my work. I had no control over the work that was made at the school.
The school legally owns it. Matt: That's the case with most universities, right? With most archives, once you give your work to the institution, you've relinquished the ability to sort of go back in and edit or touch.

(Jinu)

Yeah. It happened to me when I studied architecture too.

(Ayham)

I don't know what it’s like here, but at my undergraduate art school they made it explicit to us that they have the right to keep the work if they want as well as to document it, catalog it, preserve it, and publish it.

(Nate)

I think that's a good question, too. What do we give up when we archive or when we compile our archives?
We think about the bureaucracy and structures that have come before and are built to carry permission but don’t necessarily have our best interests in mind.
When is it appropriate to resist the archive?

(...)

(Nilas)

I think there's also another level to it, and I think that’s what Laurel was talking about—context clues. If you’re very serious about the context of your work,
you might be concerned when the internet picks and chooses which specific parts it likes of your work, and that’s what is dispersed and circulated through all these different circuits,
and often the context is totally lacking because the description was lost. There’s not three images—there’s just that one that looked the coolest or was most interesting for some people.

(Ayham)

Ideally, the content—or context—is also part of that image. The way you describe it, which is typical, is that the image that is made public is only the image of the posters.
In a way, the context of the work should always be trailing behind it. It should be attached to it in some way, conceptually at least.

(Jinu)

I totally agree with that the images on the internet have to do something with the context of work, and the thing is that it is the publisher who made up a series of images to be uploaded.
So they need to live with the uncertainity of the internet and may predict which image will be picked, ideally speaking.

(Simone)

I don't know if you all know about it, I don't know who runs it, but there is this Tumblr…

(Ayham)

Everyone always describes it that way, “I don't know who runs it, but there’s this Tumblr...”

(Dan)

One of the people who said that actually runs it.

(Simone)

…where everything has a tag, “Yale Graphic Design.” Sometimes with your name, other times not.

(Nilas)

Most of the time without a name.

(Jinu)

I would prefer with a name. Why not? We are a member of here obviously. Someone who wants to define me as something shown up first when I was googled will keep doing it and I cannot help it.
And others who won't will keep doing so. Those concerns sound like just being alternatively happy and miserable for me.

(Laurel)

There are good things and bad things about that blog. We’ve talked among ourselves about it as perpetuating an image-heavy reputation of Yale.
Also, if you are someone like Nilas—who’s not going to put an image of himself out there in the world—other people will.
And when you Google “Nilas Andersen,” the second or third result will be the Yale Graphic Design Tumblr, which could be cool, depending on how you look at it.
But is that the way you want to be defined? Personally, I’ve flip-flopped on this so much. But at the end of the day, I decided, “Well, no one so far is making a Wikipedia page for Laurel Schwulst,
so I’m going to just put the image I want right now so I can steer my course. People can see where I’m going and work with that vision.”

(...)


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