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Dead medium: Definitions and Connections
From: (Patrick Lichty) Bruce,

Regarding the recent discussion of taxonomies and rationales evoked by Richard Kadrey's Note 22.7, I'd like to add a few thoughts.

When examining my own rationale for my participation in the DMP, I find my reasons are very tightly linked to my own personal context. My wife is a historian, which has instilled in me a respect for histories, their construction, and their preservation. Therefore, the DMP (for me) is about the loss and degradation of cultural memory and the importance of recording these sites of disappearance. The subtext of the DMP is then one of an 'angst' or 'feeling of loss' about the destruction of social records in the form of dead media. In Dead Media Project, we question the destruction of information and its possible ramifications on all cultures.


The DMP has definitely been at times a study in obscurity, while more banal topics have been passed over for the less obvious. This fits with the admittedly 'obsessive' qualities of the project. I see the Working Notes as a series of source references to guide the author(s) of the mythical "Dead Media Handbook," which is a Holy Grail of mine, if I could ever get free of my commitments... The Working Notes, then, should attempt to include any and all relevant devices in order to allow the widest scope of possibilities.

And that leads to my definition of "medium." A medium is a technique or device employed for the recording or transmission of information between two (or more) human beings, or agents in the service of humanity, such as computers. A "medium" can also reprocess the information, such as the Enigma machine once did, but nevertheless, the device must communicate some form of data from locus (time, space) A to locus B.

Given this definition, I question the classification of 'instruments' as 'media.' The thermometer or micrometer are devices that allow interpretation of phenomenological data through human-defined standards. They are tools of interpretation, not mediated communication.

What is the vital difference between the Astrolabe and the Digital Computer? The Astrolabe functioned as a navigational, interpretive tool, whereas the computer was (and is) used not only in this fashion, but also as a communications medium. The computer is a processor, conveyor, and interpreter of information through the use of programmed code. I hope that this finesses arguments as to whether we should look at the hard drive, modem, monitor, and floppy disk as separate "media" and discount the computer itself.

I hope that these have been valid points, and I hope my fellow Necronauts will pick my comments to death.

Patrick Lichty (