In this weird age of data, with the buzz and menace around it, the value of data is reliant on our ability to store it and process it. Ultimately, though, even our digital processes have material properties. We write to hard drives and transfer data over optical fiber, but we also compress information. This beautiful project by Claire L. Evans, Digital Decay, is an animation of saving an image continuously, over and over again, hundreds of times.
Beginning with a quote from Douglas Davis' essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction, Claire L. Evans' project is our generation's equivalent of Alvin Lucier's magnificent piece, I am Sitting in a Room, a haunting piece from 1969 that relied on the acoustics of a room to first reinforce and then destroy Lucier's voice.
This performance, and this process of decay is something that resonates, even now. From Patrick Liddell's YouTube homage to Lucier's piece, uploading and re-uploading the same video to YouTube a thousand times, to Emily Fuhrman's recent drawing Melting Spreadsheet, the promise of a pure digital reproduction draws us in, much like the promise of complete information, but the subtle intricacies in our systems eventually and inevitably tear things apart.