In a response to a previous post, Russell mentioned that the digital handshake noise of a connecting phone modem was just a momentary phenomenon. His dad never heard it. His son never will.

That got me thinking about art and the importance of being device independent. If you’re depending on technology to display your art (or writing), you’re screwed. Video art will work as long as a particular kind of retrieval and display technology sticks around, as well as the infrastructure to power those gizmos. If longevity is on your mind, oil on linen is a pretty good choice, as is pigment ink on acid-free paper. Paper doesn’t run out of power. When you get it wet, you can dry it without catastrophic damage. For the most part, the information will be preserved.

What’s the great new shiny modern artistic medium that will be as stable and cheap as ink or paint? Or will we have to depend on wide, massively redundant distribution of content to preserve it? Where does that leave art and ideas that don’t catch on fast enough?

Perhaps Penn Jillette had the right idea in conjunction with The Clock of the Long Now. “Penn Jillette suggested that the real way to do this is make a video documentary of the making of the clock and then hiding it, but not actually doing it,” Rose says. “(The clock) never gets found, but people would become intrigued. The mystery of the clock becomes the real thing.”

As I mentioned, I’ve spent the last few weeks comping up merchandising ideas for my new project in Photoshop. One of the publishers I talked to asked if this stuff was already made or if it was all just digital illustration. Looking at the images she wasn’t sure. My next project will be “Permanent Figments — The Art Lover’s Guide to Nonexistent Sculpture and Impossible Monuments.” Stay tuned. And don’t you doubt for a second that 344 LOVES YOU (Even when the power goes out and the network is down.)

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