The permanency of the physical v digital

Digital has given me a lot: remote access has changed my life for the better; I can see, hear and talk to people from around the world; I can make things and remake things. But there has always been the thought that it could disappear in a second in a way that physical things don’t.

The issue was brought to mind just now when reading this A-N article about the potential demise of a physical slide archive at Manchester School of Art. The article on the dedicated blog – here –  outlines one of the pressures that digitisation has brought along with its benefits – saving money. This has resulted in a proposal to do away with Manchester’s physical slide archive and just keep a digital one. Surely the powers that be can see that the digital archive isn’t the same thing as the physical archive but rather a virtual copy of it and so there is a real need to keep the original physical archive?

What will happen if everyone follows this path? Will my great grandchildren only know sculptures and paintings in their virtual form? Too much history will be destroyed if we replace the physical with digital copies.

Digital is good, no it’s great. But surely we need both the physical and digital just in case the lights go out and the history of digital is one that just sits on redundant hard drives never to be access or known about again….

Long live digital, but not at any cost.


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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5 Responses to The permanency of the physical v digital

  1. mtchelzbt says:

    Thanks for spreading the word about our project Adopt a Slide. Feedback has been amazingly positive so far and we are really hoping we can come up with a strong case for keeping the collection intact. If you would be interested in adopting a slide, you can do it digitally, either by viewing the VRC flickr site and emailing us the link to your image, or by letting me know what topics you might be interested in (email and we’ll search you out a selection to choose from. You’re absolutely right, this is not an anti-digital campaign (how could it be?!) but a plea to recognise the importance and difference of both digital and analogue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mtchelzbt says:

    Of course! Go to Also VisualResources@MMU on twitter (#slideoftheday) will give you some to choose from. And you can see what other people have chosen on the blog of course.


  3. Pingback: Adopt a slide | anomiepete

  4. Good points Pete. An argument in favour of the analogue is not something I’ve heard from you before but in this case its a strong one!!

    Liked by 1 person

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