LOW-TECH CHRONICLES is an experimental publication series that focuses on (re)activating so-called obsolete technologies. Each issue embeds possibly forgotten media standards and techniques into today's networked media environments so as to collectively rethink their lost and new potential. While there is a pressure to constantly adopt fast, slick, and state-of-the-art high-tech, this series proposes instead to engage with slower, 'unstable' and forgotten low-tech alternatives.
Issue #1: Ephemeral Encodings
This FIRST issue revolves around the topic of how sound can play a role in the perception of the material properties of computation as the latter is often perceived as 'immaterial'. The publication consists of 2 booklets and an audio cassette. The first part is a collection of stories and anecdotes by 18 contributors. For this part, each contributor was invited to share a vivid memory or almost-forgotten experience of how sound connected them to the material world of computation and digital networking. To enrich their stories, each contributor provided a piece of audio and a (modulated) image with their text. The second part is a thesis that discusses the topic of the disappearing sound of computer activity more in-depth. The issue explores the theme by experimenting with the material properties of the contents itself. The tools and resources created and used for this issue are shared on the publication's website. Additionally, it is possible to contribute by adding a story and modulating an image.
Mark van den Heuvel is a researcher, designer and musician from the Netherlands. His works mainly focusses on reframing the potential and context of so-called obsolete technologies through hands-on artistic research. The output takes place in the midst of publishing, performing, presenting and collaborating.