Unpacking the hard drive

We began by unpacking the hard drive of Kurenniem’s materials as prepared by Perttu Rastas of the Finnish National Gallery. The file contained snapshots from various home computers of Kurenniemi (sometimes the result of his own migrations between computers), as well as digitized materials from various analog media (C-60 cassette tapes, Hi8 and DV tapes). Copying the files proved to be non trivial as the drives Macintosh format (HFS) caused some strange behaviours when copying on a Linux system to Nicolas’ drive (which later we realized was formatted in a Windows-specific format (NTFS). Perttu told us that the drive, edged in elastic orange plastic, was advertised to be able to survive drops of 2 meters, a claim which we did not test.

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Visiting the Kurenniemi Archive

Finnish National Gallery Archivist Perttu Rastas takes us on a guided tour of the Kurenniemi Archive

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Practical Futurism

On a visit to the University department of music that now conserves some of the DIMI instruments; we were told by Kai Lassfolk (who will be one of the musicians performing Kurenniemi’s instruments at Documenta) about how even though Kurenniemi’s ideas were quite futuristic and at times esoteric, their realisation was surprisingly (even radically) simple, and quite practical and functional. (For instance the virtual studio patcher with video output).

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Image directories

With the following code, we created a montage of the images contained in the  directories. Each directory has then a quick visual overview, very much like a contact sheet.

import os
for root, dirs, files in os.walk("."):
    print root, "dirs", dirs
    if i>1:
        for d in dirs:
            print os.getcwd()
            path = os.path.join(root, d)
            os.system('mkdir "' + thumbpath + '"')
            os.system('cp -rvp '+path.replace(' ','\ ')+'/*.JPG "' + thumbpath + '"')
            os.system('mogrify -resize 640 ' + thumbpath.replace(' ','\ ')+'/*')
            os.system('montage ' + thumbpath.replace(' ','\ ') + '/* '+montagesdir+'/'+ str(j)+ '.jpg')
            os.system('rm -rf "' + thumbpath + '"')
#    else:
#        break
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Creating a montage (resizing images first)

mkdir 640
cp *.JPG 640
cd 640
mogrify -resize 640×480 *
montage * index.png


import os

for root, dirs, files in os.walk(“.”):
for d in dirs:
path = os.path.join(root, d)
os.system(‘montage “‘ + path + ‘”‘)

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with a find command we produced a listing of all files in the disk.
cat listing/* >LISTING

grep -i  “.jpeg$” LISTING | wc -l

grep -i  “.jpg$” LISTING >> IMAGES
grep -i  “.jpeg$” LISTING >> IMAGES
grep -i  “.gif$” LISTING >> IMAGES
grep -i  “.tiff$” LISTING >> IMAGES
grep -i  “.tif$” LISTING >> IMAGES
grep -i  “.psd$” LISTING >> IMAGES
wc -l IMAGES
142456 image files

grep -i  “.aif$” LISTING >>AUDIO
grep -i  “.wav$” LISTING >>AUDIO
grep -i  “.ogg$” LISTING >>AUDIO
wc -l AUDIO
714 audio files

At least some duplication within the cassettes
diff C4002.aif

grep -i  “.mp4$” LISTING >>VIDEO
grep -i  “.mpeg$” LISTING >>VIDEO
grep -i  “.mpg$” LISTING >>VIDEO
grep -i  “.mov$” LISTING >>VIDEO
grep -i  “.qt$” LISTING >>VIDEO
wc -l VIDEO
video files

group files by size (vignettes videos)

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A dictionary that has not been reduced in size by omission of terms or definitions; the most comprehensive edition of a given dictionary.

Unabridged dictionaries do not contain all the words of a language. They contain the maximum of words they could gather taking into account the limitations of time and economy. An unabridged dictionary defines a sort of horizon, a limit within a language.

What could be an unabridged archive/collection mean in the context of this project? We treat the collection of documents we receive as an unabridged whole. We have no means to discriminate beforehand. Dealing with the material will be our chance to begin to know it. Eyes closed trying to figure out by touching forms we have never seen.

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Tools and interlocutors

We can’t access the elements of the archive individually. Too many of them. We need intermediaries. People to tour us through. Tools, filters, sensors. That will listen, see, aggregate and separate, connect and disconnect, assemble and disassemble.

With the intermediaries, we will have to learn and speak the same language, accept the gaps, sense the priorities. The tools. They won’t see as we see through our eyes, they won’t listen as we listen, they will perceive through different dimensions, they will count time with another anxiety.

As our intermediaries, our tools will be our interlocutors.

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