Fascinating article on what we give up when we give up ownership of our own libraries of art. (I avoided using content deliberately. The word bothers me at the artful core of my being.).
And this is why I keep records, CDs, and the machines to play them near to hand and heart.
In E.M. Forster’s speculative 1909 novella The Machine Stops everyone lives in subterranean apartments designed for maximum convenience and efficiency, in which all an occupant’s needs are met by the machine. Food is ordered, friendships are maintained, lectures are given, music is streamed, and so on, all from one centralized machine, accessible to all residents of Earth. Sound familiar? But then the protagonist, a woman called Vashti, pulls up a symphony only to find that it has a glitch. She complains to the authorities, but nothing is ever done to fix the glitch. Eventually, Forster writes, “time passed, and they resented the defects no longer. The defects had not been remedied, but the human tissues in that latter day had become so subservient, that they readily adapted themselves to every caprice of the Machine. The sigh at the crises of the Brisbane symphony no longer irritated Vashti; she accepted it as part of the melody.”
Is that what we will do? As our content, our history, and our memories are revised in deference to ever more exacting standards of purity? Will we simply resign ourselves to revisionism and accept the defects as part of the whole?
P.S. GET OFF MY LAWN!