Hifi and WW2

Cognitive dissonance is tricky to deal with.

In Germany after the war, Allied forces found a new recording technology – magnetic tape. This provided a huge leap in audio fidelity ahead of disc recordings and rapidly became the dominant mastering medium for sound. The Nazi’s had used it for a while already for broadcasting. It later enabled multi-track recording and led to the first hifi systems being created.

Fast forward 74 years and here we are, the audio equivalent of the autobahn. A Nazi legacy item that audiophiles and musicians couldn’t really do without. Magnetic tape enables those timbres, tones and spacious melodies.

Of course it would have been infinitely better without the war, and with Nazis never having existed.

But here we are.

Digital Art

Computers are everywhere. The net is everywhere. Software is eating the world.

This has forced us as a species to ask important questions about how we best exist in a digital/analogue hybrid world. No facet of humanity has been more disrupted or scrutinised by the web than our art. Some questions:

How do we control rights and rewards for the art we make online? Metallica has something to say about this, so does Stephen King

How high does the digital resolution of a picture, a film or a song have to be to accurately reflect the intentions of the artist?

Interestingly, writing as an art form is relatively unaffected by issues of resolution. Words can be understood just as well on low resolution screens, and the quality of the writing is largely subjective. It’s hard to measure objectively the purity of a piece of writing, whereas a picture on a screen, or a sound wave in your ears has a bunch of physics and metrics behind it which is now fed into the marketing of art (see here and here) and of equipment to consume the art (see here and here).

I don’t think these questions over digital art will be answered anytime soon, but I think they need to be at the front of your head if you are publishing online.