Saturday, October 3, 2009

"The Archive:" A Man and the Death of his Passion

Continuing the theme of my previous post, I stumbled across this heartbreaking documentary via Amanda Palmer's twitter.

The Archive, a short documentary directed by Sean Dunne gives an emotional look into the passion of Paul Mawhinney, who boasts well over a million records in his archival collection that he has been collecting his entire life.

Mawhinney comments on the changes in the music industry, calling it "a sad commentary on the times" that "nobody gives a damn" about all the albums, some of them rare to the point of being publicly unavailable, that he has accumulated.


The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.


Though this documentary comments on an older form of music's being neglected and forgotten, I can see this pattern continuing with the rise of the digital music world. I grew up on cassettes and CDs, and find it hard now to find peers who still prefer CDs to their digital downloads and the sound of their MP3 players.

We must step back and look at ourselves. If we keep detracting the physical value of our music and continue hacking down the quality of sound for which we will settle, what will the future's music be like?

To me, this isn't progress; it's carelessness.

"It's heartbreaking to see that the world doesn't care or give a damn about saving it for future generations. That is depressing." -Paul Mawhinney

XoXo
c,

1 comment:

Daniel Doyle said...

I'm all about digital music with minimal physical artifact, for social progressive reasons I may have mentioned before. But what I don't support is the hacking down of quality that you briefly lament here. For that reason I try my best at every turn to evangelize for the Free Lossless Audio Codec, which has changed my music-listening quite a bit: http://flac.sourceforge.net/

As for preserving the creative economy, I'm as interested in this as the next skank grad student, and with respect to this subject I recommend two important books by Lawrence Lessig which for all I know you may have already read: http://free-culture.org/ and, more importantly, http://www.archive.org/details/LawrenceLessigRemix. I think it's beautiful that you only buy CDs and vinyl (is that correct?), and I mean that sincerely.

But downloading is important too, as it promotes creativity in a way we've never had before. The challenge is to preserve an economy for artists despite digital information becoming more and more accessible and free.