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The Arcades Project > Discussion - Week Eleven - Convolute H, p. 203 - 211

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Jim | 3055 comments Mod
This discussion covers Convolute H, The Collector, p. 203 – 211


Possession and having are allied with the tactile, and stand in a certain opposition to the optical. Collectors are beings with tactile instincts.” [H2,5], p. 206-7


In our own time, possession and having are still allied with the tactile, but now there is a certain opposition to the virtual. To have a CD in hand versus an MP3 in an iPod, a DVD in hand versus an MPEG stored on a hard drive, and of course, a paper book on a shelf versus an epub file on an ereader. What might be the difference between an object collector versus a digital file collector?


Mertin | 9 comments I get a sense that with digital collections, there's no longer a lifetime of pursuing those items. It can happen in an hour, or a day. And hence the purpose and the accomplishment of building/completing a collection feels less important.
Being digital files "virtual", we experience them through the senses that they were made for (hearing for music, and the eyes for reading books), but they are not "represented in our space" as Benjamin puts it. Be that as it may, I think digital collections are not "detached from their functional relations" as for example a collector of stamps or porcelain cups would experience. I'm not sure there are digital collections of this kind. So there's that difference in my view.

Also, we should note that in this age of the omnipresence of digital, people still buy paper books, and there is a constant rise in sales of vinyl albums.


message 3: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Mertin wrote: " Be that as it may, I think digital collections are not "detached from their functional relations" as for example a collector of stamps or porcelain cups would experience...."

That's true. Music, movies, and books are collected for their function, for the most part. I suppose another aspect is physical presence. In my home I have a few cabinets and bookshelves filled with hundreds each of books, dvds, and cds, all of which would easily fit on a few terabyte drives - much less to dust...


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