Content type: Performative Lecture
Credits: David Hall
Year: 2016-2018

Through the medium of a performative lecture, artist/performer David Hall examines the discrepancies and contradictions between information and meaning. A Brief History of Loss highlights the temporalities of machine memory, file formulations and information management. Hall suggests and viscerally demonstrates that the loss of personal information, files and photographs is the direct consequence of viewing, reading, saving and circulating them.

Hall wondered, ‘what material and conceptual consequences’ would there be in the translation of artwork from the physical to the digital. For this experiment, he took as inspiration Hollis Frampton's Nostalgia, in which the artist destroys photographs on a hob while speaking. Hall wrote a custom script that could be run on a mac command line. It opens a file and saves it about 10,000 times which, as a consequence of how computers function, deteriorates the file into oblivion. ‘Much like the fading of the analogue photograph and its material deterioration over time, I came to lossy file formats, like the jpeg and mp3, and began pushing them to what I thought to be their logical conclusion’, says Hall.

The following video is a documentation of one performance of the lecture.