a blog by ryan hayes

Digital Erosion

Stills from Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000)

This blog has been dormant for over a year and a half. And there is another year-long gap in between the posts before this one.

I can accept that my energy has shifted, but I have to admit my disappointment with how quickly digital infrastructure can erode. And by that I mean: when I periodically check back or want to share a project, I’m surprised by the amount of broken links, missing images, and dead websites I come across.

This includes treasured projects like the UofT Free Press and the archive I created of OPIRG posters spanning 30 years of social and environmental justice organizing (update: restored OPIRG Poster Archive now here).

If not for the magic of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, there would be no visible traces of these projects left online.

I’d like to dedicate some time to bringing these projects back – particularly since the  “social organization of forgetting” is what drew me in to creating activist archives in the first place.

Some newer initiatives like Alternative Toronto and the Rise-Up Feminist Archive with some institutional support, as well as the always inspiring Interference Archive (recently re-homed into a storefront space), have re-kindled my interest in this work.

Getting hands-on with the materials at the Interference Archive

There’s also a clear lesson here about doing better in the present with digital information security and planning for posterity. Of course, from the process of searching for traces of social movement activity, I know how ephemeral the objects they produce can be (that’s how they got the name “ephemera”), and I should be doing better to avoid replicating this cycle of disappearances.

With that said, I’ll leave you with a few images of projects since my last update.

Radical Design School collaboratively produced a sticker pack about gentrification
Designing the logo and public outreach materials for Farrah Miranda’s Speaking Fruit
Speaking Fruit logo
Communications support for building the labour movement
The start of what I’m sure will be many Doug Ford related materials over the next 4 years (and hopefully no more than that)
Returning to Detroit for the Allied Media Conference
Spotted during a tour of Talking Dolls studio space, as part of larger “field trip” exploring co-ops and collaborative spaces in Detroit
One of many great questions posed in Detroit

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