Big_Sleep™ explores problems in our archival urges. Via a single-channel desktop screencast, informatic elements ebb and flow—creating and relating interface absences. These gaps suggest that no amount of hard drive space can defy mortality. The only way to fully prepare our media for the future is to prepare ourselves for a future apart. The piece presents material from the late William Birch, one of the most important Fox Movietone cinema- tographers. Examining his now-decaying body of work—we find an argument for access in the present. Digital migrations of these early films are often met with limited, temporary success. Looking into the future, one might see a canon of obsolesce. Looking further, one might not see anything at all.
The Big_Sleep™ Media Encoder acts like a cold storage for digital elements. Transcoded files won't decay, their encoding will remain perfectly intact at stable resolutions—but they may never be opened or viewed again. A mix between a Borges story and a computational trust exercise, this video project tells its story through media artifacts as they ebb, flow, decay, and are resolved. The lives of the Fox Movietone filmmakers, the intentions of their archivists, the lives (and deaths) of the original subjects all conflate into a video collage of saving and letting go.
Video Tutorial, Documentary
Color / Sound / 26m
Evan Meaney, Amy Szczepanski
Part software demo, part documentary—Big_Sleep™
concerns itself with archival impulses, molecular instability,
and numbers counting down to zero.
Believing that everyone should have access to the Big_Sleep™ Encoding Tool and the archival peace of mind it represents, we invite you to submit your own files for transcode. Access to the encoder is free via this website, though certain liabilities may apply to the user. By clicking the button below, you will be taken to an end user license agreement and an upload form. Once submitted, your file may be transmitted to our servers, transcoded into the Big_Sleep™ codec and format, and then made available to you for download alongside a transcode receipt. We hope you take a moment to explore this service.