Cave paintings eh!
I wonder what they mean't... A Hunter bragging about his exploits in the forest... A bored cavewife taking up a recreational wall painting course.... cavekids doodling about what their Daddy did at work.
But... we have more chance of working out what they mean millions of years after they were painted than a million years time when - hopefully - a human finds a 5 1/4 inch disk, 3.5inch disk, cassette tape, hard drive, laser disc, Dat tape, CD, vinyl LP...shall I go on ?
How the hell do we archive our work for more than the next 5 years let alone a million?
I know this is a well trod path, but I'm going to go there one more time, just to trample down some freshly sprouted brambles.
last week, I had to write a couple of 1930 style jazz pieces. Now, when I was a pretentious - and talented it turns out damn me - 15 year old, I would write on manuscript paper my little piano doodles... mostly because I didn't have an Amiga and a tracker yet.
I still have a green folder full of these scribblings 25 years later... lucky, because, although a lot of the stuff was incomprehensible, a certain chord progression got me out of a hole.... when i was 15, I wanted to be George Gershwin...so 1930s Jazz was just the sort of thing.
Ok... so, imagine if the scenario was... I want you to write a tune in the style of James Bond.
Just say, my brain had closed down for the day... what about all those ideas I wrote in 1995 when working on Goldeneye for the N64.
Mmmm.. ok... they were on my hard drive at Rare.
Did you back them up ?
Well, incredibly, although they weren't backed up at the time, I did copy them to 3.5inch disks because I was OCD like that.
Great... do you still have them?
Somewhere maybe....Yep, here they are...
Oh hang on.. on mac or pc?
Cool, I use PCs..... wait.... floppy disk? but my PC doesn't have a floppy disk anymore.
go and buy a USB floppy disk drive
.....now skip the bit about whether a 14 year old disk would actually still work...
ok.. got them onto my new brand spanking killer PC... how do I load them ?
they're Cubase files.
it's a ".arr" file.. what the hell is that?
Oh yeah.. Cubase version 4 stopped support for .arr files in 2008
and so on...
You get the mesasge... when things were recorded on paper...or before than on stone and walls... it takes at the least, fire to wipe out stuff like that... that's why we luckily, still get the occasionally great composer's work discovered in an old basement somewhere in Europe.
What would happen in a 1,000 years time.. I found a box of 5 1/4 c64 disks... what are they? no idea... just bin them.
Say you find a hard drive... is it IDE? well forget it.. is it SATA2 ? is it.... insert whatever new and fancy connection we'll have in the next 10 years.
Then...say you can somehow read it.... say Charle's Dickens had password protected his word documents... then what do you do, you can see the files but can't open them.
Basically, my point is... it seems impossible to archive things at the present time for future generations.
I have songs written on the Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, my Yamaha SY77, Cubase seqeuncer files from an Atari ST then a Falcoln, then PC. All are unreadable on an up to date version of PC Cubase and that's just my little world.
I'm sure we all have our similar stories.
Will the "cloud" save us ?
Personally, I find it hard to trust, but that trust is surely only a generation away... Google I'm pretty sure are more OCD dven than me at backing my stuff up... can't even remember the last time I did a proper back up and I've done some pretty important work recently.....must do it soon etc etc
Maybe it's not a worry for the younger people of the world... it'll all be taken care of by Google, but for now, I'm just trying to figure out how to get a tape recorder to back up my Alesis SR16 drum machine so I can save those songs I wrote 20 years ago compatible with the current generation of readable formats.
I might just scribble the rhythms on my wall at home.