Software Archaeology. On the Resurrection of Programs for the Mark 1, 1948–58
The Ferranti Mark 1 (1948–1958), the world’s first commercially available electronic computer, was used to create some of the earliest computer music and video games. This talk by artist and media archaeologist David Link will detail the problems and solutions of resurrecting software for the Ferranti Mark 1. Link’s research in the field of software archaeology, which belongs to the broader field of archaeology of algorithmic artifacts, proceeds in a theoretical and practical way at the same time. As humans increasingly problem solve through machines and software, history must also account for algorithmic artifacts.
The Observer Effects series invites thinkers to present their highly integrative work in dialogue with the fields of art and science. This lecture series takes its title from a popularized principle in physics that holds that the act of observation transforms the observed. Outside the natural sciences, the idea that the observer and the observed are linked in a web of reciprocal modification has been deeply influential in philosophy, aesthetics, psychology, and politics.
Artist and media archaeologist David Link was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1971 and lives in Cologne. In 2004, he completed his PhD in philosophy with a concentration on the history of computerized text generation. His art installations and performances have been shown all over the world, and he won the 2012 Tony Sale Award for computer conservation. His current research focuses on the development of an archaeology of algorithmic artifacts. Recent exhibitions include at Arnolfini, Bristol; MU, Eindhoven; and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel.