October 18-20, 2019
Prime Produce, NYC

Sarah Nguyen

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Sarah is a modern-contemporary dancer and a librarian-archivist in training. She is a student at the University of Washington's iSchool for Library and Information Science, project coordinator for Preserve This Podcast, research scientist for Investigating & Archiving the Scholarly Git Experience, and archivist for the Dance Heritage Coalition/Mark Morris Dance Group. An advocate for open, accessible, and secure technologies, she promotes open source tools such as GitHub Pages, Nikola, and vrecord for all involved projects. Offline, she can be found riding a Cannondale mtb or eating plants.

Ramin Rahni is the sound collaborator for LinkRot. He is a musician and sound designer based in New York. He plays middle eastern inspired techno as part of Googoosh Dolls, and noisy pop as part of Tar Of. He is godfather to many cats across Brooklyn.



LinkRot is a ~9 minute dance inspired by broadcast audio and RSS preservation practices, technology obsolescence, and 3-2-1 backups. Sounds recreating auditory memory of early digital networking are made tangible through isolated limbed branches that build to a feeling of potential completion, but soon breaks down as segments are gradually destroyed due to algorithmically-controlled centralized over-saturation. This is an exploration of the social pressures made from rapid content creation through conveniently available GUIs versus openly accessible text-based mediums.

There is an undervaluation of the internet's open source dependencies. From the invisible labor contributed to open source development to the ephemerality of the content. Podcasters are only just recently becoming aware of this issue. The RSS feed is an open framework to deliver files between computers, and with the rise of commercial RSS publishers, podcasts (e.g. audible cultural content) are being lost. RSS feed link rot can be avoided. Dancers have lived with this issue since the beginning of its time. Performance and practice is stored in muscle memory, while recordings only capture bytes of audiovisual interpretation. Exerted movements and feelings are never reproducibly the same with each performance. Movement link rot is an ongoing study.

And last, open source tools--web archiving and software preservation techniques exists, but are not cohesive. Specifically, Git version control systems, like GitLab, hold codebase for a wide variety of games, media, research, protocols, etc. Existing archiving techniques are missing components to recreate the full computational environment. LinkRot is a dance that serves to emulate the physical euphoria that internet content creation permits to the digital decay that comes with loss (or is there even a feeling of loss?).