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Vinyl as Visualization

Vinyl under an electron microscope.

A vinyl record, magnified. From Chris Supranowitz’s OPT 307 Final Project.

One of Arthur C. Clarke’s laws of prediction states that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” There’s something bootstrappy about one sufficiently advanced technology (SEM) laying bare the magic from a formerly advanced technology (Vinyl). In this case, to see the waveform etched in the vinyl is to understand how the medium works in a more-than-conceptual way. No magic required.

Yet the magnifier doesn’t shed the same revelatory light on a compact disc. There’s another layer of abstraction — and it’s arguably beyond visualization. (Still, it’s unusual treat to see the atoms behind those etherial bits… given our tendency to segregate the two.)

Via Noise for Airports.

February 18 2010 at 3 AM