Already making the rounds on the Web (as well it must, if it is to accomplish its author’s aims), a YouTube video immortalizes roll of film found against all odds in a snow bank. Upright Citizens Brigade video producer Todd Bieber, who found the roll, has turned them into a charming narrative as he looks for the film’s owner.

It’s a reminder of the importance of physical artifact in a digital age. Film by necessity has clear physical form in a single object; digital media has to exist physically somewhere, encoded in storage media, but it hardly has the same sense of definition.

I wish I had something intelligent to say, but I can only smile, especially as lately I’ve been rediscovering film myself. (If only motion/movie film were as easy to work with as still.)

But the question remains compelling: how do you bring physical objects into digital work? Should you? Do you turn to media like film, or do you find a way to make your digital work physical? (Prints, handmade wooden flash drives… even the beam of light that projects your work onto a wall, all can take on new meaning.)

Via NPR: Lost Photos Of NYC Blizzard: Found! [the picture show]

  • I think that bringing physical objects into a digital/digitized work can add a visual depth that is sometimes not possible via compositing on the computer.

    For example, my label's latest project, DEKALOG 1, is a hand animation piece by SUE-C, who synthesizes cinema from photographs, drawings, watercolors, hand-made papers, fabrics and miniature interactive lighting effects.

    For more information, check out:

  • Yes to your musings, Peter. I've turned to cut paper, as seen in a story about a fellow I met in downtown Shreveport. I haven't been able to find him since the meeting described herein.

  • Physical materials are part of my audio/visual working process: not just as source materials but also as part of my media manipulation techniques. In a similar fashion, I'm often amused by what shows up on sites like Found Magazine or Found Tapes…