edited by Raffael Dörig and Flo Kaufmann – H.o.Me – Home for obsolete media

home

Christoph Merian Verlag, ISBN: 978-3856169497, English, German, 146 pages, 2020, Germany

This is not a typical catalogue for an eponymous exhibition. “H.o.m.e – Home For Obsolete Media” at Kunsthaus Langenthal was curated by Raffael Doerig, and this is a whole complement to it in book form. In the first section of the text, the media on display are explored in terms of their function. These explorations are interspersed with descriptions of the artworks on display. Flo Kaufmann, who co-edits the book, uses his experience as an artist and collector of the various media to provide an enjoyable popular history of most formats in contributions that are balanced between the visual and the textual. The final section of the text is devoted to essays written from the perspectives of conservators, media historians, social scientists and curators, among others. Obsolete Media is about memory and transmission, about a different time, a different aesthetic and a different content. In the exhibition, Kaufmann’s remarkable collection of audio-visual media proves gloriously physical in comparison to the ephemeral and always in flux mobile media. The text becomes a taxonomy of obsolete media standards or, as Charles R. Acland calls them, “residual media” that are, in fact, never fully abandoned by the public. This catalogue, housed in a case reminiscent of a Sony VHS, is an opportunity to learn about these media and to change our attitudes towards them by finally acknowledging their role.