edited by Niek Hilkmann, Thomas Walskaar – Floppy Disk Fever, The Curious Afterlives of a Flexible Medium


Onomatopee, ISBN 978-9493148864, English, 158 pages, 2022, The Netherlands

At Neural we still have a number of floppy discs, most of which surprisingly still work (the most important files were backed up a long time ago, of course). We also have a disk drive that works seamlessly with the latest computers. Floppy discs are the oldest standard medium for data that we still use (very rarely), having done away with all other magnetic media for data storage in the past. Apparently, we are not alone. This is a valuable book on floppy discs and their modern uses. One of the editors (Hilkmann) runs Floppy Totaal, an organisation and festival in Rotterdam that focuses on the “reuse and recycling of ‘obsolete’ technology as a cultural phenomenon”. The introductory essay for Floppy Disk Fever is by Lori Emerson, founding director of the US-based Media Archaeology Lab, in which she wisely explores nostalgia as both a potential plague and an opportunity. This edited collection of interviews, covering a whole range of contemporary floppy disk activity, includes Persky’s sales and recycling, Cramer’s over-compressed films, Pionierska Records’ exclusive releases, Turing’s exhibition at the Home Computer Museum and Jason Scott’s work at the Internet Archive. A lot of ground is covered, and the marginal, but still vital, role of floppy discs in the modern media landscape is defined through these practises.