Third floor 2

  • In Short
  • Installation art
  • Multi-media

Jeroen van Loon

a solution to how to prevent a ‘digital dark age’

Permanent Data (2020) is a 12 km long glass fiber ‘Direct Access Cable’ with a custommade text printed on it. Glass fiber cables are normally used to connect households to a digital network, underground. Printed on the cable is the full Gutenberg Bible mixed with contemporary YouTube comments.
The Gutenberg Bible was one of the first mass-produced printed books in Europe in the 1450s.
Printed by Johannes Gutenberg on his wooden printing press it marked the start of the ‘Gutenberg Revolution’. Today only forty-nine physical copies have (partly) survived. The Gutenberg Bible is mixed with YouTube usernames and comments that were found under videos on topics such as bitrot, data loss and (failed) backups.
The two text sources, in their time, both revolutionized the way information was accessed, shared and used. Now they are connected through the question of how information survives. Physical paper is deemed a long lasting source of information, if stored in the right way. Digital storage, through cloud systems and hard drives, is thought of as futureproof but at the same time utterly fleeting. What Youtube data is still accessible in 500 years?

A cable is infrastructure to transmit data. However, the physical cable itself might very well outlast the data it transmits. Permanent Data therefore becomes an artefact combining the ephemeral nature of digital data and the durability of physical information and perhaps offers a solution to how to prevent a ‘digital dark age’.


To be seen at the following location