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One thing I found pretty interesting about Steyerl’s article on poor images is the idea that the internet, and specifically file-sharing, have created a sort of alternative economy of media on a large scale (this was mentioned in class too).  With the increasing prevalence of video and photo sharing sites has come what seems to be a general increase in media quality, visually speaking.  When we watch a bootleg video online the history Steyerl talks about is often not evident, the file being byte for byte the same as that which is sold in legitimate stores.  This makes it easier for people to abstract away the idea that a video existed anywhere but on their screen in this moment (when one watches a movie online, for example, it’s harder to ignore the legality of it if the video was bootlegged with a camcorder and the screen keeps jostling around than if it was somehow initially copied digitally).

A poor image has an undeniable history in its ancestry of copies and transport and viewings, and yet low-quality images are often looked on unfavorably.  On the other hand, many other things we deal with are celebrated for just such ancestries.  Clothes and objects for both decoration and use proudly display hand-made stickers, sometimes with the creator’s name.  In another sense, items that have been a part of events or people deemed significant are more highly regarded than their counterparts that have not.  It seems strange that some things are valued especially for their histories, while in other cases, especially if that history has somehow marred an attribute of the thing (as with poor images), they are devalued by them.  Maybe the distinction comes from the extent to which a thing’s history represents some appealing, human narrative (“somebody weaved this for 30 hours”, or “John Wayne wore this hat everyday”).  With movies such a history is often not immediately evident or available, and so considerations of and speculations on the history of a particular copy of a film are easily superseded by its audio and visual quality.

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