New York Times: Go Ahead, Binge Old Movies and Jam Out to ’90s Hits. “Some people swear by silent breakfasts. Others recommend breathing exercises. For another group of people, the ultimate coping mechanism for political angst and the pandemic is escaping into a world of yesteryear — listening to 1990s hits, watching old films and playing 16-bit video games. When everything has turned upside down, why not go back to a time when the world seemed simpler?”
Domestika: This Digital Archive Is a Treasure Chest of Typography and Design. “The TM Research Archive is a website created by a Swiss student, called Louise Paradis, as her final project for her master’s degree. It compiles information about and images from Typographische Monatsblätter, dating between the 1970s and 1990s. It is a treasure chest filled to the brim with dozens of covers, indexes from different issues, and detailed biographies of its most prominent designers and typographers.”
Cornell Chronicle: Paniccioli’s vast hip-hop photo archive launches online. “Missy Elliott and Li’l Kim dressed up as anime characters, resting between takes on the set of the ‘Sock It 2 Me’ music video. Biz Markie bouncing off his chair in a dressing room of the Apollo Theater. Doug E. Fresh blowing out candles on his birthday cake that’s decorated to look like a vinyl record, as Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs peers over his shoulder. These and nearly 20,000 similar images can now be viewed online as Cornell University Library launches the Ernie Paniccioli Photo Archive, a digital collection chronicling hip-hop music and culture from the 1980s to the early 2000s.”
Rhizome: First Look: The Thing BBS. “Founded by artist Wolfgang Staehle, The Thing made up just a few of the tens of thousands of BBSs that flourished in the years preceding the popularization of the public web, and it fostered a community that sought to experiment with cultural practices via telecommunications networks: writing and publishing, interacting with a community, performing an identity, and distributing art. Immediately preceding the rise of the public web, The Thing was an important forum where early ideas of online art were rehearsed. Despite its historical significance, much of its content has been inaccessible for years. Now, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New Museum’s digital art affiliate Rhizome has created a contextual archive of messages that were posted to The Thing.”
Adam Matthew Digital: Adam Matthew Digital publishes the first module of Mass Observation Project: 1981-2009. “This first of three modules covers the 1980s and is a fascinating source of personal diaries and first-hand accounts from a diverse range of ‘mass observers’ in Britain. The material consists of responses to questionnaires, referred to as directives, and covers a broad range of topics from global politics and events such as the emergence of AIDS and the Cold War; to details of the wonderful and the mundane in the everyday lives of individual responders. This range of topics makes it a truly rich source of primary source content on British social history.”
Screen Rant: Watch TV From The 70s, 80s, & 90s On This Cool Retro Website. “A website called My Decade TV, created by Joey Cato, lets users watch TVs from the 70s, 80s, and 90s that offer a variety of different channels, including cartoons, game shows, movies, news, music videos, and more. Cato explains in the TV manual, which can be accessed below the TVs, that the websites were created because he wanted ‘to honor the pop culture memories of decades past.’ He went on to add that ‘each site aspires to simulate the vintage experience of channel-surfing on a TV from a particular era,’ so to support that, ‘channel content may not necessarily start playing from the beginning.'” This might be “just” a YouTube wrapper, but even if it is it’s ridiculously good. Warning: timesink.
Balkan Transitional Justice: New Website Highlights Serbia’s Role in 1990s Wars. “The Belgrade branch of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights NGO launched a new website entitled Rat u Srbiji (War in Serbia) on Monday to highlight the country’s involvement in the wars that broke out as Yugoslavia collapsed in the 1990s. The site contains information about hidden mass graves, detention camps, the persecution of ethnic minorities, the forced mobilisation of civilians, crimes committed by paramilitary units in the Balkan conflicts and human rights breaches during a revolt in the south of Serbia.”
The California Aggie: The California Aggie first undergraduate UC newspaper to digitize entire collection. “The California Aggie, formerly known as The Weekly Agricola, is the first undergraduate UC newspaper to digitize its entire historical collection. The California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC) — the online home of many historical editions of California-based periodicals — now showcases 5,410 issues of The Aggie. These issues date all the way back to the first issue of The Weekly Agricola on Sept. 29, 1915. The collection is broken down by year and month, has a keyword-search function and is available for download.” The Aggie is the newspaper of the University of California, Davis.
Boing Boing: This cool online radio station lets you listen to popular songs from any decade and country from 1900 to now. “When you go to Radiooooo you see a map of the world. You click on any country on the map, and select a decade beginning with 1900. It will start playing music from that country and decade.” I tried United States / 1940s and the site started playing a lovely little groove called “Hot Dog” by Chris Powell & The Five Blue Flames.
The Verge: The Internet Archive’s VHS Vault will send you on a 90s nostalgia trip. “The Internet Archive, perhaps best known for the extremely handy Wayback Machine you can use to find older versions of webpages, also has free movies, books, software, and music. Yet a little known part of the organization’s media trove includes uploaded recordings from VHS tapes, as I learned today thanks to this Vice article. They live on The VHS Vault, and as of this writing, there are more than 20,000 recordings you can peruse.”
Library of Congress: Photography Archive of Shawn Walker and a Collection of Harlem Photography Workshop Acquired by Library of Congress. “The Shawn Walker archive contains nearly 100,000 photographs, negatives and transparencies depicting life in Harlem — a pivotal crossroad of African diaspora culture — between 1963 and the present. The Kamoinge collection — generously donated by Walker — consists of nearly 2,500 items, including prints by Kamoinge members such as Barboza, Draper, Smith and others.”
Slate: Did the Early Internet Activists Blow It?. “I no longer think that tolerance of disruptive speech is invariably the best answer, although, even now, I believe it’s typically the best first response. I also think the too-much-free-speech folks are being shortsighted themselves, because we’ve entered an era in which we need more disintermediated free speakers and free speech, not less.”
Ars Technica: ’90s nostalgia: Dancing Baby does the cha-cha once more in new HD rendering. “Internet denizens of a certain age will recall with fondness the 3D animated Dancing Baby (aka “Baby Cha-Cha” and “the Oogachacka Baby”) that went viral in 1996. Sure, the rendering was crude by today’s standards and—it must be said—a little creepy, but in many ways, the Dancing Baby was a proto-meme. Now, almost 25 years after it was first created, an enterprising college student has re-rendered the original model and animation in a suitable HD format for modern displays.” When that baby first came out, my mother tried to email the video of him from her corporate network to my little lame desktop computer. Gave it — the computer, not the baby — a severe case of indigestion.
Slate: The Insanely Popular App That Mimics Those Flimsy Disposable Cameras From the ’90s. “While the hazy, overexposed aesthetic of the photos it takes isn’t all that different from what you can achieve in with Instagram or VSCO, David’s Disposable ups the verisimilitude by simulating the most inconvenient aspects of using a disposable camera. Using the app requires you to squint at a minuscule virtual viewfinder. And after you take the picture, you can’t see the resulting image until 9 a.m. the next day, a feature premised on the assumption that what kids really admire about disposable cameras is the wait time for developing photos.”
NBC 7 San Diego: NBC 7 San Diego History Center Partner to Preserve Decades of Archives. “The archive, to be held at the San Diego History Center’s Research Archives, consists of video recordings, video tapes, and assorted materials that document the daily journalism of San Diego from the period of 1976 to 2012. Contained in the archives are thousands of interviews and individual stories. The archived materials will be made accessible to the public once inventory and a catalogue have been completed. Due to the size of the archive this may take several years.”