Floppy Totaal is a Rotterdam based research project that investigates the reuse and repurposing of 'outdated' technology as a cultural phenomenon. By examining the contemporary usage of the iconic floppy disk, we assess the way past technology is integrated into our culture today and what its future prospectives are.
We aim to share insights in the social dimensions around residual media by showcasing recent literature, performances, installations and more through events, publications, workshops and exhibitions. Our main goal is to inject the debate surrounding obsolescent technology with new enthusiasm and stimulate a critical approach to this topic.
Floppy Totaal started out in 2014 as a recurrent festival, hosted by WORM, the insitute of avant-garde recreation in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. During the events a variety of international artists, musicians, hackers, designers and researchers were invited to showcase a selection of contemporary floppy related projects. After three editions of the festival, we received backing from Stimuleringsfonds in 2019 to develop Floppy Totaal's research beyond its event-based format.
We started investigating the possibility of a publication that exhibits the many ways in which the floppy disk are still being used and re-purposed today. Besides organizing smaller, in-depth events at multiple locations, we conducted interviews with many floppy enthusiasts. This laid the groundwork for what is going to be our fist publication: “Floppy Disk Fever”. In 2020 we received another contribution from Stimuleringsfonds to continue the work on this project. The book is slated to be published by Onomatopee sometime in 2021.
“Floppy disk fever: The curious afterlife of a flexible medium” is an upcoming pubication by Floppy Totaal that explores the enduring presence of the floppy diskette in the 21st century. It consists of a number of annotated interviews with those involved with the medium today. The book reflects on notions of obsolescence, media preservation and nostalgia and challenges these by showing the endurance and versatility of this familiar piece of technology that is typically deemed obsolete. Examining the diverse approaches of those working with floppy disks today can help us assess our present-day situation and may even hint at future developments in our media and technology minded landscape. After all, the technology of the past is also part of our future.
Within the context of profit-driven planned obsolescence, it is important to inquire after the reuse and repurposing of ‘obsolete’ technologies. With electronic waste piles growing larger and more conspicuous every year, how do artists and consumers engage with older media? The ideology behind redundancy is questioned through the contemporary usage and creative repurposing of outdated technology. This method goes beyond mere nostalgia, and is shaped by a number of artists and theorists that (re)introduce older technology in our current times, often combining media from the past with brand new ones. The result is a hybrid cultural expression that reveals the necessity to question the way in which technological development gets framed, both by media-centered research and popular culture.
Floppy Totaal aims to study the contemporary usage of past technology as a widespread cultural phenomenon. We have chosen to highlight the floppy diskette, because it is one of the more iconic examples of a medium that is considered obsolete. Even though the 3,5 inch floppy diskette has slowly moved towards redundancy around the turn of the century, mostly due to alternatives provided by the market, there are still many artists and researchers working with the medium and finding new uses for it today. Film- makers, musicians, programmers, painters, hackers, crafters, writers and archivists; All of these approach the floppy disk as a medium with specific qualities, utilizing its 1,44MB storage space for its possibilities instead of focusing on its limitations.