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On Planetary In 2020: Curatorial Activism And Open Sourcing In Service Of Digital Preservation

July 2020

Published onJul 31, 2020
On Planetary In 2020: Curatorial Activism And Open Sourcing In Service Of Digital Preservation

Chan, Seb. "On Planetary In 2020: Curatorial Activism And Open Sourcing In Service Of Digital Preservation"  Fresh and New  (48)(June 2020)(https://sebchan.substack.com/p/48-on-planetary-in-2020-curatorial). - This piece presents a fascinating journey through an act of ‘curatorial activism’ by staff at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, when in 2013 they acquired and released the source code (with an open licence) to the iOS app called Planetary. Designed for the Apple iPad, “Planetary has been described as a “visual music player”—an interactive visualization of a user’s music library”. It was downloaded approximately 7 million times. By acquiring and opening the source code, not just the closed source model, staff opened the door to the ongoing care and maintenance of this software. Comparing the management of the software to keeping a panda in a zoo, rather than a lifeless object in a museum, is an apt description. Chan outlines the future-focused curatorial reasons for the acquisition, links to an interesting preservation report on the software from 2019, then interviews a developer who brings the program back to life with a new piece of software Planetary Remastered. - WC

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