An AIP for a Digital Deep Cut: Kutiman’s Off Grid

Currently, my AIP for Off Grid is 100% “make believe,” so unfortunately there is nothing yet to download. Still, I will provide details regarding each folder series—web pages, videos, documentary materials, and working files—and subseries. Every series includes a readme document that provides contextual information to users. (Excuse the lack of good normalized file names! This factor was simply overlooked, as I was only creating dummy files to populate the model AIP.)


Web Pages
This is where the sites preserved using Archive-It will be housed. The folder includes:
• The current instance of (dedicated to Off Grid)
• The YouTube page for Off Grid
• The YouTube pages for all of Off Grid’s 95 component videos
• Websites that embed, critique, or provide write-ups on Off Grid

As discussed in my statement of preservation intent, the YouTube pages will be crawled at regular intervals in order to show change over time. Kutiman’s personal website will only be captured once since it is a temporary showcase for Off Grid. Of course, I’ll intermittently peek at the site just in case Kutiman develops the site in an unexpected direction.

The fourth bullet point gave me a bit of difficulty. Originally I had placed these web sites in the Documentary Materials folder because I figured that they helped a future user understand how Off Grid was received and spread throughout the internet. Yes, these sites do provide that function, but sticking them in a folder separate from the “official” Off Grid sites is betraying too much focus on the individual author. I am interested in preserving Off Grid as a window into participatory internet culture, not just as a set of cool videos. For this reason, I feel that my series and subseries need to walk the walk, even if it means that the Web Pages folder may look slightly intimidating to a user at first blush. But, hey, that’s what Readme files are for.

This folder contains the access copies of all the YouTube videos for Off Grid and its component videos. Using ClipGrab all the videos will be saved as MPEGS4s, as the format is the standard for streaming media and looks to remain well supported. The original format of the video will be documented in its metadata (ClipGrab easily allows one to identify the original format) and the videos are saved at the highest level of quality available. Metadata is generated for these videos and stored in a separate file. I went with a PBCore application profile since it is well-suited, recommended, and I am familiar with it.

Documentary Materials
This folder contains materials that help provide additional context to future users and, as such, holds the largest potential variety of formats. The folder includes:
• PDFs of interview questions and responses sent to creators of the component videos via email form (thanks to Alice for the tip! P.S. would this need to go through IRB?)
• “Making of” videos (likely stored as MPEG4s, though none currently exist so I can’t be 100% sure at this time)

The only lingering doubt I have with this folder is related to the earlier problem I noted regarding the fourth bullet point in the Web Pages folder. Materials that document Off Grid are also materials that tend to embed the work and spread it throughout the internet. This means that a website featuring an interview with Kutiman about the making of Off Grid could be included in both the Web Pages and Documentary Materials folders. I decided that the Documentary Materials folder would be best suited for static documents (non-web pages) that discuss the work. Most of these documents don’t exist yet and will likely be generated through the efforts of my institution, so that’s another way to look at them.

Working Files
The working files are something that can only be obtained through Kutiman and, as such, they aren’t here! I am under the impression that the files are created in Sony Vegas Pro, but this has yet to be confirmed. This folder series is thus a placeholder until more information can be obtained. Still, knowing how the affordances of the various platforms used to produce YouTube videos come into play is important toward understanding participatory internet culture.

Two of the big challenges in designing this AIP were my inability to contact Kutiman and the relatively small amount of buzz it has gotten online—especially when compared to Thru You (*raises fist toward sky* Eriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiic!!!!!!!). As I mentioned in my statement of significance, it is essentially viral-proof with its long running time and “out there” music. Also, the work was only released in February, so it simply hasn’t been out very long. However, I think that my planning for the AIP allows things to be added quite easily in the future, such as the working files and interviews.

3 Replies to “An AIP for a Digital Deep Cut: Kutiman’s Off Grid”

  1. AIP = Archival Imaginary Package? Yeah, I made one of those too.

    I’m seeing some chatter about writing various sections of finding aids as Wikipedia articles, then linking to the article in the finding aid — so, kind of reversing the usual order of things wherein static archival description feeds the editable article. I wonder if Off-Grid would be a good candidate for this approach given how new it is and how far into the future you expect derivative works and reactions to start showing up. Fans might be quick to update Wikipedia and help gather whatever information is out there. Archival description for the cult classic?

  2. I find that AIPs can vary dramatically depending on what kind of service/system you are using as well as how much complexity is involved. My AIP for example was just a URL, name, date, and title. Conversely in a different class an AIP consisted of an xml file.

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