Sayers’s author statement introduces a Scalar project titled “Making the Perfect Record.” This project unpacks the often ignored, pre-1940s history of magnetic recording, with particular attention to how—through an interweaving of print fiction, sound transduction, storage media, audio playback, and visual culture—early magnetic recording materialized. In so doing, the essay offers scholars of both new and old media a sense of how we might better historicize the ostensible permanence and immateriality of contemporary data cultures and their digital economies. “Making the Perfect Record” is available on the Scalar platform at http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/00029831-2370230.

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