Tape 342: That Dangerous Supplement

Cabinet Forensics. 43, (2011): 86-89.

In December 1973, a spool of 0.5-mm magnetic tapecontaining an 18½-minute gap was escorted by US Marshals to the Federal Scientific Corp. in Harlem for testing. Although the tape defied all technical efforts at conjuring its latent sound-ghosts, it was understood as harbouring important trace evidence that might testify to Nixon’s criminality in the Watergate break-in. Fear of disturbing the remaining few magnetic particles that clung to the gap meant that after its initial testing, Tape342, as it is officially known, was sealed and deposited in the vaults of the US National Archives and RecordsAdministration. There it has lain undisturbed in cryogenic sleep for over thirty years, waiting for that moment when the kiss of technological progress will reawaken it. The archive leverages the crisis of the past,the partial erasure of Tape 342, against the projected forensics of the future, wagering that further developments in technology will restore its lost speech acts