Most of the signals we receive or recover are partial: fragments from a larger whole, glimpses into stories that may never fully be uncovered. We are familiar with the line “Fragments are the only form I trust,” from Donald Barthelme’s story “See the Moon.” And yet that story was first published in 1966, well before analog and then digital media cemented fragments as an untrustworthy form and way of thinking. That line’s electric future-telling has long since lost its charm. The Lost Signals Collection aims to demystify such fragments by bringing them out into the open, making them available for speculation, investigation, interrogation. Through the rituals of narrative we hope to coax them back into the stories they were meant to tell.
Below is one such audio fragment referring to a familiar yet unknown person here at the archives, a person who is has “done something wrong.” It’s becoming clear that what we first thought were many different people are/is, in fact, likely the same person. Over tens of thousands of archived audio recordings at least 7,000, so far, refer to this wrongful person.