In conversation with E.C., I remembered an essay I hadn't read for years: "Kinko's and The Connection". Back in the day (ie, 1997), the sacramental mystery of the transformation of pixels to toner was my central concern. Since then, I've mostly left the world of CMYK. I miss the irreversibility of print. I miss the way toner reproduces inexactly, runs out, fades, smears. I know printouts aren't supposed to have what Benjamin would call an "aura" - but there's nothing really like feeding meltable plastic into a copier that costs more than you make in a year and waiting to see what comes out on the other end. I remember it fondly, I do.
When you place an "original" in the feeder of a copier you expect versions of that document to reproduce as closely to the original as possible. The truth of the document is determined by the quality of the copy. Yet Kinko's usually produces as many mistakes as it can quality copies. The Connection phenomena functions as one form of "mistake" in the massive production apparatus of Kinko's. Barter transactions, copyright violations, the kinds of customers who use Kinko's Connections, are the inevitable noise of a reproductive model of Kinko's business. The improper circumstances of my Kinko's experience lead me to an improper understanding of Kinko's philosophy: play instead of work, mutation instead of replication, barter instead of money transactions, toxic instead of a "clean" layout, and, most importantly, deformation over information.