Saturday, 19 February 2011

badische anilin und soda fabrik

BASF was founded in 1865 to produce coal tar dyes. Its first products were aniline dyes, whose success was enmeshed with that of the textile industry. In 1871 the red dye alizarin was synthesised. Other synthetic pigments followed… Production shifted away from colour stuffs to fertilisers in the early twentieth century, and in the 'stabilsation' years BASF merged with IG Farben as part of a rationalisation of the chemical industry. At this time production concentrated on synthetic rubber, fuels, operating agents and surface coatings, as well as advancing a sideline in recording technologies [notably magnetic tape for the Magnetophone recording device].

Synthetic Worlds / Esther Leslie / Reaktion / 2005

The interface between coal and steel is coal-tar. Imagine coal, down in the earth, dead black, no light… Growing older, blacker, deeper, in layers of perpetual night…
A thousand different molecules waited in the preterite dung. This is the sign of revealing. Of unfolding.This is one meaning of mauve, the first new colour on Earth, leaping to Earth's light from its grave miles and aeons below.

Pynchon / Gravity's Rainbow


…the rotten shimmer

Magnetic tape recording, which simulates the physical grooves of a phonograph record via continuous magnetically alterable particles, was first demonstrated by BASF/AEG in 1935 (Schoenherr), although this development did not reach the United States until the Allied forces captured Radio Luxembourg in 1944, discovering “a new Magnetophone of extraordinary capabilities” (Kittler, 1999:106).

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