VINE­GAR SYN­DROME

Geist - - Residue -

The tangy smell of vine­gar in the ar­chive is usu­ally the first in­di­ca­tor of vine­gar syn­drome, a chem­i­cal break­down of cel­lu­lose ac­etate that pro­duces acetic acid. For con­ser­va­tors, the scent sig­nals the fugi­tive na­ture of pho­to­graphic archives. As we walked the stacks Lund­gren was on alert for con­tam­i­na­tion through her sense of smell. Pho­tograph­ing the ma­te­ri­als, we could smell the acid and felt a st­ing in the back of our throats, an un­ex­pected way to sense an archives.

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