Digital Amnesia is an inspirational documentary about the vulnerability of digital data and how it impacts our collective memory. The film delves into the sustainability and longevity of modern artifacts that exist in a digital state, featuring notable archivists who share their perspectives on the Digital Age.
One of the key figures in the documentary is Brewster Kahle, founder of Internet Archive. His mission is to preserve the Internet itself, with its Wayback Machine website which allows users to access snapshots of webpages long gone. As Kahle guides us through his physical headquarters, he speaks about how important it is for us to remember our past rather than living in a “constant present” state. He emphasizes this point by revealing a room full of honorary statues built to resemble his long-term employees and pioneers of the Internet.
The film also features Dr. Ismail Serageldin, director of the Library of Alexandria. Viewers are taken on a journey with him as he travels to Amsterdam in an effort to rescue a vast collection of books from destruction. In one poignant scene while sitting amidst starkly empty shelves, he implores everyone to honor books as they are “living pieces of memories”. Alexander Rose, director of The Long Now Foundation later explains that with technology advancing at such a rapid pace and digital data having an ephemeral nature, much material will be lost unless we take steps towards preserving it now for future generations. To demonstrate this concept, Rose introduces viewers to The 10,000-Year Clock project run by The Long Now Foundation – an impressive mechanical clock designed to tick once a year for ten thousand years which symbolizes long-term thinking – contrasting the lightning pace of attention span today.
Digital Amnesia offers viewers insight into what archivists are doing in order to maintain information across time and prevent it from disappearing into oblivion forever. This thought-provoking film carries with it an important message for all – that we must create our mark in history so that future generations may benefit from our experiences and learnings. If you wish to gain insight into how individuals are striving to ensure this happens then Digital Amnesia is definitely worth watching!