Where Do Websites Go When They Die? Not to Heaven
In an experimental project by architectural firm David Garcia Studio, dead websites will be archived and ‘buried’ deep below the earth in a Croatian cave.
The studio’s Dead Website Archive project tells of an age of data-loss paranoia, in which “hundreds of websites are shut down daily, constantly eliminating traces of our present culture”. It is proposing that relevant shut-down websites should be chosen and their contents cut out into thin polycarbonate A4 sheets to be stored in the Munizaba caves.
“In the depth of this natural hollow, the ‘website sheets’ are arranged chronologically, placed directly upon the topography, lit by LEDs and visited as one would a library, or a forest,” the studio explains. “Down here, websites become unique realities, housed in a single location, guaranteeing a lifespan of hundreds of years; an alternative to the fleeting existence of a hard disk.”
Why not just back-up the data, then?
The studio contends that digital media has a “frighteningly short lifespan”, so all the efforts to set up servers to make back-ups of the internet is missing the point—why back something up on the same (fragile) medium it is usually stored in?
If anything, while the project might not be economically feasible, it does spark a few academic and theoretical concerns about the nature of data and the digital medium—a future-shock anxiety toward the march of technology and its inevitable effects on human culture.
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