Focusing on the vulnerability of digital data, Digital Amnesia ponders the sustainability of modern artifacts that have no material state. Notable archivists share their perspectives on the Digital Age and whether it poses great promise or threat to the longevity of digital information and our collective memory.
Of the many quirky and amicable characters interviewed throughout the film, one of the most notable is Brewster Kahle, the passionate and energized founder of Internet Archive, whose mission is to preserve the Internet itself. Kahle explains his organization’s purpose, highlighting the Wayback Machine website where users can access snapshots of pages long defunct.
Though the Archive exists primarily in the digital realm, Kahle guides us through the Archive’s physical headquarters, cautioning viewers that without a reminder of our past we’re destined to live in “an Orwellian state of the constant present.” Kahle’s affable sense of sentimentality is especially evident when he reveals a room populated by honorary statues built to resemble his long-term employees and pioneers of the Internet.