Digital Antiquities is a 15-minute science-fiction film that considers the social impact of data recovery in the not-too-distant future.
Its summary states, “By 2036, data loss has become a thing of the past. All digital media is instantly uploaded to the internet and permanently stored in the cloud, safely backed-up on servers scattered around the world. Only a handful of small businesses in the world have the expertise to recover data from pre-cloud devices. On a hot summer day, a young man named Kai visits Digital Antiquities, a store in eastern Pennsylvania specializing in data recovery and sales of vintage electronics. He shows Cat, the store’s only employee, an old compact disc left to him from his deceased mother and asks her to recover its contents.”
The film is part of Futurestates and the Independent Television Service, created with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Future States is a series of short narrative films using topics from today’s complex social issues as vehicles to explore what life in America might be like in the not-too-distant future.
The film, written and directed by J.P. Chan, doesn’t draw any overt conclusions about digital preservation but its cluttered, Bladerunner-ish appearance makes a visual point about obsolescence and how today’s technology is tomorrow’s junk. The human drama of data loss is always in the background though. As Cat, the film’s professional data recoverer, said, “My customers…they come to me with these old memory cards and hard drives and hope I can recover the past for them.”
“Digital Antiquities” is an entertaining vehicle for raising public awareness about digital preservation. If you would like to contact Mr. Chan, email [email protected].