Skip to content →

Do Digital Artifacts Stand Outside the Stream of Time?

Greek and Roman Rooms at the Metropolitan Museum

 The Metropolitan Museum’s new Greek and Roman section is a revelation. When looking at the work you are deeply impressed with the power of the classical forms. But the other thing you learn is the sculpture, that today is simple white marble, was painted to simulate human appearance. The effects of time have uncovered the classic form in the work.

I wonder how the digital artifacts are our time will be viewed in 2,000 years. Presuming the file formats can be properly decoded, time will have had no effect on them. Color won’t fade, text will be just as readable, layouts will be intact. No noses lost, no missing arms, no papyrus scrolls with faded writing.  The digital will appear dated by language, hairstyles, turns of phrase and clothing. But the viewable artifact will appear exactly the same in 2,000 years, or for that matter in 1,000,000 years.

Published in art culture philosophy zettel

One Comment

  1. Interesting reflection, for sure. what about music? We know little of that of the Greek and Romans, as marble has long since stopped resonating, though it was no doubt rich. Sea shanties of the late 19th century are all but lost. Ours concoctions can be saved in their precise irrelevancy.

Comments are closed.