Digital zombies, cultural cryogenics and troubles with malware: an archaeological adventure in the archives
Over recent decades ‘transmedia story telling’ has become an established feature of contemporary film culture from The Blair Witch Project (1999) to Batman’s ‘Why so Serious?’(2008). In Convergence Culture Henry Jenkins defined these new stories by the way they ‘unfold across multiple media platforms with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole’(Jenkins: 2006), and they come in many guises from Tumblr pages to blogs, ARGs (alternative reality games) and full blown web based story worlds. My research project seeks to undertake an archaeological survey of these stories which are ‘out there’ on the web, to understand what factors are shaping their evolution and to diachronically map the development of this nascent narrative form. In the design of this project I have encountered three very different digital archives: Internet Archive (Wayback Machine), Digital Craft.org (based in Frankfurt ,Germany) and Movie Marketing Madness. This paper will provide an account of this experience and the questions it has thrown up about the preservation of this ‘enduring ephemeral’ (Chun:2011), material conservation and the implications of working with personal archives on the web. Lastly, in the light of this experience, the paper will raise some ontological concerns about the interactive in the digital archive.