“We are living in an incredibly exciting and slightly absurd moment, namely that preservation is overtaking us." Rem Koolhaas, 2004 The gap between the present and what is left to be preserved of the past is diminishing rapidly. Global technological advances and the ubiquity of digital data have intensified demands to recall the cultural edifice that has come before. With the proliferation of the digital comes an opportunity to reimagine preservation as an immaterial practice; an ephemeral preservation. The cracked ankles of Michelangelo’s David could fail in an earthquake at any moment. Periods of consequential ancient architecture are being eradicated at the hands of militarized civilians and foreign bombs. The longevity of timeless cultural artifacts is increasingly at question - the rate at which architecture of significance is being recognized as such has been overtaken by the rate at which such architecture falls out of repair. With contemporary methods of documentation (e.g. three-dimensional scanning), artifacts are now able to take on a new life in the abstract realm of computation and code. Seemingly permanent, this mode of preservation feigns the flaws of human memory, which change with time and trauma. Physical environments which cease to exist physically (ie, those destroyed by man or nature) are otherwise manifest in language that is intangible and inexact. The computational construct can be sourced, transferred and manipulated with little effort, ensuring that this ephemeral preservation is the furthest from resisting change; it embraces change.
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