Several months ago I started working on a digital painting of the Frankenstein Monster but I ended up setting it aside to work on other projects. A couple days ago I decided I would take a stab at finishing it but discovered that the PSD file was corrupted. The file wouldn’t open! I immediately checked all of my external hard drives hoping that the file was safe and sound on one of my backup drives. To my dismay all of the copies I had were corrupted. I was totally fucked. I didn’t know if I should feel angry or depressed. I’ve lost files before, but this particular piece was showing some real promise and I was really happy with how the digital painting was progressing.
So I decided I would rebuild the Frankenstein Monster and make him bigger and better than before. I had a couple low resolution images of the piece in various stages of completion and I was able to use those images to begin the process of reconstructing the green beast. So far I’m pretty happy with how the second coming of the Frankenstein Monster is heading. It is always easier the second time around.
But this experience brings up a very important question about digital art and photography – How do you archive your digital files to ensure that your work will survive 100+ years of technological evolution? How do you ensure that your files will always be readable? Will you be able to open and edit a JPG file 100 years from now? Will there be a drive that can read a CD-ROM disk 100 years from now? Will digital art survive a nuclear holocaust? or will a single scratch erase all of history. Is the Mona Lisa the only thing that can survive the end of the world? Who knows.
Film and prints processed and stored in proper conditions have demonstrated the ability to remain virtually unchanged for 100+ years. Why not create film negatives / slides or prints of your digital images to help ensure the longevity of your digital artwork? That might be one solution.