A gray lizard with yellow spots sits quietly on a tree stump, as digital cameras revolve around it. Click, click, click—the lizard is captured from every angle. Our Ark begins with a company that is making 3D copies of every animal on Earth—starting with the endangered species. A kind of virtual Noah’s ark.
Filmmakers Deniz Tortum and Kathryn Hamilton use this digital recording process as the starting point for a visual essay. Now that we have the technological capabilities, we’re trying make a sort of back-up of the entire world—forests are being digitally archived, as are monuments, and even everyday objects like garbage bags.
Shots of natural objects alternate with their 3D duplicates; the commentary offers explanation, but at the same time leaves room for us to ask our own questions. Who are all these digital archives for? What purpose is served by our urge to record everything? Do we hope to be able to bring this world back to life? And what happens to our notion of the real world if we think we can reduce it to ones and zeros?