From Umberto Eco’s essay Casablanca, or, The Clichés are Having a Ball:
“Thus Casablanca is not just one film. It is many films, an anthology. Made haphazardly, it probably made itself, if not actually against the will of its authors and actors, then at least beyond their control. And this is the reason it works, in spite of aesthetic theories and theories of film making. For in it there unfolds with almost telluric force the power of Narrative in its natural state, without Art intervening to discipline it.
And so we can accept it when characters change mood, morality, and psychology from one moment to the next, when conspirators cough to interrupt the conversation if a spy is approaching, when whores weep at the sound of “La Marseillaise.” When all the archtypes burst in shamelessly, we reach Homeric depths. Two cliches make us laugh. A hundred cliches move us. For we sense dimly that the cliches are talking among themselves, and celebrating a reunion… Something has spoken in place of the director. If nothing else, it is a phenomenon worthy of awe.”
I’d like to see more of this kind of thing, and bringing the archetypes of three-dimensional artwork into the reunion seems not only feasible, but imperative.
The most valuable and durable place for art to be preserved is in an endless series of living memories and in a living, vibrant, and anarchic popular culture. The names and forms will be changed and lost over time, but the substance can survive, adapt, and reconfigure. As the icons converse, they’ll create new meaning, new rhymes, and new jokes—always building on the past, always creating more and more and more. Digitizing all of it is an important step in making the Narrative as rich as possible and in making it last.