Permanence is relative. “Don’t get a tattoo of something stupid,” my stepmom would say, “it’s permanent.” But once my body fades over time, so does my tattoo. Our awareness of our own immortality forces us to question the nature of time. Our engagement and hyper-fetishization of technology in our everyday lives questions the idea of permanence and ephemerality. We understand digital images as being permanent, but only in relation to our bodily selves. The computers, phones, and servers that store our digital archives might outlive us, but their lifespans are not infinite. Images are impacted by time and engagement, and thus are just as immortal, ephemeral, and poor as our aging bodies.
The immortality of digital images is amplified by our contemporary digital communication. Despite the absurdity of memes, ephemera, and images we share, they have become normalized additions to our daily vocabulary. The inside jokes we create with our daily communication alters the meanings of the original images themselves. With each new additional save, the original image ages into something entirely new. These new images age and evolve simultaneously with us and play an increasingly crucial role in our definition of contemporary communication.