'Searching for D-9.com in the archives: An archaeology of a film’s website' in Archives of the Digital

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Film marketing materials such as trailers and posters are regarded as ephemeral, but as they have migrated online, they have become increasingly pervasive and intriguing forms, colonizing the spaces before, between and beyond the film itself. The distinctions between promotion and content have become blurred, and arguably, some marketing campaigns have become as entertaining as the films they promote, which raises questions about the cultural value of these ephemera. In setting out to investigate what film websites contribute to the narrative ecology of the film, the award-winning promotional website for Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (2009) promised to be a good starting point. However, the research did not get off to an auspicious start because shortly after it began, the site disappeared. The article gives an account of a media archaeological excavation undertaken to search for D-9.com. A search led to encounters with a wide range of digital archives including the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, the Webby awards as well the ‘new’ generation of Web 2.0 archives such as blogs, YouTube and social media sites. In the light of this journey, the article will reflect on digital archives from what media theorist Wolfgang Ernst referred to as the ‘machine perspective’ and how the mechanisms of the digital archives condition the way we know things about the recent digital past. It will conclude by suggesting that these archival encounters in this project revealed as much about the nature of digital archives as online film marketing and promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)79-93
Number of pages15
JournalInteractions: Studies in Communication and Culture
VolumeVol 8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • District 9
  • Wayback Machine
  • Archive.org
  • Film Archives
  • Film marketing and promotion
  • virtual archaeology
  • Media archaeology


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