a The Deleted City 3.1
The Deleted City 3.0
The Deleted City is a digital archaeology of the world wide web as it exploded into the 21st century. At that time the web was often described as an enormous digital library that you could visit or contribute to by building a home-page. The early citizens of the net (or netizens) took their netizenship serious, and built home-pages about themselves and subjects they were experts in. These pioneers found their brave new world at Geocities, a free web-hosting provider that was modelled after a city and where you could get a free "piece of land" to build your digital home in a certain neighbourhood based on the subject of your homepage. Heartland was – as a neighbourhood for all things rural – by far the largest, but there were neighbourhoods for fashion, arts and far east related topics to name just a few.

Around the turn of the century, Geocities had tens of millions of "homesteaders" as the digital tenants were called and was bought by Yahoo! for three and a half billion dollars. Ten years later in 2009, as other metaphors of the internet (such as the social network) had taken over, and the homesteaders had left their properties vacant after migrating to Facebook, Geocities was shutdown and deleted. In an heroic effort to preserve 10 years of collaborative work by 35 million people, the Archive Team made a backup of the site just before it shut down. The resulting 650 Gigabyte bit-torrent file is the digital Pompeii that is the subject of an interactive excavation that allows you to wander through an episode of recent online history.
This website is an interactive visualisation of the 650 gigabyte Geocities backup made by the Archive Team on October 27, 2009. It depicts the file system as a city map, spatially arranging the different neighbourhoods and individual lots based on the number of files they contain. In full view, the map is a data-visualisation showing the relative sizes of the different neighbourhoods. While zooming in, more and more detail becomes visible, eventually showing individual html pages and the images they contain.

The visualization is based on the 2009 backup by the Archive Team.

The images that appear on the map are hosted by Archive.org and are also available via the Wayback Machine.

This interactive Web map is based on the 2012 installation The Deleted City 1.0 and The Deleted City 2.0

Thanks to: David Bohnett, Jason Scott and the Archive Team, Vinay Goel and Wendy Hanamura at Archive.org, Kirsten Tashev, Marc Weber and John Hollar at the Computer History Museum.

The Deleted City has been exhibited at: The Computer History Museum (U.S.A.) 2016, The Internet Archive (U.S.A.) 2016, The Barbican (UK) 2014, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA) 2013, OUDEIS (FR) 2013, Counterpath Gallery (USA), Cultura Digital (Brazil) 2012, IMPAKT Festival (Netherlands) 2012

Made by Richard Vijgen in 2017

The Deleted City
is designed for Chrome

download Chrome
To visit the Deleted City, use a modern html5 and webGL enabled browser like Google Chrome
Scroll to zoom in and out or use the search bar to find a specific neighborhood.