The flash drive with a figurine of one of the Harry Potter characters – Luna Lovegood, is an object combining technological progress with the civilizational evolution.  It shows how deeply Harry Potter and other characters from the series have been adapted to our culture. From a technical perspective, it is just a device not bigger than a human finger, allowing for the easy transfer of data via a USB connection. However, its physical size cannot be compared in any way with its culturally significancy – especially for the Virtual Time Capsule project.

flash drives vs. cloud storage

The time when people used memory sticks is just a small fragment – compared to how much and how fast technology developed in the first 20 years of the 21st century. It is estimated that the first memory sticks began to appear in the late 2000s (Wikipedia). Within a few years, they had gained enormous popularity – in everyday use, but also in academia. Reports, data, presentations, etc. could be easily transferred from one computer to another using one small device. A couple of years after these devices appeared, they started to be everywhere; in our pockets, bags, or boxes (Dourish, 2016).

pile of flash drives, source @Campus Technology

However, according to Wilken and Kennedy’s research (2021) on USB data storage, ‘cloud storage will eventually render USBs obsolete’ (Wilken & Kennedy, 2021). And this obsolescence can already be seen today.

Twelve years later, after the first memory sticks appeared – Google launched their online file storage – Google Drive. Also often referred to as the ‘cloud’, the digital storage space revolutionizes the way data is maintained. Google Drive is just one example of cloud storage service, there are also many other similar websites such as Dropbox, iCloud, digital data transfer system – WeTransfer and more.

It is believed that the way files are stored and organised in the cloud is a revolutionary invention of the 21st century. Sadik (2016) claims that ‘they provide many solutions for 21st century students who work remotely and need to access and share their files remotely’. (Sadik, 2016) But it is not just about data storage. The convenience of people being able to access and organise their files online, from anywhere in the world with the internet connection, is an undeniably important invention of the contemporary age. And this fact may call into question the point of existence and use of flash drives in 2022.

Yet, going back to Dourish (2016) it is worth noting that the one condition that must be met to support cloud storage – an internet connection – may also be their biggest drawback. Flash drives’ storage capacity, portability and offline operationality might suggest ‘that there are likely to be high levels of continued use for the foreseeable future’ (Dourish, 2016 in: Wilken & Kennedy, 2021), especially if their shape evokes good connotations to its user.

who is luna lovegood?

Video 1: Luna Lovegood helping Harry Potter in ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ movie

I think they think I’m a bit odd, you know. Some people call me ‘Loony’ Lovegood, actually.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Luna Lovegood is a character we are introduced to in the fifth part of the Harry Potter adventure series – the Order of the Phoenix. From the very beginning she captures the attention of the audience thanks to her originality, quirkiness, and truthfulness. In the video above, we can see Luna helping Harry on the Hogwarts Express train. The ‘Specterspecs‘ glasses she is wearing during this scene are one of the most important and striking elements of this 3D model. Thanks to them – she managed to see Harry’s body under the invisibility cloak and rescue him.

object’s societal relevance

It is almost impossible to find a home where there is not at least one Harry Potter book on the shelf, particularly the representative of two age ranges: millennials (Gen y) and Gen z, who grew up with J.K. Rowling’s books. It is also rare to find someone – especially in a group of peers – who has never watched at least one film about this magical universe. The official Wizarding World/Pottermore website reported in 2018 that Harry Potter has surpassed 500 million copies, been translated into 80 languages. Although the first book ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ was published in 1996 – its film adaptation in 2001 shook the world and brought magic into the 21st century.

Popular culture may be further defined as ‘common culture’. When thinking of Harry Potter, it is hard not to associate it with a worldwide popular culture phenomenon thanks to its enormous fame and a large audience. According to Dustin Kidd (2007), pop culture is a ‘healthy element of a modern society’. (Kidd, 2007)

The story of Harry, his family and friends are also a collection of many ever-present socially relevant themes (f.e. equal existence of magical and normal ‘muggle’ world, Harry being an orphan, Harry’s best friend Ron coming from a poverty-stricken family, etc.) and specific objects, which are reminding Potter’s fans of its existence. As a result, fans need something to remind them of these things in their real life. This is when masses of products with likenesses of our favorite characters, their wands, mugs with their names on them, socks and much, much more come into play.

Video 2: The biggest private collection of Harry Potter items in the world

The case shown in the video above is rather extreme, as it showcases the largest collection in the world, but it gives an idea of how Harry Potter memorabilia stirs up emotions for its true admirers. The character presents many objects related to special moments in the books and movies as well as memorabilia from them. Even if all these things did not really happen because they are products of the Harry Potter author’s imagination, their importance is such that all these memory objects have seeped into everyday life of people’s life.

This presents how memory technologies work, which are ‘what and how we remember, both individually and collectively’ (van der Heijden, 2015). Memory processes ‘cannot be seen apart from the media technologies that enables’ them (van der Heijden, 2015). ‘Technostalgia’ can be also referred to as a ‘strong media interest from the past’ (van der Heijden, 2015). In the case of this 3D model, the object of medium interest that connects the heroine to her fans is the film adaptation, which we can see in Video 1 above. People who read the book could somehow imagine Luna from the description that J.K. Rowling created. However, without the visualisation that the film provided us with – the famous Luna’s glasses ‘The ‘Specterspecs’ would not have been the highlight of this flash drive.

luna lovegood flash drive in the virtual time capsule

Luna Lovegood Flash Drive combines the phenomenon of the Harry Potter series, which has been a symbol of pop culture for more than 20 years, with the unremitting and unstoppable technological progress. Moreover, it is also a symbol showing that the originality and specific strangeness of the character is not a disadvantage. It can give reflection and be a symbol for those who feel in some way differently from the rest of society.

A flash drive with Luna Lovegood’s figurine can be an object to help in this regard. It does not matter if we use it as it should – because in fact, as a memory stick, it is supposed to serve us to store data and organise files. The fact that the object will not be used due to the emergence of newer and more convenient technological solutions – such as Google Drives – will not dissuade Harry Potter fans from the need to collect such objects. What is more important is what this object represents, and it is above all a symbol of technological development and its connection to an important element of a common culture of the 21st century.  

how well do you know the story of this 3d model?


Name: Luna Lovegood Flash Drive

3D Model

Creator: Adrianna Lasinkiewicz

Date: 24-01-2022

Place: Elbląg, Poland

Themes: Technology and Society

Captured with iPhone 12

Processed with Agisoft Metashape Professional, 
Software run on Windows 8 Pro (64-bit)


Physical Object

Size: 5 x 3.2 x 2.2 cm

Weight: 65 g

Material: Rubber, Aluminium


Dourish, P. (2016, June 30). Why Flash Drives Are Still Everywhere. The Atlantic. Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

Google Drive. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

Kidd, D. (2007). Harry Potter and the Functions of Popular Culture. The Journal of Popular Culture, 40(1), 69–89.

Sadik, A. (2016). Students’ acceptance of file sharing systems as a tool for sharing course materials: The case of Google Drive. Education and Information Technologies, 22(5), 2455–2470.

USB flash drive. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 20, 2022, from

Wilken, R., & Kennedy, J. (2022). Everyday data cultures and USB portable flash   drives. International Journal of Cultural Studies25(2), 192–209.

van der Heijden, T. (2015). Technostalgia of the present: From technologies of memory to a memory of technologies. NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, 4(2), 103–121.