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Cultural Objects in the Age of Digital Access

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Presented at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Council of American Jewish Museums (http://www.cajm.net/annual-conference). Based on the research exhibition "Case Study No. 3 | Sound Objects," created …

Presented at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Council of American Jewish Museums (http://www.cajm.net/annual-conference). Based on the research exhibition "Case Study No. 3 | Sound Objects," created at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley, in 2012-2013 (http://bit.ly/sound-objects).


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  • 1. Cultural Objectsin the Age of Digital access Francesco Spagnolo, PhD The Magnes, UC Berkeley CAJM, NYC 2013
  • 2. CASE STUDY No. 3: SOUND OBJECTS http://bit.ly/sound-objects
  • 3. CASE STUDIES Research-based Exhibition Series @UC Berkeley• Foster collaborative research around museum curation• Enable innovative/unintended uses/interpretations• Experiment with modes of digital documentation
  • 4. Modes of Digital Documentation• Online texts and images (scribd.com; flickr.com)
  • 5. scribd.com is a social media platform for sharing written texts
  • 6. flickr.com allows to share and collaboratively annotate images(also allows to geolocate images, add dates, and other kinds of metadata…)
  • 7. Modes of Digital Documentation• Digital documentation of research and curatorial work (zotero.org ; linoit.com)
  • 8. linoit.com is a platform that allows to share and work collaboratively with annotations
  • 9. zotero.org allows to annotate online bibliographic resources, share them, and work collaboratively
  • 10. Modes of Digital Documentation• Content Management Systems as aggregators of digital content:• CMS (magnesalm.org)• Drupal (magnes.org)
  • 11. IDEA@ALM is a Collection Management System that integrates archive,library and museum metadata schemata with embedded social media content(Above: IDEA@ALM used at magnesalm.org to describe a paintingalongside a Google Maps Streetview of current location depicted in source)
  • 12. Drupal is a content management system that allows to aggregateand broadcast a variety of sources (database, social media, crowd sourced content, etc.) (Above: Drupal is used at magnes.org to aggregate content from flickr.com, scribd.com, and soundcloud.com locally generated content)
  • 13. Digital exhibitions mayintegrate:1.Exhibition display2.Database records3.Images (flickr)4.Texts (scribd)5.Sounds (soundcloud)6.Videos (youtube/vimeo)7.Planning (linoit)8.Research (zotero)9.Website hub & database(drupal)
  • 14. Research-based exhibitions encourage to examine:1. Relationship between cultural objects & digital surrogates2. Modes of re/presentation & interpretation3. Status of "online exhibitions"
  • 15. Sound Objects project components: 1. Teaching & Research• UC Berkeley seminar on multi-disciplinary study of Jewish liturgy (texts, sounds, music, objects, architecture, body language)• RESEARCH & DISCOVERY
  • 16. Sound Objects project components:2. Innovative Theoretical Approach SOUND STUDY OF SYNAGOGUE LIFE more at: performingtexts.wordpress.com bit.ly/sound-objects
  • 17. Sound Objects project components3. Curatorial Selection & Documentation• Integrated use of database + social media platforms• "Standard" research --> exhibition labels• Visual documentation --> exhibition images• Audio documentation --> exhibition sound clips EXPERIMENTAL CURATORIAL PRACTICE: "PLAYING" (HANDLING) OBJECTS
  • 18. Sound Objects project components 4. Presentation on-site & on-line
  • 19. Research Results Part I• PLACING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CULTURAL OBJECT & DIGITAL SURROGATE AT THE FOREFRONT• ENHANCED PROXIMITY (hear sound/evoke use, history, context...)• ENHANCED MEDIATION/DISTANCE (object /display case / hand-held device /software (app) / wireless or cellular connection / server and/or cloud)
  • 20. Research Results Part II• MODESOF RE/PRESENTATION & INTERPRETATION OF CULTURAL OBJECTS• AUDIO & VIDEO (not just text & images) as DIGITAL SURROGATES• AUDIO & VIDEO (not just text & images) as DESCRIPTIVE METADATA OPTIONS• (NARRATIVE) ROLE OF UIs (USER INTERFACES) and APPS
  • 21. Research Results Part III• QUESTIONING THE STATUS IF "ONLINE EXHIBITIONS"•A DIGITAL NARRATIVE entirely based on narrative capability of UIs (ontological approach)•A META-COLLECTION: collection of hybrid digital surrogates and associated descriptive metadata (epistemological approach)
  • 22. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?• More sophisticated UIs & Apps: better metadata manipulation• New(ish) platforms (Zeega, Popcorn Maker...) aggregate digital surrogates and metadata in less linear ways• Ontology and epistemology get closer Impossible to separate: Research from Presentation Metadata from Narrative

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