Following on the success of the 2019 conference, “The Art Museum in the Digital Age,” the Belvedere Research Center will again organize an international conference focusing on the digital transformations effecting art museums. While the 2019 conference was devoted to the actuality of the digital and the questioning of the role of museums in the 21st century, the January 2020 conference will highlight the historical genesis of the digital in museums, from its analog predecessors to the post-digital era.
The digital will be observable “only by its absence and not by its presence,” wrote Nicholas Negroponte in 1998 in Beyond Digital, in which he announced the end of the digital revolution. Two years later, the composer Kim Cascone introduced the term “postdigital” as a genre designation for electronic music generated from digital interference signals. The established, yet controversial, concept of the postdigital (age), today designates a condition decisively characterized by the invisible omnipresence of the digital, among other things. Thus the digital functions “as a constitutive actor and integral component of our everyday life,” as Katja Kwastek argued in 2016. In this context, the re-evaluation of the digital becomes a pressing concern, given that the boundaries of the previously strictly dichotomous distinction between analog and digital are becoming increasingly blurred, and we are witnessing growing demands for hybrid forms (analog-digital combinations).
The two-day event will bring together interdisciplinary contributions from this point of view, which above all – but not exclusively – reflect on the following subject areas: Museum digital - in retrospect, The participatory museum, the digital image - what about the future?
Prof. Dr. Holger Simon (Pausanio Academy, Cologne) has accepted our invitation as keynote speaker.
Museum digital – in retrospective
The postdigital described above presupposes an earlier state. The entry of the digital into the (art) museum can only be understood within a larger historical context: for example, in debates on science and media theory, the introduction of zero in the Arab region around the year 1000, the dual system developed by Leibniz around 1700, and material innovations (e.g. tabulating machine) are seen as of decisive importance for the emergence of digital technology. But what conditions were necessary for the development of a digital culture in art museums? What precursors existed with regard to media, content, but also cataloguing and categorization as well as systems development and systematization? Furthermore, the question arises as to whether the methodological changes in art history and in museums triggered by the digital can be best described as continuous lines of development, as isolated phenomena, or as a radical paradigm shift?
The participatory museum
Originally debated in the United States, the call to allow visitors to participate actively in museum practice and, as a consequence, to free them from “isolation” as mere “passive” recipients, has become increasingly louder in Europe. The concept of participation, however, not only encompasses the idea of visitor engagement within the exhibition space, but also aims at a constantly changing interaction between institution and audience, whereby participation is understood, intentionally or inevitably, as an intervention in existing structures and work processes. Practical guidelines for museums, such as Nina Simon’s publication “Principles of Participation“ from 2010 and theoretical treatises on the subject, such as Anja Piontek’s “Museum and Participation” from 2017, are booming. In some museums, the participatory now appears to belong to everyday practice, especially where the focus is more on the audience. Yet to what extent is this a new phenomenon? The connection to social media seems evident. But could not the efforts of reform pedagogy to open museums to a broad public at the beginning of the 20th century cited by Piontek as well as the 2019 keynote speaker Hubertus Kohle also be mentioned here? Could the increased social orientation of museums around 1968, which was accompanied by institutional critique, be highlighted anew from this point of view? Submissions on this topic could both look back at earlier participatory processes in museums and describe current trends: What historical lines of development can be identified for the concept of the participatory, especially in the field of the digital? Are concepts of participation linked to technical/digital progress, and to what extent does one condition the other? In which contexts were and are aspects of the museum public’s participation to be determined?
And to what extent does participation, both today and in earlier times, mean the dissolution of a distance between the points of the constellation institution, audience and object?
The digital image – what about the future?
In an age of networked technical intelligence, the question of possible instantiations of the digital image once again arises. By being based on a binary sequence of numbers, the digital image eludes both a physically real reference and an unambiguously given dimension, while presenting itself as a flexibly changeable state. One of the potentials of the digital image lies hidden in this processual quality. The manifold possibilities of reproduction, structuring, categorization, contextualization, annotation and archiving of the rapidly expanding flood of images, now increasingly available on the Web, form the starting point for possible questions on this topic. To what extent do digital images elude principles of order (digital disorder & new messiness)? How are they made searchable (in an automated way) today and in the future? What role does the use of artificial intelligence (machine learning) play? And does our perception of the medium “image” change as a result of these new technical possibilities, from the two-dimensional digital surrogate of the analog (virtual semiosis) to virtual & augmented reality environments?
Welcome & Introduction
Christian Huemer, Johanna Aufreiter (Belvedere Wien)
Section 1: Museum without Walls
Chair: Markus Seidl (Fachhochschule St. Pölten)
From Networked Museums to Isolated Consumers
Trilce Navarrete (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Museum Without Walls | Audience Without Borders | Art Without Frames
Irina D. Costache (California State University Channel Islands)
Dis/Continuities and Digital (R)evolutions in the Participatory Museum
Chiara Zuanni (Universität Graz)
future.hybrid.experience. Postdigitale Konditionen, Virtuelle Erfahrungen, Hybride Räume
Eva Fischer (sound:frame, Wien)
Museum im digitalen Raum: Eine österreichische Bestandsaufnahme
Sabine Fauland (Museumsbund Österreich, Graz)
Gunther Reisinger (NOUS Wissensmanagement, Wien)
Section 2: Concepts of Participation
Chair: Miroslav Haľák (Belvedere, Wien)
Participation and Digital Development in the Contemporary Art Museum. Biennale, Guggenheim, Pinault and Further Venetian Examples after the Turn of the Millennium
Diego Mantoan (Università Ca' Foscari Venezia)
Extending the Museum: The Exhibition Visitor as a Cultural Producer
Giulia Cordin (Kunstuniversität Linz)
„Wie eine Reise rein ins Bild!“. Rezeption und Wirkung der VR-Installation „Mit dem Mönch am Meer“ in der Alten Nationalgalerie. Eine Untersuchung des Teilprojekts Visitor Journeys neu gedacht im Verbundprojekt museum4punkt0
Katharina Fendius; Josefine Otte (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz)
Vom Musentempel zum postdigitalen Museum. Ein Labor für die nächste Gesellschaft
Holger Simon (Pausanio Akademie, Köln)
Section 3: Visualising Digital Collections
Chair: Johanna Aufreiter (Belvedere Wien)
Arrangements und Assoziationen:
Sammlungsübergreifende Visualisierung musealer Bestände
Viktoria Brüggemann; Mark-Jan Bludau; Marian Dörk (Fachhochschule Potsdam)
Close-Up Cloud. Ikonografische Muster einer Sammlung in dynamischen Übersichten
Sarah Kreiseler (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg); Barbara Avila Vissirini (Fachhochschule Potsdam)
Tausend Postdigitale Plateaus. Zur Genese distanter Blicke auf kulturelle Sammlungen
Florian Windhager; Eva Mayr (Donau-Universität Krems)
Vom Binären zum Bipolaren. Instrumentalisierung der Extreme in der visuellen Kommunikation
Miroslav Haľák (Belvedere, Wien)
Die Modellierung der Ähnlichkeit. Neue Zugänge zu kunsthistorischen Bilddatenbanken
Stefanie Schneider (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Section 4: Linking Digital Collections
Chair: Martin Engel (Universität Wien)
Das partizipative Bild. Digitale Sammlungen außerhalb der Kunstmuseen – Ein Plädoyer für die Digitale Kunstgeschichte und Open-GLAM
Sonja Gasser (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Zwei Seiten einer Medaille – die Arbeit mit digitalen Bildbeständen. Am Beispiel des International Image Interoperability Framework
Ina Mertens (Abegg-Stiftung in Riggisberg, Bern)
‘God Save the Artwork’. From Artefacts to Linked Data: Copyright to Reconsider?
Giulia Dore (Università di Trento)
Chair: Christian Huemer (Belvedere Wien)
Sarah Kenderdine (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne)
Arthur K. Wheelock (National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC)