objects, aura and technology

The Museum Computer Network Keynote by Kevin Slavin was a really excellent start to the conferences sessions, not only because Kevin’s work is brilliant (tagging sharks! Inspired!).  But because he talked up the work of Walter Benjamin, discussing broad principles of the “aura” around works of art and issues of mechanical production.  It just goes to show that the technology might be newer and more flashy but the key questions don’t really change.   Even in the exciting world of ambient, pervasive technology there is the question of  how, why, and what produces aura and how is this understood, and what is at stake, what might be gained, what might be lost.

Every object  has a story to tell, a biography, as well as a physical presence – the aura of authenticity. Can museums amplify this with replication, or diminish it?
Kevin belives It’s about connecting people to people throug objects. And that the museums goal should be to amplify the question instead of answering it. So what can digital technology do to amplify objects aura, rather than diminish it?

Too often museums cloud objects with hoards of information, raw data, interpretations, endless answers to an unknown question.  Does information just cloud people’s view of the object? And adding technology into the mix does that complicate things even further?

So strip everything back  “The job of technology is not to give us new things to look at, but new ways to see”

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