Sarah Kenderdine is Professor of Digital Museology, Head of Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+), and Director and lead Curator at EPFL Pavilions, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. She researches at the forefront of interactive and immersive experiences for galleries, libraries, archives and museums. In widely exhibited installation works, she has amalgamated cultural heritage with new media art practice, especially in the realms of interactive cinema, augmented reality and embodied narrative.
In 2017, Kenderdine was appointed Professor of Digital Museology at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) where she teaches and supervises students on the Doctoral Program Digital Humanities and the Doctoral Program in Architecture and Sciences of the City. Since then, she has built a new laboratory for experimental museology, eM+, which explores the convergence of aesthetic practice, visual analytics and cultural (big) data. eM+ engages in research from scientific, artistic and humanistic perspectives, and promotes post-cinematic multisensory engagement using experimental platforms.
In her role as Director and lead Curator of the new art/science initiative, EPFL Pavilions, she works towards reaching beyond object-oriented curation, to blend experimental curatorship and contemporary aesthetics with open science, digital humanism and emerging technologies. EPFL Pavilions is an amplifier for art and science in society, and a meeting place for all disciplines.
Inhabited Information Spaces: a “Landscapes for the Senses”
Speech, it seems, is little more than an ugly convenience for sharing data. . . All science is in some sense painting: it is the eye that thinks.
–Daniel Albright, Panaesthetics, 2014
In 1889 the curator G. B. Goode of the Smithsonian Institute delivered an anticipatory lecture entitled “The Future of the Museum” in which he said “this future museum would stand side by side with the library and the laboratory.”1 Convergence in collecting organisations propelled by the liquidity of digital data now sees them reconciled as information providers in a networked world. The media theorist Lev Manovich described this world-order as “database logic,” whereby users transform the physical assets of cultural organisations into digital assets to be uploaded, downloaded, visualized, shared by users who treat institutions not as storehouses of physical objects but rather as datasets to be manipulated.2 This presentation explores how such a mechanistic description can be replaced by ways in which computation has become “experiential, spatial and materialized; embedded and embodied.”3 It was at the birth of the Information Age in the 1950s that the prominent designer György Kepes of MIT said “information abundance” should be a “landscapes of the senses” that organizes both perception and practice.4 This “felt order,” he said, should be “a source of beauty, data transformed from its measured quantities and recreated as sensed forms exhibiting properties of harmony, rhythm and proportion.”5
Archives call for the creation of new prosthetic architectures for the production and sharing of archival resources. At the intersection of immersive visualisation technologies, visual analytics, aesthetics, and cultural (big) data, this presentation explores diverse digital cultural heritage experiences of diverse archives from scientific, artistic and humanistic perspectives. Exploiting a series of experimental and embodied platforms, the discussion argues for a reformulation of engagement with digital archives at the intersection of the tangible and intangible and as a convergence across domains. The performative interfaces and repertoires described demonstrate opportunities to reformulate narrative in a digital context and the ways they support personal affective engagement with cultural memory.
1.Goode, G. B. (1891). The museums of the future. Report of the National Museum, 1888–’89, 1(1), 427–445.
2.Pepi, M. (2014), ‘Is a Museum a Database?: Institutional Conditions in Net Utopia’, eFlux Journal: December 2014).
3.Berry, D. & Dieter, M. (2015), Thinking Postdigital Aesthetics: Art, Computation and Design. Palgrave Macmillan.
4.Kepes, G. (1956), The New Landscape in Art and Science. Chicago: Paul Theobald: 24.
5.Halpern, O. (2014), Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945. Duke University Press: 14.