Showing posts with label digital culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label digital culture. Show all posts

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Speaking on Digital Cultures at Collège des Bernardins in Paris


This international conference at the Collège des Bernardins was on the topic of "L’humain au défi du numérique". Basically, it focused on digital & cultural diversity. Following the work of Milad Doueihi, the Chair of the Collège des Bernardins on "The human being with the digital challenge", the study day "Numerique & Diversité culturelle" proposes to examine the digital experience in other regions of the world and the possibility of thinking differently, using different methodologies and categories of thought. Can we still study digital culture, or produce an audible discourse on it, without systematically discussing the issue of digitization, encoding, mapping, data and usage? The meeting of computer science with the human and social sciences seems to have tightened the perimeter of the latter. The suspicion that weighs since their origins on their scientificity and their social utility is thus based, at a time when public funding is always demanding more "results" applicable.

Faced with an institutional restructuring in progress, which imposes laboratories a hard model of scientificity, the colloquium "Numerique & Diversité culturelle" draws from diverse voices. What should a number of academic disciplines (anthropology, communication, etc.) and actors (artists, engineers), usually little understood, have to tell us about digital culture? How does the latter, for example, work our perception of ethnic groups? What relationships do we have with these "non-human" robots? What are the alternatives to western platforms, such as Google or Facebook, and what new culture do they create? Etc. The notion of "diversity" is thus to be understood in two ways: diversity of approaches to studying digital culture; Diversity of its "inhabitants", which deserve our attention.

To respond to this program, the colloquium "Numerique & Diversité culturelle" of the Collège des Bernardins brought together international actors whose work focuses on several issues (activism, robotics, standardization of Internet standards, etc.) and Other parts of the world, such as Asia, the Middle East or India.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Paper out on 'YouTube as the art commons' in the Digital Culture & Education Journal


I am so proud of my recently graduated master students Jessica Verboom and Daria Gladysheva for successfully working together on this paper and getting it published in the Digital Culture and Education Journal. So far, in the last 5 years, I have co-published 4 articles with my students and I hope many more to come. Its good to see their work reaching the public as we are mainly targeting open access journals for wider readership.

So this paper is about the phenomenon of museum communication through online video hostings, either by using YouTube or a customized platform. The videos uploaded by museums present a combination of educational and entertaining content depending on their objectives, attracting users to watch art content online. While the literature on uses and gratification is highly represented in media studies, few studies exist about the specific user motivations and gratifications of new media platforms in a museum context. Three types of users were identified in this study. The first type – art-oriented users – display extrinsic motivation towards art exploration and seek for videos with educational content. The second type and the most widespread on these spaces – entertainment-oriented users – are intrinsically motivated and concentrate on the entertaining content of museum videos. Users of the last type are averse to exploring art content online, unless they are defined as non-art related. Overall, this paper argues that as art becomes a cultural product to be consumed online, popular video portals such as YouTube serve as an important platform to facilitate this democratizing effect, with varied implications for the art world.

We should not be too quick to celebrate democratization though as quality comes to question and the age old issue of pandering to the popular taste lingers through this conversation. That said, this has most promise to engage the youth and folks in emerging economies who perceive museums as a predominantly white and elite institution that excludes rather than democratizes culture. For more details on this, click on the link here

Friday, May 10, 2013

Expertise. The judgment between art history, technology, law and market


Next week my colleague Filip Vermeylen and I are heading to Zurich for a speaking engagement on art expertise in the digital age. This colloquium is being organized by the Swiss Institute for Art Research (SIK-ISEA), Institute of Art History at the University of Zurich and the Centre of Cultural Law (ZKR) at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Looking forward to what apparently is going to be a very 'Swiss' experience as the talks will be in German, English and French with simultaneous translations! 

Besides, this could not have come at a better time as we just published a paper in the Information, Communication and Society Journal that speaks directly to this topic. Basically, the premise for our talk is based on the fact that at this point, few challenge the fact that recent developments in the art world are hugely impacting the process of knowledge construction in the arts and the valorization process in the art market. According to some observers, the digital revolution has sounded the death knell of the traditional art connoisseurs who are increasingly being replaced by amateur experts such as bloggers and casual online commentators. This development is seen as part of a larger shift within an art world that is under pressure to communicate and treat the public as active consumers rather than passive recipients. Traditional intermediaries such as museums are being compelled to become more accessible and engaging with their audiences through new media platforms. The Internet as a medium of easy access, with its populist, audience-expanding interactivity allows for new actors and exchanges to emerge and play out through its 'participatory culture'. For instance, mostly young bloggers with a profile far removed from the traditional art critic now capture a large audience of online readership interested in fine art exhibitions. However, others believe that is precisely in this environment marked by a plethora of voices and its confusion on art quality (and especially on issues concerning the authenticity of artworks) that there is an increased need for trusted, trained gatekeepers with firm institutional linkages to museums, auction houses and other vested institutions. 

So, Filip and I  have dealt with the history of art expertise in an earlier paper, and will expand/shift our focus for the Zurich conference to gauge the impact of the Internet in shaping decisions on art value and whether the traditional role of institution as expert and the public as amateur has been reconstituted through new media. For this purpose, we draw on empirical research being conducted at Erasmus University in Rotterdam on the impact of both the traditional experts and critics and the expert amateur. In addition, we ascertain to what extent technical intermediaries can exert market power. For instance, technical innovations applied by the Art Genome Project and Art.sy rely on a characteristics-approach to establish linkages and similarities between artworks and schools. These and comparable initiatives ultimately construct rubrics of criteria that are used to determine what constitutes good art, both in terms of economics (a good investment) and from an artistic point of view (artistic value), but serious questions arise relative to which criteria are used to select the artists and artworks, and how the politics of algorithms guide and rank our searches in what constitutes as common information. In other words, how knowledge on art value is shaped by old and new experts in this digital environment remains deeply under-investigated. We therefore aim to set a research agenda and will propose some methodological tools to map and analyze these fundamental shifts in the judgment of art.  



Sunday, May 13, 2012

New Paper Out in the Current Sociology Journal: Typology of Web 2.0 spheres

My paper, "Typology of Web 2.0 spheres: Understanding the cultural dimensions of social media spaces" has come out in the Current Sociology Journal.

Abstract:

It has taken the past decade to commonly acknowledge that online space is tethered to real place. From euphoric conceptualizations of social media spaces as a novel, unprecedented and revolutionary entity, the dust has settled, allowing for talk of boundaries and ties to real-world settings. Metaphors have been instrumental in this pursuit, shaping perceptions and affecting actions within this extended structural realm. Specifically, they have been harnessed to architect Web 2.0 spaces, be it chatrooms, electronic frontiers, homepages, or information highways for policy and practice. While metaphors are pervasive in addressing and normalizing new media spaces, there is less effort channeled into organizing these digital domains along cultural lines to systematize and deepen understandings of its histories, agencies and communities. Hence, this article proposes a framework that reveals dominant cultural dimensions of Web 2.0 spaces through a five-fold typology: (1) utilitarian-driven, (2) aesthetic-driven, (3) context-driven, (4) play-driven and (5) value-driven. This effort capitalizes and transfers mappings of actors and networks from real to virtual space to capture and organize diverse cultural (re)productions.