Virtual Seminar recorded on Zoom, 25th of November 2020.
Speaker: Erik Champion, Honorary Research Fellow at University of Western Australia and Honorary Professor at ANU Centre for Digital Humanities Research.
Abstract: From virtual museums to virtual worlds, the word “virtual” is both a popular and a vague term. Although popularised by computer science and science fiction, the field of virtuality is also of interest to the humanities, and especially to historians and heritage experts. Yet there are few courses in the area, and few accessible examples of successful virtual humanities projects. Why? And what can be done?
Virtual Seminar recorded on Zoom, 18th of November 2020.
Speaker: Lina Eklund, Department of Informatics and Media
Lina Eklund is a lecturer in Human Computer Interaction at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University. Lina’s research focuses on the intersections between technology as a designed structure affording behaviour and the agency of users to reformulate those affordances. Her current work concerns the role of digital games and hybrid technology for visitor experiences in museums. This presentation presents the results of a recently finished four year research project hosted at the National Museum for Technology and Engineering in Stockholm, Sweden. The project “Worlds of Computer Games” focused on the role of digital games in museums. Recent attention to the question of preservation and exhibition of video games in cultural institutions such as museums indicates that this media form is moving from being seen as contentious consumer object to cultural heritage. This empirical study examines two recent museum exhibitions of digital games: GameOn 2.0 at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm (TM), and Women in Game Development at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, Oakland (MADE). The study explores how games are appropriated within such institutions, and thereby how they are configured as cultural heritage and exhibitable culture. The study uses actor-network theory in order to analyse heterogeneous actors working in conjunction in such processes, specifically focusing on translation of games and game culture as they are repositioned within museums. The study explores how games are selectively recruited at both institutions and thereby translated in order to fit exhibition networks, in both cases leading to a glossing over of contentious issues in games and game culture. In turn, this has led to a more palatable but less nuanced transformation of video games into cultural heritage. While translating video games into cultural heritage, the process of making games exhibitable lost track of games as culture by focusing on physical artefacts and interactive, playable fun. It also lost track of them as situated in our culture by skimming over or ignoring the current contentious nature of digital games, and finally, it lost track of games as being produced and experienced in a particular context, or games of culture.
Virtual Seminar recorded on Zoom, 4th of November 2020.
Title: Censuses of Gustavia 1835-1872: Digital Mapping of Diversity and Division in the Swedish Caribbean
Speaker: Ale Pålsson, Department of History
In recent years, renewed interest in the Swedish-Caribbean colony of St Barthélemy has sparked new research, as well as digitalization efforts to organize and make accessible the Swedish colonial archives via the SWECARCOL project. As a member of this project, I have reviewed censuses of the main city of the colony Gustavia, and recreated a graphical representation of the censuses via digital mapping. By examining both the changing dimensions of the city, as well as the changing categorizations, we can illustrate how Caribbean cities evolved during this formative period, as the colony moved from being part a slave society, to emancipation of the enslaved and an end of racial categorization.
The event, which was held in June 2020, was aimed at researchers, students and professionals working with museum and archive collections, digitalization and/or research strategies. The aim was to provide examples and advice on using metadata for research and outreach, inform about standards and practices regarding metadata, and highlight the benefits of heritage institutions collaborating with Academia in enriching collection metadata.
Event recorded on Zoom on the 9th of September 2020.
Jan von Bonsdorff at the Department of Art History
David Sumpter at the Department of Information Technology
Anna-Sara Lind at the Department of Law (not in the video)
Fredrik Wahlberg at the Department of Linguistics and Philology
Artificial Intelligence has been trending in human culture and society, from philosophy to science fiction and art, for decades. From Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, which, in a dystopian universe of biological and synthetic beings, were intended to protect humans from evil robots, to C-3PO and R2-D2 thwarting the Empire in Star Wars. AI is currently more than mere science fiction. Its broader and potentially more significant effects for humanity are yet to be researched and explored. Digital technology already raises new questions around epistemologies, ethics and policy regulations. But with cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), or Image Pattern Recognition (IPR) there are additional concerns. Can mathematics and algorithms, essentially descriptive models, encompass the human condition? Is AI and Machine Learning applicable to facilitate critical research that concerns different socio-cultural contexts? The seminar explores the societal implications of rapidly advancing intelligence systems, combining a humanities perspective with practical applications spanning historical research to contemporary legal inquiry.
Death in a Digital World: the (re)construction of a Bronze Age tomb from Ayios Vasileios, Greece, using Virtual Reality
Speaker: Yannick de Raaff (presenter); project with Sofia Voutsaki, Theo Verlaan, Gary Nobles, with help from the Reality Centre at University of Groningen Speaker affiliation: Groningen Institute of Archaeology, University of Groningen
Abstract: During this seminar I shall present our work on the reconstruction of a built tomb found in the early Mycenaean (Bronze Age) cemetery of Ayios Vasileios, mainland Greece (approx. 1700-1420 BC). Built (Chamber) Tombs belong to a range of tombs with experimental design that appear in the late Middle Helladic and Early Late Helladic period, in a period characterised by innovations in the mortuary realm and changing social conditions. The collapsed tomb contained a large mass of stones that were arguably originally part of the superstructure, yet the exact form of cover or roof, and the way it was entered are not known. To understand the construction, use and collapse of the tomb, a number of digital techniques have been applied, such as Structure from Motion (also referred to as Photogrammetry) to record the remains of the tomb, and Virtual Reality to build and test various roof constructions. The objective of this study is to reconstruct what the most likely roof design was and how the tomb was re-entered for additional inhumations. We propose that the tomb was covered by a stone cairn, supported by a number of horizontally placed wooden beams, which broke due to natural decay and caused the stones to tumble inwards. The tomb received a large number of burials (25+), all from above, which means the roof was dismantled and rebuilt every time.