Week 4 Blog Post

This article seemed to encapsulate many of the questions we as Digital Humanities scholars face on a daily basis.  How do we translate culture and art into data.  The general consensus that many people, including Baca, is that this translational process relies on metadata.  However, I think that it is critical to consider the effects that strict categorization can have on art.  I approach this discussion from a position that recognizes language as the fundamental basis for culture.  Each culture and its institutions are structured by their language.  So, as we transition art into a digital space, I argue that we are creating a new type of culture/ institution.  Within this creative process, we as scholars must be mindful of the terms that we use to categorize cultural objects and works of art.  This turning point of technology gives us as a society the capability to change the discourse of art as we define it.

Scholars have the opportunity to capitalize on this translational and transitional process in order to begin breaking down hierarchies that exist within the art world.  Though there are other concerns with defining metadata, I believe that focusing on this aspect of the transitional process can yield new possibilities within the art world.  If the translational process situates art from multiple different cultures, including minorities, in similar categories or of the same degree, it effectively challenges notions of otherness and potentially marginalizing discourses. Questions, such as is it a work or is it an image, are incredibly important in the transitional process.  However, I believe that a more pertinent question to consider is how can we translate the cultural objects in a way that works to break down the hierarchies that have be consciously, and unconsciously, imposed by the museum as an institution.

One thought on “Week 4 Blog Post”

  1. I think your discussion gets to the heart of why Prof. Posner gave us this article to read. And I really thought your idea is interesting – how the process of translating art and culture into the digital realm is creating “a new culture/institution”. For as soon as we take something from its “natural” or typical context and put it into something new, it becomes new on its own, and perhaps we should not treat the digitized representations the same as the objects themselves… so maybe the way to understand this is that the representations become objects on and of their own.

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